Easy and Low Maintenance Landscaping Ideas for Beginners

Landscaping Ideas for Beginners

Upgrading your outdoor living space doesn't have to be costly or complicated. Read this landscaping for beginners guide to learn about some simple, affordable landscaping ideas that can enhance the curb appeal of your front and back yards.

Simple Landscaping Ideas for Beginners

Simple Landscaping Ideas for Beginners

To start off, we'll share some easy-to-do landscape projects as well as some money-saving landscaping tips:

1. Mix Soil and Homemade Compost

If you're planting flowers or plants, you may be tempted to buy pricey potting soil. While soil is essential for your plants' health, you don't have to use only soil — you can actually save a significant amount by mixing soil with your household's leftover organic scraps.

If you don't have the time to make and maintain a compost pile, you can alternatively mix in your discarded coffee grounds and the mud- or clay-like dirt in your yard to make your soil go further. You can also save by adding mulch, which also provides plants with nutrition but costs slightly less than potting soil.

2. Begin With Young Shrubs and Plants

When shopping at the nursery, people are typically more drawn to mature flowers and plants due to their visual appeal. However, the only difference between mature and young plants of a given species is their price tag. If you want to save big, pick younger plants. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how fast they grow once they're planted.

3. Wait Until the End of the Season

Nurseries, like clothing retailers, try to get rid of last season's trees, shrubs and plants with clearance sales, which are a great opportunity to save money if you're willing to wait. Keep your eye out at the end of the spring and summer seasons. Even if the flowers and leaves appear unkempt and scorched, they're perfectly salvageable as long as they have green stems. Just make sure to plant them soon after you buy them and give them sufficient water.

4. Make Your Own Stepping Stones

Stepping stones are a great touch to any yard, but buying stepping stones from the store can cost hundreds of dollars, even for a short path. Instead, consider making a beautiful homemade pathway with the following supplies:

  • Quick-setting cement, one 40-pound bag
  • A shovel or hand-shovel to mix
  • A paint bucket
  • A ruler
  • Decorative shells or marbles, one bag
  • Shallow cardboard boxes, square-shaped

Using your paint bucket, mix your cement with water according to the instructions on the bag. Once it's thoroughly mixed, pour the cement into your cardboard box. Then, place the shells or marbles in the cement and let it dry. After 24 hours, check the dryness. If it's set sufficiently, just peel away or cut the cardboard and you've got an adorable stepping stone.

5. Pick Perennials

Even though there are a lot of beautiful annual flowers out there, picking flowers that die each year will end up costing you a lot. Instead, consider buying charming perennials like catmint, coreopsis and alstroemeria, which will come back every year with vibrant, colorful flowers and leaves. Although the upfront cost of perennials is a bit higher, remember that they'll be a permanent fixture in your yard — not a rapidly fading annual plant or flower.

6. Divide and Conquer

Keep in mind that, after a perennial is planted, it will grow for several years. Instead of purchasing new flowers every year, you can just uproot and move the new blooms germinated from the previous year's perennials. You can save a great amount of money each year by just dividing the blooms and replanting them in different portions.

7. Take Advantage of Free Mulch From Your Community

Communities often offer their residents free mulch — you just have to know where to find it. If you live in a city that picks up tree cuttings during the spring and fall, there's a good chance that it processes the waste by sticking it into wood chippers to turn it into mulch. Find out if your community has a mulch program. If it does, keep in mind that you might need a truck to transport it back to your home. You'll probably also need a shovel, as the mulch is not usually bagged.

Low Maintenance Landscape Design Ideas for Backyard

Low Maintenance Landscaping Ideas for Backyard

Whereas a front yard is for the whole neighborhood to see, your backyard is about your own personal use. Here are some of our top low-maintenance backyard landscape design tips:

1. Add an Outdoor Rug

If you're looking to revitalize your patio space without making costly renovations, think about laying down a big outdoor rug. You can give your backyard a pop of color and transform your space without going to the trouble of staining or painting a deck.

2. Make a Trellis

Trellises are another great way to add some charm to your outdoor space. You can make your own using wooden boards or metal poles, and you can plant climbing roses on both sides.

3. Create a Pergola for Some Shade

If you like to spend a lot of time outside but don't always want the sun in your eyes, a pergola is a great solution. If you want extra shade, you can even add some curtains.

4. Buy a Fountain

If you have a small backyard and are looking for design ideas, buy a fountain! These items are an excellent way to add a water feature without spending too much or taking up too much space.

5. Add a Stock Tank Pool

A stock tank pool is an affordable way to cool down on those hot summer days and also it provides fun for your kids. Put it on a stone platform or concrete patio to avoid damaging your grass.

6. Add Some Mood Lighting

If you want the most beautiful backyard in the neighborhood, consider investing in some outdoor lighting. You can drape string lights on a pergola or across your outdoor space to create a starry-night feeling. Creating soft lighting by lining paths with lanterns and torches is another great idea.

7. Paint a Mural on Your Fence

Creating a distinctive mural on a fence is also an easy way to give your outdoor space an affordable makeover. To prepare your fence, just make sure to figure out which paints to use and decide on the scale or your masterpiece.

8. Try Xeriscaping

If you're interested in reducing your water usage, consider xeriscaping, which refers to planting drought-resistant plants in an arrangement that conserves water. It's easy, requires little maintenance and boosts the attractiveness of your yard and the value of your property.

