It's that time of year again! A yard with a beautiful landscape is one of the few home investments with a value that increases over the years. Buyers love mature plants and trees, so giving your yard some love even if you're not planning on selling for a few years is a smart way to go. What's even smarter? Employing these money-saving tips:
1. Free mulch.
Many municipalities recycle the yard waste they pick up curbside throughout the year into mulch, which is then made available to residents for free or a very low price. Surrounding your shrubs and trees with a layer of the stuff not only makes them stand out visually, it also helps conserve moisture and stave off bugs.
2. Look to the list.
Craigslist's “farm and garden" section can be a treasure trove of outdoor planters, border stones and even “used" trees and shrubs. Check here first before heading to the nursery.
3. Go big with your neighbors.
Bedding plants are often less expensive when you buy them in bulk.
Instead of buying bags of fertilizer, generate your own black gold for gardens by composting your kitchen waste. It's not as hard – or smelly – as you'd think.
5. Chat with a master.
Master gardeners often hold free Q&A sessions at garden centers or local libraries. Before investing in new plants, seeds or shrubs, check with an expert to find which options will thrive without expensive maintenance.
6. Rein it in.
Trim back any trees, shrubs or vines that hide or overwhelm your windows, porch or patio. Sometimes the most effective landscaping upgrade can come from removing greenery, not adding it.
7. Pull your weeds.
It's the outdoor equivalent of de-cluttering your home, an inexpensive way to boost your yard's visual appeal.
8. Powerwash fences and patios.
It can take years off your fence and patio in just minutes. You'll be amazed at how much brighter they'll look with just a bit of effort that requires little more skill than running a vacuum. Rent a machine at your local home improvement box store for about $30.