There is nothing as serene as sitting in your own backyard, taking in the fresh air and the afternoon sun. We all need our vitamin D. As each winter melts to spring, or when cooler fall days approach, we often feel tempted to give our gardens a complete makeover by renovating our outdoor space for the new season.
But what are backyard renovation costs and how can you save on your budget and your time? How can you have the backyard you want on the budget you have? It’s actually pretty easy if you consider the following tips.
Reinvent Before You Renovate
Not everything needs to be thrown out and replaced. That kind of approach will do harm to your budget as well as the environment. Instead, assess your space, and figure out what can be reinvented for the new season.
For instance, your picket fence might look tired, but pulling it up and replacing it is no way to save money. Instead, clean it thoroughly, repair any broken pickets and buy some colorful paint. A fresh coat or two might do wonders at a fraction of the replacement cost.
Meanwhile, Jean Victor, a co-author of the book Gardenista, encourages backyarders to transform their existing spaces with an eye on recycling. “Repurpose bricks from a planter for a new pathway,” he suggests. “Use old fence pickets to make a gate; dig up hardy perennials and move them to a new bed.” In short, use what you have instead of buying something brand new.
Save Water, Save Money
One major expense that often flies under the radar is the cost of water. For one, over-saturating your garden or lawn wastes one of our most precious natural resources, which is especially concerning if you live in dry parts of the country. Furthermore, your generous water usage is likely doing damage to your utility bill. So how can you avoid over-watering?
One idea is to fill your garden with drought-resistant plants, like aloe, artichokes, geraniums or succulents. Such plants require little water and can withstand the summer heat. You should also consider buying native plants—that’s to say, flora that is indigenous to your part of the world. For the most part, a native plant will be able to thrive without excessive watering or care, because it has already adapted to your environment. Ask an employee at the local plant store to show you plants native to your region.
Throw a Plant-Swap Party
Like the name suggests, a plant-swap party is an opportunity to diversify your garden by exchanging plants with your neighbors. This can help you achieve that desirable rainbow of flowers without having to spend a fortune on various plants. Instead, give up a few seedlings from your yard in return for some new specimens from your friends’ yard.
Make a Temporary Path or Patio
Perhaps you dream of a permanent pathway running through your yard or a wide stone patio to sit and sip your iced tea. But paying to lay bricks or stone can be expensive, both in resource cost and in manpower. Instead, you can create a little walking path or a space to set your table with a cheap alternative to bricks, like pea gravel. Use this mix of tiny pebbles that are pretty cheap and very easy to lay out without a professional crew.
Add Small Details for Character
Inexpensive accessories, like windchimes, a whimsical mailbox, or an aesthetic bird feeder can add a lot of character to your space. Search Etsy to discover one-of-a-kind accessories that you can place around your backyard. These little touches are all you need to elevate your garden, and truly make the yard an extension of your home. “Glass accessories [like a hanging lantern or a crystal suncatcher] in particular will reflect light and sparkle,” suggests Gardenista.
Remember, your backyard should be a place to relax—not a place of budgetary or perfectionist stress.