9. Create an Outdoor Dining Space

If you love parties, barbecues or working outdoors, a table is indispensable to your outdoor space. You can make your own table using wooden boards and several wine barrels, or you can purchase a patio set with a table and chairs included.

10. Add Comfortable Seating

Don't forget to include comfy outdoor seating when transforming your outdoor space. Create a comfortable place for your family and guests to kick back with benches, rocking chairs and big outdoor pillows.

11. Stay Warm With a Fire Pit

Few items make for a memorable get-together like a fire pit. If you have some DIY experience, you can build your own using wall stones, or you can buy a metal one. Don't forget to add plenty of seating for when you roast marshmallows!

12. Add a Hammock

Hammocks are fun backyard fixtures for both children and adults. Suspend one between two sturdy trees and fasten its ropes using either tree straps or industrial hooks. If you have no sturdy trees in your yard, you can alternatively buy an affordable hammock with stands.

13. Create a Calming Space for Meditation

Pick a secluded place in your backyard, set up a table for incense and place some blankets and pillows for lounging. If this spot happens to be close to a tree, you can also hang chairs or some decorative ornaments to give your space more flair.

14. Set Up a Theater

Enjoy all your favorite films right from the comfort of your backyard by hooking up a screen and projector, laying down some blankets and pillows and hanging up some string lights.

15. Create a Fun Zone for Kids

If you have little ones running around, a jungle gym, swing set, treehouse or a tire swing is a backyard necessity.

Easy Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

Whereas your backyard is dedicated to fun for you, your friends and your family, your front yard is what you show off to neighbors and passers-by. A well-designed, well-maintained front yard will create a great first impression for all who enter your home — including potential buyers. Here are a few simple ways to make this important outdoor space stand out:

1. A Post and Rail Fence

While you may associate fences with keeping out prying eyes, post and rail fences are meant to attract passers-by. They do so by defining the borders of your property. Generally speaking, a defined area —whether it be defined by fences, hedges or stone walls — is more attractive than an open-ended space.

2. Driveway Design

If you've defined your front yard with a fence, hedge or wall, chances are it is breached by your driveway. At the entrance to the driveway, you can choose to frame it with a driveway gate. Make sure to keep the landscaping around your driveway's entrance well maintained, as this area greatly impacts a passer-by's first impression of the property.

Low Budget Landscape Design Projects

Low Budget Landscape Design Projects

If you need cheap landscaping ideas, consider these options for landscaping on a budget:

1. Find Some Mulch Alternatives

Mulch is a great option for your garden, but it can also be expensive. If your community does not offer free mulch, you should consider going with a more budget-friendly option, such as:

  • Leaves: Spreading shredded leaves is a cost-effective way to provide your plants with nutrients.
  • Grass clippings: The next time you mow your lawn, gather up your grass clippings and spread them over your flower beds.
  • Pine needles: This is a fairly low-maintenance option that's also lightweight and can be spread easily.
  • Compost: If you happen to already have a compost bin, make the most of it by spreading it over your beds. Just make sure you don't put it on too thickly, as too much may heat your plants up and damage them.
  • Stone: Although stone is not suitable for all plant types, if you use it properly, you can significantly decrease your maintenance and weeding costs. Stone mulch is an especially effective option in cleaner environments such as narrow beds in between the driveway and your home. This is because organic matter like grass clippings are less likely to soil the stone mulch in these types of places.
  • Newspaper: Once you've finished reading the Sunday comics, share them with your plants — put around five pages on your beds, water them lightly and cover them with topsoil before you do any planting.

If you're set on using traditional mulch in your beds, we recommend opting for pine mulch, which is much less costly than hardwood mulch and is not difficult to spread.

2. Repurpose an Old Tire as a Planter

Throwing away old tires can be a pain — they're bulky and waste haulers often don't accept them. Instead of trying to dispose of them, why not make them useful in your yard?

Also, if you don't have any old tires, they're not hard to find. For just a few bucks, you can pick them up at your local recycling plant, and it's also not difficult to find people wanting to give them away.

Below are a few ways you can put old tires to use in your yard:

  • Planters: Create some decorative planters by stacking and staggering them.
  • Hanging planters: Fill half of the tire with soil and attach it to a fence or a wall.
  • Garden pond: This can be achieved by using the tires as a base.

3. Go Vertical

If you love gardening but are short on space or money, you may want to consider creating a vertical garden, which refers to making use of vertical space to grow your plants. If you use recycled materials such as plastic bottles to create it, vertical gardens can be a very inexpensive option.

If you're interested in starting a vertical garden, here are a few ideas:

  • Front porch vertical garden: For a more rustic-looking front porch vertical garden, you can use terracotta pots, wires and wooden ladders.
  • Vertical herb garden: Fill old paint cans with soil and hang them.
  • Vertical succulent garden: You can do this by repurposing a picture frame.
  • Easily moveable vertical garden: If you have an unused shoe organizer, waterproof it and fill the compartments with various plants and flowers.

4. Plant Useful Plants

In the summer, you can lower your grocery costs and not break the bank account by harvesting your own herbs and vegetables right in your backyard. Whether it's herb gardens or bug-repelling plants, it's easy to convert your yard into a beautiful, functional space with just a few well-placed terracotta planters.

Contact Us for a Free Quote

Contact Dragonetti Brothers Landscaping

Dragonetti Brothers Landscaping has been providing New York City businesses and residences with landscape maintenance and renovation services for over four decades. Contact us to schedule a free estimate.

Dragonetti Brothers Landscaping

Phone: 718-451-1300



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