Landscaping & Gardening Money Saving Tips

Gardening and Landscaping Money Saving Tips.

Our priority at MoneySmartFamily is to help readers improve their finances and we partner with companies that could help you. Some links on this page are from our partners. Read how we earn money here.

Get loads of Landscaping & Gardening tips from frugal friends all over the country. Tons of money saving tips for making your home more beautiful and growing wonderful things!

Facebook Gardening Groups

Whether you’re a beginner or master gardener or anthing in between connecting with others in Facebook Gardening groups is a great help. 

We’ve found groups that specialize in gardening for our specific climate. In our area we’ve found a group for rare fruit growers, a group that focuses on growing all kinds of peppers, banana tree growing group, maranga tree growing group and lots more. 

Try joining a Facebook gardening group and get some great ideas.

Trading Garding Produce and Clippings 

Another great thing about Facebook gardening groups is trading what you have for what you need. We’ve traded our citrus (oranges, tangelos and grapefruit) and banana trees for all kinds of plant cuttings like a Gogi Berry bush, sugar cane, passion fruit vine, pepper plants, tomato plants and lots more.

It’s great to be able to turn our bounty into more than what we have.

Steve & Annette Economides – Scottsdale, AZ

A Simple Gardening Solution

4 Earthbox rolling garden beds on a patio.

We love gardening and grow organic fruits and veggies on our property all year long. For those of you with limited space or time, there’s a great product to help you garden without the hassles of roto-tilling the soil and fighting weeds.

Take a look at the EarthBox system. It’s a simple self-contained gardening system complete with specially designed soils for indoor or outdoor use, a built-in watering system and wheels to move the box from place to place until you find the perfect location. It’s easy to use and costs between $35 and $60 to get started. What could be easier?

We have an elderly friend who never gardened before and she tried the EarthBox system and had great success with it. She proudly showed us her Cherry Tomatoes and Green Peppers (both about 4 feet tall). Not bad for a novice! For indoor gardening, you’ll need a grow light or a window that gets lots of sun.

Visit the official EarthBox website here– Steve & Annette Economides – Scottsdale, AZ

Favorite Gardening and Landscaping Books

We have planted lots of fruit-bearing trees and vines in our yard. Our inspiration for gardening and landscaping come from a few different books:

Square-Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy

– Steve & Annette Economides – Scottsdale, AZ

A Different Way to Plant Your Yard Full of Flowers

Beth (my wife) and I saved money in planting flowers. While neighbors were visiting the garden centers to buy 4 to 8 inch high perennials, we just replanted what we grew from our seeds.

Of course, we had to start about three weeks before our neighbors were planting their new plants. However, the gardens around our house looked every bit as nice.

At first, it was our own science experiment. We bought three packets of seeds, three different types of flowers.

Used plant starter trays that were available at the local garden center. All we had to do was add dirt, water, and create a warm enough environment for the seeds to germinate.

Our closed in back porch served well as a warm room. The porch faces south and the sun shines in through the glass panes keeping the room warm during the day. For about three or four evenings we used a little space heater overnight to keep the room at about 85 degrees.

The seeds grew. It was exciting seeing 300 small plants growing from just $2.25 worth of seeds. When the plants were about three to four inches tall we planted them in two hotbeds in our backyard.

While freezing was possible, sheet plastic worked well to protect the plants.

Sharing with neighbors

When our neighbor was planting her store purchased plants, we transplanted again, all around the yard. We had so many plants that we gave some to neighbors and friends. We had blue flowers along the west side of the house, yellow flowers in one hotbed, purple flowers in another hotbed, and blue and red flowers in pots on our porch.

Then in fall, we harvested seeds and did it again the next year. This is our third year of doing this. We enjoy beautifying our yard while we save in the process. Annual savings about $75.   

 Beth & Curtis Gillespie – Spokane, WA 

4 line block ad pipe tall Related Savings: Make Some Extra Cash by Taking Surveys Taking surveys in your spare time can be a great way to earn some extra money.  Check out Survey Junkie which will pay you instantly with cash via Paypal.  They have more than 6,000,000 members and an 8.9/10 rating on Trust Pilot.

Making Compost in the Fall, Just in Time for Spring

You can make your own compost without turning the pile. Collect garden debris and leaves in the fall and moisten the pile. The pile can be huge, as it will settle over the winter and lose up to two-thirds of its size. In the spring, rake the pile into a heap and then plant directly into it. You may need to place the plants or seeds into small pockets of the garden dirt.
K. Copeland – Seattle, WA 

Getting Free Volunteer Plants for the Spring

At the end of the gardening season, I always let the last of my spinach and lettuce go to seed. I also give the dead plants a good shake before the snow falls. In the spring, I have volunteer plants coming up even before the garden is tilled. Then I transplant the spinach and leave the lettuce and parsley in their beds to mature. I’ve heard that some people even do this with potatoes and carrots. Patti – Newport, WA 

A sunflower reading a newspaper.
A flower growing in coffee grounds.

Using Shredded Paper as Mulch

I always mulch around my garden plants to reduce the need for weeding. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ready source of free mulch, such as grass clippings. But I do shred my receipts and bank statements. My Dad gave me the idea to use the shredded paper! Now I shred everything that comes in the mail that’s on regular plain paper as well as all financial paperwork. I’m delighted to recycle right into my own garden. Also, if you put newspaper down before you mulch, you’ll not have to mulch as often. AnnMarie Johnson – Oshkosh WI 

Free Mulch for Landscaping

If you are looking for mulch to put around your trees or to line a path then this is for you. Google your county and “Free Mulch” and you will see a number of companies that will deliver free mulch right to your home. They are mostly landscape companies that have chipped and shredded their debris just for this. It save them the fees they would have to pay at the dump, plus it saves the environment so it is a win/ win for everyone.

