How Do I Landscape My Backyard On a Budget?

Everyone wants a beautiful backyard that family and friends can enjoy. It may cost you a pretty penny to get it to look like a magazine cover but you can do many things on a tight budget that will have a big bang for your buck. 

You may wonder “How do I landscape my backyard on a budget?” Many ways exist to create a lovely yard on a budget including doing some upkeep, planting cheaper plants, adding colorful containers, recycling tires, adding vertical gardens, using mulch alternatives, building a firepit, and adding budget-friendly lighting.

Read further to find out how to improve your backyard on a budget. 

Evaluate Your Yard’s Needs

The first thing to do is to take a clear assessment of your yard and what will be needed to improve it. One thing to consider is how well-maintained it is. You can do some simple things with the tools to add a lot to your backyard.

Start with a clean-up of your backyard. Make sure trees and shrubs are trimmed back. Weed flower beds and edges around them and any patio or porch areas. Once that is done, take pictures of your yard and look at it objectively. 

Determine which areas look good and why. Then look at areas that don’t look attractive and research what would work in those areas. Be sure to look at shade and sun so you will know what to plant or how to address issues. 

Read: How To Make A Dance Floor On The Backyard?

Plants and Trees

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve your backyard is to plant flowers, shrubs, and trees. This involves some research to keep your cost low. 

Look for perennials. These are plants that come up every year so you will only need to plant them once. Get younger plants and trees because they are cheaper than mature plants and trees. It may take a few years to grow but they are a good investment if you plan on staying for a long period. 

Keep your plants native. Plants that are native to the area are going to not only be more affordable but will stand a better chance at surviving. It’s always best to work with your natural landscape and weather than fight it. 

For instance, those who live in desert areas should focus on desert plants. Those on the prairie should use field plants. 

Pick plants for a mix of colors all year. Plants and trees have different blooming seasons and also produce different color leaves in the fall. Evergreens add fresh color even in the winter. Pick plants so you have color all year long.

Pick plants outside the box. You don’t always need to pick flowers for your yard. Include things like herbs and vegetables. You can use those in the kitchen too. 

Read: How Can I Make My Backyard Attractive?

Seek a Ground Cover

Perennial ground covers can not only add a dimension to your yard but can also prevent erosion and add color. Adding a blooming ground color can be done inexpensively.

Go With A Different Mulch

Mulch can cost if you have a lot of ground to cover. Wood chips look great but there are cheaper alternatives. There is more than one kind of mulch. Besides wood chips, there is also compost mulch, which is primarily to add nutrients to your soil.

Compost is made from discarded yard clippings, leaves, and other similar items so if you make your own it can save you money. You can do that by having a compost bin but it may take a year to get compost.

If you are looking to add nutrients to your soil and keep weeds from growing, You can use grass clippings as mulch on your flower beds. Other alternatives are leaves and pine needles. You can even use a newspaper.

Put several pages on the flower bed. Water and put topsoil on top. The newspaper will decompose into nutrients and temporarily prevent weeds from growing through. 

Another cheap mulch alternative is stone, like pea gravel. You can use it in flower beds to eliminate weed growth and help drainage. Pea gravel or river rock doesn’t work for all plants but can be an effective method to control weeds in some areas. It requires no ongoing maintenance and will not need replacing for several years.

Read: How To Find Gold In Your Backyard?

Get Creative with Containers

Plant containers are pretty inexpensive and can add tons of color to any landscape. You can also use old tires for containers, garden curbs, and many other things. Paint them different colors to add to the decor. Cover them with an outside fabric to use as outside ottomans.

Read: How To Make Your Backyard Smell Better?

Vertical Gardens

Even those with small spaces can install a vertical garden that will add fragrance, color, and food for your table. These can be created with old wooden pallets, old wooden ladders, empty paint cans, concrete blocks, or outdoor shelves attached to a fence or wall.

You can also attach hanging baskets from your fence to add more plants and character to your space.

Adding features

You can build a fire pit with concrete blocks, bricks, and a metal pan for the bottom. Patios aren’t that hard to build, particularly if you use scrap outdoor tile, bricks, or concrete. 

Modern pond liners are inexpensive if you can put in the work to dig and build a pond. You can also build a small waterfall feature using stacked rocks and a water pump. Both are weekend projects and don’t require heavy equipment to do.

You can also find affordable outdoor seating by visiting flea markets and buying older pieces instead of buying new ones. You can find any number of themes in vintage shops from Depression-era furnishings to mid-century modern and 1980s and 1990s furniture.

Add some outdoor pillows that will spruce it up. 

Add Lighting

Landscaping doesn’t need expensive lighting to look great. Buy strings of white lights or butterfly lights for under $6 each and add to your porch, deck, trees, or shrubs.

Read: How To Build A RC Track In My Backyard?


How can I landscape my backyard with no money?

The best way to landscape with no money is to recycle what you have or what you find. Turn an old water can into a water feature. See if your city offers free mulch. Use your white holiday lights to decorate your porch or patio.

You can also plant some perennials or add a stone walkway from free or recycled stone. 

What’s the cheapest way to cover a backyard?

Using a perennial ground cover is cheap and easy but you can also cover your backyard with mulch, dirt, or crushed concrete. 

What’s the cheapest way to landscape?

The cheapest landscaping item is crushed stone or garden rocks. They can be used as a cover for flower beds, walkways, and in water features. 

How much should I spend on landscaping?

Most home experts say a landscaping budget should be 10 percent of your home’s value. However, that isn’t a hard-fast rule. 

How can I make my garden look good with no money?

You can do some things to add life to your backyard like painting a statement wall, repainting outdoor tables and chairs, using pallets to build a patio or raised flower beds, and repurposing plant containers and tins with paint and new plants.