Being a homeowner is a big responsibility, and while there's plenty to take care of inside you home, don't forget about the outside, either. If you've ever looked into the cost of hiring a professional landscaper, you know they're not cheap. Fortunately, there are a slew of inexpensive and affordable DIY landscaping ideas at your disposal, so long as you're willing to get your hands a little dirty. From the front yard to the back, barbeque pits to bistro lights, here are 59 ways you can affordably improve your outdoor space.              
Sodding: If there is no grass in your yard, then sodding is something any homeowner can handle. Do a good deal of stretching first, both upper and lower body, because this is grueling work, and you will be sore after. Read up on how much water is needed once the sod has been rolled out and how to maintain it after. The trick is to find someone who has the yard you want and ask them what they did to get it.
Pebbles are an easy way to bring different colours and textures to your backyard. You can use them to fill up empty spaces in your garden beds or as ground cover to compliment a paved or decking area. For a clean, decorative look you can use pebbles to create a border or landscape a path. There are a range of colours and styles to choose from including white, blue, orange, red, green, lime, silver and gold. By using the same colour pebble you can keep it simple or mix the colours to create a more vibrant look.

A simple-to-follow formula is all you need to create drama in a container. Here, it takes only four plants to convey the sweeping illusion of a floor-length gown. The key to pulling this off is starting with an elevated planter so the vibrant 'Celebration' and 'Florida Sweetheart' caladiums pop at eye level. Clusters of white wishbone flower fill the empty spaces between the caladium stems and also conceal the actual container, which means you can use just about any freestanding vessel. The final attention grabber is the graceful creeping Jenny spilling over the sides. Position this planter in the shade and water regularly for a gorgeous, easy-to-maintain display.


Beautiful and inspiring pictures, great principles, it gave me what I needed for my project. For people new to the details involved in plants, there's not a lot of information in this book, but that's not what it set out to achieve. It's a great 'one of many' you should have in your collection if directing your landscaping, or wanting to be part of the decision-making process.

If you make the perfect plant selection for your container garden, no summer will see you shedding tears over a poor selection of plants. Instead, great growers like these Mini Cascade ivy geraniums will take the South’s harsh summer heat and just keep on blooming. Geraniums work wonders as part of a hanging container garden, blossoming to a rich, full, and verdant cascade of flowers spilling over and out of their planters. You’ll be excited by the rush of color, but even more thrilled with how simple these Cascading Geraniums are to maintain.
Variegated agave, native to southern Texas and eastern Mexico, is a spreading ground cover that grows to about a foot tall and, left uncontained, would spread to roughly four feet wide. In a container, it becomes the perfect, full planting depending on your needs. A similar height, the Japanese Roof Iris—so named because it was popular to plant this on cottage roofs in the island nation, brings a gorgeous violet-and-white flower to this container delight. During your garden design, plan to vary the heights of your containers for greater visual interest. This garden features planters in a range of scales and materials, adding to its eclectic cottage personality.
When buying a home, as tempting as it is to work on the inside first, I would suggest landscaping the outside first. Assuming the purchase of one-gallon plants (to save money), it takes about three years (in Georgia red clay) for a landscape to take shape. We made the mistake of fixing up the inside of our home first and then when it came time to sell, our recent landscape updates did not have the impact we would have liked, although the new owner is benefiting now.

Creating furniture out of old wooden pallets has to be one of the easiest, most creative and affordable things you can do! Not only does this type of furniture look great, it creates a sort of rustic landscape that can easily be dressed up or down. You can stain or paint your pallet furniture to match whatever theme or setting you’ve incorporated into the setting. Add some fun patio cushions and you’ve got an amazing outdoor area that will look fantastic all year long!
Second of all, some community colleges have excellent horticulture programs (some don’t, so investigate) and have students with a gift for design. Many times, they will design a yard for free to fulfill a class project or to add to their portfolio. Just call the instructor. They will know the best students and I haven’t met a hort teacher yet that didn’t like to talk about their program.

You’ll be phobia-free about welcoming these spiders into your home—spider plants, that is. For this flowing composition that can create color throughout your garden, Red ‘Freida Hemple’ caladiums, a spider plant, and a ‘Little Gem’ Southern magnolia decorate a large pot in the corner. This helps hide a downspout, and fills the space with bright beauty. Working with the idea that repetition creates rhythm, and that builds to a harmonious container garden, smaller pots of the same caladiums tie the grouping together. The boldness of the plants is contrasted with the simple, neutral containers. Think of using natural tones in stone and off-white for these outdoor container compositions.


