Sometimes I admit I am envious of those in our neighborhood who can swing landscape services for their home.  How nice would it be to not have to spend the weeknights maintaining a lawn?  I am not only talking about mowing the lawn but the weeds, pruning, upgrades, fertilization and all those fun add-ons summer maintenance gives us.  I am also discovering in my new budget conscience frame of mind not only can I not afford the lawn services but I also can’t spend a fortune on the materials needed for a beautiful lawn.

Being the budget friendly I wanted to know how to get the biggest bang for my buck.  To do this the first thing I did was take my soil in to be tested to make sure it consisted of the mix of minerals for a lawn and plants to flourish.  Thankfully it did otherwise my budget would have been spent purchasing topsoil and fertilizer.

The first thing I did was organize a spring swap amongst the do it yourself neighbors.  It was a great was to go through clean up the existing perennials in the yard and get some new life into mine.  I also went to our neighborhood association and asked for them to purchase a new tree to be planted in everyone’s yard to help create unity amongst the homes.  People loved this idea and were thankful they were able to see what the money they contribute goes towards.

I knew I was interested in using some stones and larger rocks within the garden space.  Instead of spending the money to go out and purchase them I stopped and spoke with a local farmer that was preparing his field for the growing season about coming and gathering the ones he tilled up.  He was so grateful that he was not going to have to accomplish that laborious task that he told me if I did the whole lot I could have them free of charge.  You know I jumped on that.  We spent an entire Saturday with the kids out fielding rocks. It was actually a lot of fun and turned into a beautiful border for our landscape design and fire pit.

I started a composter too. This was fun and the kids love helping with this project.  I was fortunate that my parents had an extra compost bin they were no longer using.  We brought it home and created a station behind the work shed for it. I will never be in need of mulch or fertilizer again.  That actually saves a ton of money and I love knowing what is actually in the compost that I am putting in the soil around my home.

We also have an advantage over most people in that we have a natural spring that rolls through our backyard.  This is perfect because we can then pump the water out and use it for watering the gardens and lawn when it needs it saving the family money on the water bill.  Plus the spring naturally regenerates any water that seeps into the soil and is not used by the plants.

Landscape service companies are super nice to have but learning about my yard and cultivating it has its advantages also.  I love the time spent with the family working in the garden and have learned so much about the natural environment that surrounds us and have had fun reaping the benefits of something I have created.