DIY Landscaping on a Tight Budget
It’s been calculated that landscape designing and planting your own landscape can save you half of what it will cost to have a pro do it. Naturally, this represents loads work. But if you spread the work over time and have family members and friends who are amenable to pitch in, the undertaking goes from overwhelming to manageable.
Are you ready to be your own landscaper?
First, learn about landscape design. Local landscaping groups and garden centers often offer courses for homeowners. Look through magazines and online sources for yards you want. Read a good landscape design book or visit a landscaping website. Drive around town and note any landscape effects you particularly love. Put everything on paper prior to buying a single plant or digging a single hole.
You will save the most money by doing the physical labor of landscaping yourself. Professional landscapers normally charge a planting fee for everything they put in the ground. For jobs that are simple but too big to manage alone, hire college or high-school kids. For the really big or complex jobs, you might find it worth the money to call the professional landscape contractor, who has the proper equipment and know-how.
Nowadays there’s a blurring of the lines between the landscape and the vegetable garden and orchard. Edibles that were once classified to the backyard are being acknowledged for their beauty and are showing up in prominent spots in ornamental beds and elsewhere all over the landscape.
This fresh way of looking at your garden landscape can save you money. When you integrate attractive edibles into your yard, you’re gaining double benefits for the price of each plant. Rather than buying one kind of tree to give you fruit and another kind to shade the front yard, purchase a single tree, like a peach or cherry, that does both. Instead of erecting a fence or planting a prickly hedge, plant a handsome row of blueberry bushes to mark the edge of your property year-round, and delight in the basketfuls of sweet berries in summer.
What do you do when an evergreen mysteriously vanishes from your yard one December? Or an automobile sideswipes your well-established rose bed and gouges big ruts in the lawn? Or lightning strikes and harms a giant shade tree? Is your first thought to call your insurance agent? Well, maybe it ought to be, since most basic homeowners’ insurance policies extend outdoors to give coverage for trees, shrubs, plants, and even the lawn! Filing a claim can cover your out-of-pocket cost of buying a substitute.
You’ll want to check your own specific policy for the details, but in general, damage by ice, snow, and wind are not covered. Apart from the catastrophes mentioned above, damage by fire, explosions, aircraft, vandalism, riots, or civil commotion are covered. There will most likely be a dollar limit on the price your insurance would pay per damaged plant.