Are you searching for low maintenance ways to landscape your backyard on a tight budget?
Don’t panic. Help is at hand.
We reveal our top tips on how to achieve a cheap low maintenance garden without needing to take out a second mortgage.
If never having to mow or weed your grass again sounds like a dream, artificial grass may be worth the investment. Think of all the money you will save on labour to maintain your grass, gas for your mower, weedeater, fertilizer, lawn shears and pesticides.
The best thing about artificial grass is that it will continue to look luscious green and neat all year round, regardless of the weather. As fake grass doesn’t need to be watered like real grass, reducing your sprinkler and hose usage will save you money on your water bills and do your bit for the environment.
An added bonus to artificial grass is that it’s child and pet-friendly, and fits in perfectly with busy modern lifestyles. There’s no mess and the texture is soft, making it perfect to play on. It’s actually safer than real grass because it doesn’t require any chemicals or pesticides to maintain.
Less time spent maintaining the lawn in your backyard means more time to sit back and enjoy it.
Use mulch for your borders
Using mulch to cover soil has many benefits including:
- Its ability to retain moisture in the soil, meaning your plants will be less thirsty so you can reduce the amount of time you spend watering.
- Mulch breaks down and contributes to good soil health.
- Helps prevent weeds by acting as a natural barrier.
- Some types can even repel fleas, gnats and ticks.
- Protects plants from damage caused by frost by acting as a protective layer.
There are two different types of mulch to consider for your garden. Organic mulch contains materials such as pine straw, grass clippings and crushed leaves. Inorganic mulch includes rubber mats, crushed rock and plastics. Whilst organic mulch costs less than the synthetic type, you will have to replace it more due to deterioration.
Create a designated outdoor living space
An outdoor living space is a great way to extend your home outside. It also means there are fewer grass areas for you to maintain.
Depending on your budget, decking or a stone patio are both low-maintenance options to add an outdoor dining table and chairs.
Outdoor furniture can be an expensive investment for backyards, so if you’re on a tight budget why not create your own using old pallets or a bench. Old crates also make great dining tables. Paint them any colour you like to add a fresh look to your garden. Pick up some soft furnishings and nobody will ever know you’ve built your own outdoor seating area.
Use potted plants to fill gaps
Potted plants are versatile and low-maintenance. You can easily move them to different areas of your garden to make an impact. Are you having a party on your patio? Move them next to your deck chairs to instantly make your outdoor dining space more appealing.
It’s much easier to care for plants or flowers that are in a pot compared to large borders. All they need is watering and feeding. If you aren’t keen on spending ages watering, choose large pots that contain a few different flowers so you can water them in one go. Mixing compost with water-control products will mean you don’t have to water or feed your plants as often.
Some plants that thrive in pots are:
- Hydrangeas – often referred to as the ultimate easy-care plant. They also look great all year round.
- Grasses – grass looks great in a large pot surrounded by some small colourful plants. Apart from the odd haircut and some watering, they are good to go.
- Plectranthus – an elegant looking plant that will forgive a shortage of water.
Choose low maintenance plants
Consider yourself a lazy gardener? Low maintenance plants are the perfect solution. Less time preening means more time relaxing and admiring the flowers.
Here are a few low maintenance garden ideas on a budget to get you started:
Lavender: this aromatic and colourful plant is reasonably priced and it will come back year after year through both droughts and frosts, meaning you won’t need to spend money on more plants each season. Lavender only needs to be watered once or twice a week and is suitable for gardens of all shapes and sizes.
Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan): these bright yellow flowers make an easy addition to any low maintenance gardens on a budget. What’s more, they will attract butterflies to your yard and other wildlife for you to sit back and enjoy watching. Rudbeckias are disease-resistant and drought-tolerant so you don’t need to worry about Mother Nature ruining your plants, or rush outside to cover them during the cold season.
Coneflower: if you prefer to ignore your plants as much as possible, coneflowers (also known as Echinacea) are a great option. Simply give them a trim in late summer to ensure the purple flower will blossom again and again. If you receive normal amounts of rainfall in your state, you don’t even need to water your coneflowers.
Dusty Miller: make a statement in your garden with the silver-grey leaves of the Dusty Miller plant. Aside from being easy on the eye, this plant is deer-resistant and thrives in both heat and drought. Dusty Miller plants do well in different soil types, so you don’t need to worry about buying special soil for this plant.
Create a rock garden
Spice up your back or front yard with a beautiful really low maintenance rock garden. Once it’s done, the only thing you’ll need to do is tend to some weeds that come up between the rocks.
Start by sectioning out and clearing the area of your garden that will become your new rock garden. Research rock garden ideas for inspiration and start sketching the design and placement of the rocks. Some people choose to add some plants in between the rock, but it’s completely up to you. Next, organize your materials. All you will need is:
- Plants (if desired).
Visit your local gardening or landscaping store and select your rocks. Opt for a selection of different sizes for a more textured look. Rock gardens are created by layering up rocks, so use cheaper and less visually appealing rocks for the first layer and save the more attractive rocks for the top layer.
Your rock garden will provide you with never-ending beauty that doesn’t rely on the weather for it to flourish.
Collect rainwater in barrels
Nothing says low-maintenance more than having free water readily available to water your plants.
All you need for a simple rainwater collection system is a barrel or plastic drum. Place it beneath your gutters’ downspout so that when the water overflows, the barrel will collect it. Make sure the barrel is on a flat surface so that it can support the weight of the water when it’s full.
When your plants and flowers need some water, all you need to do is collect it from your barrel with a watering can or bucket and water away.
Design your cheap low maintenance garden
We hope you’ve enjoyed our cheap low maintenance garden ideas.
You may be limited by your budget, but there are plenty of ways that you can achieve a garden that you want to spend time in without breaking the bank or spending hours maintaining it every week. For more tips on how to get more for your money, from reducing your grocery bill to decorating your home on a budget, check out our collection of personal finance articles.