Garden On The Cheap

by Roger Sorensen


I love my outdoors living space. The fragrant flowers, shading trees, even the constantly needing-to-be-mowed grass. I enjoy all of it and I spend a significant amount of time keeping it in good condition.

Unfortunately, gardening is a hobby that can become expensive. A $20 bill for this flat of flowers, $50 for that new tree, maybe $100 for a consultant to tell me why the grass is dead can add up to real money. I've always had to be careful with how much I spend on landscaping, so over the years I have found a few ways to make a little money provide the yard I like and enjoy.

End-of-Season Sales.

Do you remember to do this for clothes and household items and forget to check out the garden center? You can get great deals on out-of-season plants or seeds. Even annuals can be worth buying at super closeout prices. They won't bloom until next year, but for the price savings you can afford to take a chance on planting them now and waiting to see how many return next spring.

Look at stores other than garden centers for really good markdowns. The best deal I ever found was at a hardware store on 5 flats of varied tomato and 2 flats of varied pepper plants for the low price of ZERO. Roughly half grew and I had homemade salsa all winter long.

Divide and Transplant.

Given half a chance, many plants will start to take over their beds. Instead of letting daisies and other plants take over, or pulling them like weeds, dig the offending plants up. Take them to another part of the yard and replant. In a few years, a small amount of plants can be multiplied many times.


Trading plants and bulbs can be fun. Daisies, lilies, even lilacs from different friends and family are beautiful in my yard even though I never paid a single penny for them. They are all from people who had excess and were glad to take some of my crowded plants. This is the cheapest method of landscaping your yard - there is no expense involved at all! Unexpected Opportunities. When the local hospital was getting ready for a major expansion, they had several thousand square feet of sod in the way. Several neighbors received permission to rent a sod-cutting machine and haul the grass away for their own yards. A $50 rental fee yielded many hundreds of dollars in sod.

Know the Alternatives.

Growing a little of this and a little of that in the produce garden can be expensive when it costs more to grow than to purchase. Green peppers might not be cost-effective to grow when you can buy them 3 for $1 during the season. Cucumbers, on the other hand, seem to be worth growing when they never seem to cost less than $.88 each. I can get 5 - 10 from each plant in my garden for a minimum of $4 savings! Gardening and having a nice yard doesn't require a lot of money. It requires creativity and an eye for opportunity. Decide to spend only what you can afford to spend and nobody but you will know it by looking at your yard.

Roger Sorensen

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