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How to Makeover Your Backyard on a Budget

by erin. (follow)
Blogger/Writer/Aspiring Millionaire Love of interior design, animals and arts and crafts
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This is a slide/climbing frame we made for our son from recycled tyres we picked up from a local tyre store for free

Get help in the planning process

Lots of people think that this kind of thing is completely out of their budget but often its cheaper than you think.

There is a garden centre in South Australia that will actually assist you in planning your garden for FREE! Yes, you read that right.

I have been to quite a few home and garden expos in my time (it’s kind of an addiction for me) and received various quotes from companies who assist in drawing up designs for your gardens according to your needs and budget and the planning process is usually around the $150 mark.

Considering you could spend that on a whole heap of plants that don’t end up quite creating the look you had in your mind or needing a tonne more care than you anticipated, it’s probably a good investment.

Work with what you have

We all look in the magazines and dream of having that gorgeous deck, the infinity pool and the perfect lawn but how realistic is that to put in your own backyard?

Apart from the major earth moving and construction, the pool servicing and power to run the pump alone would probably flatten your budget. Some ways to get around your "inconveniences" are:
- If you have sloping land consider a riverbed pebble feature
-if you have an ugly fence think about using dense shrubs and creating a hedge.
-If your neighbours stare straight into your house plant a screening plant such as clumping bamboo
-If you have a lot of rock or clay in the yard, choose plants that work in well with that environment and you can avoid digging deep holes for.

You get the picture. Also have a think about how much time you have to spend maintaining your garden. There is no point having a cottage garden if you don't have the time to weed, prune or mow it all.

Don't be afraid to do it yourself

Before you go hiring a pruner, lawn mower or tree lopper, assess how hard the job actually is. Lots of people, women in particular, can automatically hire a “professional” to do the things they could do themselves with a little bit of research.

For instance, I had never used a chainsaw and didn’t know the first thing about them. It didn’t stop me from cutting down our huge pine tree out the front though. Youtube can be a fantastic resource to learn skills you didn't have before!

We bought the chainsaw and got the guy at the shop to put on the chain and show us where to put the oil and petrol and took it home.

I have watched enough FOX8 TV to know how to throw a bit of rope around the top of a tree and to cut on the side opposite of the way you want it to fall. Hey presto giant tree down, sunlight in and garden make over begins! Of course once I got that big bad boy out the way all the smaller shrubs were a cinch and a whole lot faster that using pruning clippers and overall cheaper than hiring someone to do it.

We also have a couple of friends where we swap help on each others homes. They come for lunch or we go to theirs and we spend the day helping each other in the garden, rennovate or whatever else is needed as we all have different skills. I have also paid for help in a carton of beer!

Sell what you don't need or want

If you have any plants or trees you are not planning to use, consider advertising them as a ” dig up yourself” It means less work for you and you get paid to have it removed. I do this all the time.

When I had a frangapani tree I didn’t want, I advertised it on Gumtree as a “dig up yourself” for $20. Within 24 hours my tree was gone and I had a $20 in my pocket.

Put the garden back in the garden

This is a slide/climbing frame we made for our son from recycled tyres we picked up from a local tyre store for free

You probably read that title twice but I assure you I mean just what it says. Why go out and buy mulch if chances are you are going to have a heap of green waste you could mulch up and put back into your garden?

While you might pay to hire a mulcher you will be skipping on dumping fees and buying mulch for the garden so your coming out in front anyway.


This is a slide/climbing frame we made for our son from recycled tyres we picked up from a local tyre store for free

Setting up your garden doesn’t have to be expensive. You can set up a raised garden bed from using old tyres, plant seeds in egg cartons to get your veggie patch started or poke some holes in the lid of a plastic milk bottle and save on buying a watering can. If you want some metal wall art, find an old single bed frame, some fencing wire, primer and desired paint colour. Cheap and original!

Be patient

Patience has a lot to do with how much money you can save on your garden.
-Use lawn seeds or lay lawn in a checkerboard pattern and leave it to grow rather than spending up big on having the whole lot done
-Grow plants from seeds or seedlings rather than buying mature plants
-Regrow your vegetables
- Plan your garden bit by bit. It doesn't have to be done all in one day or week or month or even year. Do things as you can afford them.

Go natural

With the world of internet you can find and make some pretty good home made fertilizers, pest repellants and weed killers.

Depending on what you have in your garden it may take a little bit of testing different recipes but at least you aren’t forking out a heap of money at the hardware store for something that may just require a little research.

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