What Is the Cheapest Way to Landscape a Backyard?

Homeowners like the idea of a beautiful yard but cower at the thought of spending a lot of time and money to landscape it. Ways exist to accommodate your taste and create a luscious backyard space while remaining on a budget.

What is the most cost-effective method of landscaping a backyard? Some of the answers depend on where you live and the type of yard you have but you can landscape on a dime with xeriscaping designs, growing perennials, and native plants, using bright containers, improving edging, and adding mulch beds. 

Read on to find out some of the best ways to landscape your yard cheaply. 

Reduce the Yard

One of the best ways to improve the landscaping in your yard is to reduce the amount of grass you have to contend with every year. You can easily do that by adding mulched beds with easy-to-grow green plants and flowering shrubs. 

Mulch is less than $4 a bag and you can spread it yourself. Mulch beds break up a yard, keep weeds out and add another visual dimension. You must replace it annually but it’s still a cheap fix. 

One of the best budget ideas is to add a ground cover to your yard to reduce grassy areas. Ground cover is easy to grow nad helps to fill in areas where grass and other plants won’t grow. 

It comes in many varieties with some flowering like the creeping phlox. Some other options include ivy, hosta, and cotoneaster. Cotoneaster has red berries and grows as a taller shrub.

Be sure to ask questions about choices as some can grow so much it gets out of control and can attract snakes.

You can also reduce your yard by building a patio. Concrete is cheap and can be stamped for intrigue. A patio will add value to your home and create a spot for everyone to hang out. 

Dressing up your already existing patio is cheap too. Add some striking chairs, plush pillows and a few native plants and your backyard becomes an oasis.

Read: What Is Mulching And Its Advantages?

Do Xeriscaping

Xeriscaping was developed in Western states as an alternative to grass, to conserve water, and reduce erosion. It includes hardscaping and plants that are hardy that don’t require much water. 

Types of xeriscaping include cheaper elements like using river rocks to build a dry creek bed, rock gardens, pebbles as ground covering for a garden spot, a cacti garden, and use of natural shrubs and grasses. 

Xeriscaping can also include raised flower beds or natural stairs down a hill. The idea is to blend natural elements with structures and plants to create a theme or idea.

Read: Backyard Desert Landscaping Ideas On A Budget

Improve Edging

An edged yard is like a good haircut, it just adds an extra bit of professionalism. You can improve edging around patios, walkways, and flower beds with small decorative plants, stone, brick, or ground covers.

The secret to good edging is to pick something that will always look crisp and neat. Also pick an element that matches your house’s style.

Read: Best 5 Weed Eater On Wheels

Grow Perennials

Perennials are plants and flowers that return every spring. Annuals must be replanted yearly so it’s more cost-effective to go with perennials. Adding color to your backyard landscape adds beauty and style.

Just pick flowers and plants that are easy to care for and are natural to your area. 

You can buy seeds incredibly cheaply and plant them in the spring. Plants can be found on sale during certain times of the year and none cost much. 

It doesn’t take many perinnials to spruce up your yard or one area and some will reproduce to sprout more plants year after year. 

One easy flower to maintain are mums. You plant them and they will expand and bloom. Some bloom in spring while others in the fall so you may need to do some research, but they are usually on sale in the fall. 

Mums are easy to maintain too. They die back but return later.

Read: 10 Best Outdoor Hanging Egg Chairs

Use Bright Containers

You can add tons of style cheaply to a backyard by adding interesting, bright plant containers. Plant herbs or vegetables for added visuals. Colorful flowers or small trees like lemon or lime trees are other options. 

Another planting option is to build a vertical planter. These can be hung on a fence or outdoor wall where you can grow a variety of plants and herbs.

The Extras

Solar lighting can be expensive and doesn’t require any maintenance. It adds some extra personality, as well as safety to you backyard at night. 

String lights over a patio or deck can add a party atmosphere as well as style and can be found at discount stores and hardware stores cheaply. They are easy to install and make for a good DIY project.

Another cheap extra is a hammock. Everyone loves hammocks and what a good way to enjoy your yard in nice weather. A hammock adds a point of interest as well as another area to sit or lay.

Read: Best Outdoor Solar Lights

Maintenance Is Key

One of the cheapest ways to improve the looks of your backyard is to maintain it. Keeping weeds to a minimum and the grass cut will do wonders to make it look better. 

Neat, tidy garden areas add to a backyard’s attraction and also improve your home’s value at resale. 

Other maintenance issues are to keep trees pruned and under control, weed whip, and edge areas like flower beds and along sidewalks and patios, and make sure patios, decks, fence, and hardscaping don’t need repair.


What is the cheapest landscape material?

The most affordable material for backyard landscaping is garden rocks or crushed stone. These elements can be used to fill in bare spots anywhere and can help alleviate a problem area where there’s erosion or water drainage issues. 

What are some good alternatives to grass?

There are many eco-friendly options to grass. Groundcovers are the first choice as they grow low, quickly and need little maintenance. 

Other choices are ornamental grasses, creeping thyme and native perennial flower beds filled with mulch. 

What’s the cheapest way to cover dirt?

Those with a dirt area can throw out grass seed or lay out some rejected squares of sod. Both will grow fast with regular watering. 

You can also cover the area with wood mulch, crushed pebbles, or crushed concreat. 

What’s the cheapest landscaping rock?

Many people love crushed granite but it isn’t the cheapest landscaping rock. The cheapest landscaping rock are river rocks, which are $.05 to $.35 a pound. 

Pea Gravel is next with it costing between $2 to $3 a bag. 

Are tarps a cheap way to get rid of weeds?

A tarp is a good way to kill weeds before planting a flower bed and it will also prevent future ones from growing. One of the best traits a tarp has is its dark color. Dark colors absorb heat and that adds heat to the soil. That helps plants. 

Although weeds can geminate in the warm soil under the tarp, they die quickly because there isn’t any light.

Which is better landscape fabric or plastic?

Most landscapers like landscape plastic btter because it won’t let water seep through. This prevents moisture loss as well as a loss in gas exchanges. Plastic also smothers weeds better than fabric and creates warmer soil.