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curb appeal

9 Cheap Landscaping Ideas to Boost Your Curb Appeal

You don't need to spend a fortune to boost your property's curb appeal.

[Updated: Feb 09, 2021 ] Feb 16, 2020 by Maurie Backman
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Your home's landscaping says a lot about it. The better its condition, the more curb appeal your home is apt to have, and that's important from a resale perspective. But believe it or not, you don't have to spend a fortune to improve your home's exterior. Here are a few cheap landscaping ideas that are sure to attract buyers or make your home a nicer place to live.

  1. Add flower bed borders.
  2. Encase your trees in mulch.
  3. Turn tree stumps into floral displays.
  4. Choose ground cover over sod.
  5. Plant shrubs and bushes strategically.
  6. Build a low-cost retaining wall.
  7. Use pavers to create contrast.
  8. Create gravel walkways.
  9. Install a fire pit.

1. Add flower bed borders

If the outside of your home needs a little color, a flower bed border is a great way to make that happen.

  1. First, outline a small area right up against your home to enclose.
  2. Then, construct a small stone wall to define it.
  3. Once you have that area laid out, put in mulch and then plant flowers that suit your taste.

If you don't want to repeat the planting process over and over again, opt for perennial flowers instead of annuals. Perennials die out in the cold weather months but come back to life when the weather warms, so they're able to last for more than one season, making them extremely cost-effective.

2. Encase your trees in mulch

Adding a ring of mulch around your trees won't just help them look good; it'll help them stay healthy. Mulch protects soil from extreme temperatures while retaining moisture to help trees thrive. It can also keep roots from poking through, thereby creating trip hazards on your property. To add mulch, just dig up the grass around your trees, taking care to also remove rocks and debris. For optimal results, spread your mulch rings in roughly a five-foot diameter around each tree (a little wider for larger trees).

3. Turn tree stumps into floral displays

If you've ever had a tree removed on your property, you know how costly it can be. And unfortunately, dealing with a tree's leftover stump can be an extra, unwanted expense. But tree stumps can be unsightly, so if you have one hanging out on your property, rather than pay to have it ground down:

  1. Get yourself a saw and chisel.
  2. Hollow out the center of the stump.
  3. Dump some soil in there.
  4. Plant some inexpensive flowers.

It's a great way to turn an eyesore into an interesting focal point.

4. Choose ground cover over sod

Sod might make your lawn more attractive, but it can be very expensive. And while reseeding your grass is a much more budget-friendly alternative, it can also be time-consuming -- especially since it's something you may need to do year after year. And while seed is generally cheap, the cost of watering your grass and applying weed and pest treatments can really add up.

A better solution? Buy some ground cover plants. As the name implies, these plants can be used to cover larger amounts of land, and they typically require very little maintenance. Some common examples include bugleweed and creeping thyme, but if you visit your local nursery and ask for help, you'll be introduced to a host of options.

5. Plant shrubs and bushes strategically

If your home has central air conditioning, it's probably hard to miss the giant air conditioning unit taking up real estate on the side of your home or in your backyard. The problem? That unit can stick out like a sore thumb.

A good way to hide it, and any other unwanted utility items on your property, is to strategically plant shrubs and bushes to shield it from view, at least from afar. Small trees also do the trick in this regard -- just make sure they're not so tall that you can't transport and plant them yourself; otherwise, you'll incur the fees associated with hiring a gardening service. Keep in mind that you don't want to plant greenery too close to your air conditioning unit. Rather, allow for at least five feet of clearance.

6. Build a low-cost retaining wall

Retaining walls serve a functional and aesthetic purpose. They help protect parts of your yard from soil erosion, and visually speaking, they can add a nice layer of contrast to your exterior. Best of all, a smaller retaining wall doesn't have to set you back a ton of money if you choose cost-effective materials. Stone veneer, for example, is highly attractive, and, in some cases, can cost less than cinder block, a commonly used material. Another low-cost material to consider is gabion -- wire mesh boxes filled with rocks or soil that link together to create a clean-looking structure.

7. Use pavers to create contrast

Pavers can get expensive -- but not if you don't need a lot of them and you're only using them in a smaller section of your yard. If you have an area where grass doesn't tend to thrive, you can buy a few pavers and arrange them in a pattern to create a mosaic of sorts. You can then put ground cover plants around and between them to keep them retained and add a nice aesthetic touch. This setup works if you're looking to create a small, inexpensive walkway through your yard as well.

8. Create gravel walkways

Gravel is a relatively cheap material that, at least from afar, can mimic the look of stone. If you want to create a walkway in your outdoor space, putting down gravel will save you loads of money compared to the cost of installing actual stone pavers.

9. Install a fire pit

More than just attractive, fire pits are a feature that encourages outdoor socializing, even when the weather gets cooler. You'll need to dig out a pretty deep hole in your yard to make one happen, but from there, all it takes is some concrete blocks (or stone, if you want to spring for it) that you can lay yourself. Encase the surrounding area with gravel, and you're good to go.

Your landscaping matters

You might think that the state of your lawn and yard wouldn't matter much in the grand scheme of selling your home. After all, aren't buyers far more apt to focus on high-profile areas like kitchens and bathrooms? But actually, in a 2015 survey by the National Association of Landscape Professionals, 84% of Americans agreed that the quality of a home's landscaping and exterior would influence their decision to buy it or not. If you want to make your home more appealing to buyers, it pays to explore these budget-friendly landscaping ideas.

Even if you're not planning to sell in the near future, it still pays to invest in a little front and backyard landscaping. Your home's exterior is the first thing people will see when they come to visit, and it's something you'll have to look at every day, so you definitely deserve to take pride in it.

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