To create a poinsettia tree, follow these instructions: First, cut the larger blooms, leaving about 6 inches of stem. Sear them quickly to stop sap from dripping out. Sap should bubble under the candle flame, and the ends of the stems will turn black. You may also need to sear the points where larger leaves were removed along the stems. Insert each seared stem into a water-filled florist tube. Stems are hollow and will absorb water after being seared. Place the stems into the base of the ivy topiary. Then repeat this process with the medium-size and smaller poinsettia blooms, cutting the stems so they're about 4 inches long. Insert blossoms into the topiary, working your way toward the top. Once it's complete, care is simple—just add water to the tubes every few days, as needed.
This is a super cute idea for someone who wants to add some planters to an especially small space – like an apartment balcony or tiny side garden. I’m not sure what these tiny planters are exactly, but they look like tiny little buckets. Whatever they are, they’re adorable, and really you can use anything that can hold some dirt for a plant in it as a planter. Since these containers are especially small, make sure to use plants that can live in a smaller, more cramped space like tiny cactuses or vibrant succulents. This is a low maintenance way to bring some plants into the scene!

Create a garden paradise, an escape, an oasis in your yard by constructing intersecting trails, meandering streams, inspiring vistas, and hidden rooms. Design small hideaways where people can gather for drinks and try mixing formal with informal for stimulating visual tension. Each turn of the pathway brings its own lovely garden vignette. You can also get creative and save the biggest garden surprise—a wall of plants, a fountain, a statue, a bench, or a special flower display—for the farthest spot in your yard instead of putting it directly next to the house. You’ll create your own secret garden just moments from your front door.
Installing a patio or bench near the edge of your lawn, away from the house, provides an outdoor escape. Concrete will do, or you can use stones or pavers. Building it near trees or tall flowers gives the area some privacy, while chairs or benches let you sit or lie down to read or nap. Keep it 6 to 8 feet from your property line and surround it with flowers.
When you plan your garden, think about how it’s going to look in all four seasons. Many gardens look terrific in the spring and early summer, but by fall they fade. Choose perennials and annuals that offer late-season color and shrubs and trees that bear colorful berries or interesting bark in the winter. In this tiny front border, a bevy of tulips provide plenty of spring color. After they fade, they are replaced with summer beauties such as geranium and verbena. Holly shrubs, which flank the front door, develop showy red berries that keep the landscape looking good after frost.

The content on MoneyCrashers.com is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

Overfertilization can contribute to thatch buildup and increased mowing requirements. Avoid underfertilization of bluegrass and ryegrass. These species can become unhealthy if not fertilized properly. Turf that does not respond to nitrogen fertilizer may be lacking in other nutrients, such as phosphorus or iron. Get the soil tested to determine which nutrient(s) are deficient.
Measure thatch buildup by removing a small piece of turf, including the underlying soil. Try to slow buildup when the thatch layer exceeds 1/2 inch in thickness. The thickness can increase quickly beyond this point, making it difficult to control later. As the thatch layer thickens, it becomes the main rooting medium for the grass. This predisposes the turf to drought stress or winter kill and increases the possibility for insect, disease and weed problems. Also, fertilizers and pesticides applied to a thatchy lawn work less effectively.
Second of all, some community colleges have excellent horticulture programs (some don’t, so investigate) and have students with a gift for design. Many times, they will design a yard for free to fulfill a class project or to add to their portfolio. Just call the instructor. They will know the best students and I haven’t met a hort teacher yet that didn’t like to talk about their program.
I worry about the fact that you’ve used wood from an old deck in the garden. Wood for decks and play structures until recently was usually pressure-treated with an arsenic solution and is now regarded as toxic. I hope you’ll get the wood tested. It seriously isn’t anything to take lightly. The EPA halted sales of most wood treated this way in 2004, but it had been used for twenty years beforehand. Here’s the EPA website on pressure-treated wood:
Although it is sometimes confused with the completed unrelated plant the Bougainvillea, mandevilla is a beautiful, bright flowering and climbing vine found throughout the South. Mandevillas can thrive in containers—as with the one pictured, which twines its way through the railing on a rooftop deck. Reveling in hot weather given its tropical origins, mandevilla can grow more than 10 feet a year, and will bloom continuously from spring until the first frost. And, although in the tropical and coastal South they may weather the winter outdoors, if you plant them in containers you may even bring them inside for the cold season.

Your garden is a palette for your creativity, and garden design is your paintbrush. One of the best ways to create a beautiful composition is to hang your baskets in unexpected places. This container is a medley of plants that grow in various shapes and to various heights, creating their own unique array of delights. A hook installed in a tree branch holds this basket featuring a sensational combination of plants that will work wonderfully in the shade. You’ll love the way many of them spill over the basket and drape in the wind.


Southern Living is part of the Meredith Home Group. © Copyright 2018 Meredith Corporation. Southern Living is a registered trademark of Meredith Corporationthis link opens in a new tab All Rights Reserved. Southern Living may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice. | Privacy policythis link opens in a new tab | Terms of Servicethis link opens in a new tab | Ad Choicesthis link opens in a new tab | Your California Privacy Rightsthis link opens in a new tab | EU Data Subject Requeststhis link opens in a new tab
×