You can also do a search on Yelp for this. Just confirm that there are no fees and that they will deliver to your home (some have to be picked up at a plant nursery). Some will also share the quantity of what they are bringing. Also make sure you have a large place for the load to be dumped, and a day soon after, scheduled with volunteer workers to help you spread your mulch. This is not good to be used in a garden.

Starbucks Coffee Grounds for Plant Beds

I thought of you guys when I found out about this program. I’ve tried it and it’s great! Nationwide, the folks at Starbucks are glad to give their used coffee grounds away. I call ahead – about four hours – and when I arrive they usually have a huge trash bag full of Espresso grounds ready for me. I take the grounds and work them into our vegetable beds, and around our roses and citrus trees … the worms love them too! For more details visit Starbucks web site. Susy Racioppi – Scottsdale, AZ 

Homemade Worm Farms

Rather than buy a pre-built worm farm, I took a couple discarded two-gallon plant containers, lined them with scrap landscaping fabric, added some wet cardboard and topsoil, then my recently purchased earthworms. The containers fit nicely into a hole dug in the ground; I keep them covered with an old trash can lid to keep critters and sunlight away. I have steadily added kitchen scraps: coffee grounds, pulverized egg shells, vegetable peelings, etc. And the worms continue to thrive by converting the scraps into nutrient-rich soil additives. Tracy Leonard – USA

How Gardening Will Save You Money

Gardens are sprouting up everywhere from the White House to Walla Walla, Washington and everywhere in between. Whether it’s because of the effect that the recession is having on your personal financial condition or just because you want to eat healthier, growing a garden can improve your fiscal and physical condition. Companies that sell seeds and seedlings are seeing double-digit growth in their sales numbers as a result of our growing interest in homegrown fruits and veggies.

sprouts in the garden bed

Our garden is growing great and we’re still pulling the fruit off our citrus trees. If you have room, please consider planting a fruit or nut tree this year. And if you haven’t started your garden yet, here are some tips and a few warnings from subscriber Cindy Stalcup from Ashburn, Virginia.

I saw that you suggested starting a garden as a means to save money on vegetables. Yes, it sure can be, but like anything else, expenses can expand to the size of your pocketbook. I’m an avid seed-starter myself and here are a few ideas for saving money in the garden:

1. Advice   

Good advice on gardening is free from your county extension agent or the local library.

2. Finding Seeds   

Watch for community seed and plant exchanges and get there early for the best selection. Seed packets are the least expensive at discount stores, dollar stores, and home improvement centers for between 10¢ and $1 per packet. Catalogs have a better selection, but a packet is usually at least $2 (still a steal compared to the cost of plants). Find a friend to split a packet of seeds and share in the shipping charges. I love pouring over seed catalogs, comparing prices, and dreaming of a beautiful garden — it’s free to look and a great way to spend a snowy January evening. This is such an enjoyable activity that we charge seed purchases to our entertainment budget and not our gardening budget.

3. Sowing Seeds   

Some flower and vegetable seeds can be sown directly into a garden after the danger of frost has passed (zinnias, sunflowers, marigolds, cosmos, green beans, squash, and basil). Others should be put into a starting soil mix to grow better. Garden soil is usually too dense and contains pathogens. Purchase a $2 box of three or five-ounce cups and a $3.50 bag of seed starting mix. With some seeds from your local discount store, you can start a garden for less than $10.

4. Soil preparation is a must. 

Start your own compost pile. I’ve been caught “trash picking” bags of leaves and grass clippings from my neighbors’ curbsides to feed our compost. Vegetable peels also make a good addition.

5. Use drip irrigation. 

Water is expensive — use it wisely.

Cindy is right, if you’re new to gardening, you can go broke buying all of the “must have” tools and plants. Start small and build on your successes. We always encourage new gardeners to start with some type of squash — they’re hearty, easy to grow and will usually produce a bumper crop with just a little attention. What are you waiting for . . . get growing!

If you want to read a great book on gardening visit our online bookstore and pick up a used copy of Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening, it’s great! You can also visit Mel’s website where he’s got lots of great info and even some instructional videos. 

Public Parks & Edible Landscaping

My 82-year-old grandmother recently shared this great idea . . . she wanted to know why local governments and municipalities haven’t planted fruit and nut trees in public areas. And why American’s aren’t encouraged to plant edible landscaping and the victory gardens that were so prevalent during W.W.II. No one would go hungry if we repeated this wise history lesson. Tina Tow – Scottsdale, AZ

How We Eliminate Yard Waste

A young boy standing in a leaf pile throwing leaves in the air.

In addition to about 30 citrus trees, we have nine large pine trees on our property.  The pine trees provide great shade, but they also drop a lot of pine needles. For years we used to spend hours raking them up and almost as long stuffing them into 40-gallon trash bags to be thrown away. It wasn’t a fun job trying to bag pine needles, they poke you and scratch you and get stuck in places that really hurt—even if you wear gloves.

Then we started to get a little smarter. We used some of them in our compost pile. It worked okay, but the pine needles tended to mat together and didn’t break down as fast as other yard waste. We tried chopping them up with a shovel, but that didn’t work well.

After looking at some gardening books, Steve came up with the idea of using the pine needles as material to create walking paths. As we walk on the pine needles they break down and later can be thrown in the compost where they disintegrate faster. They look nice, smell good and cushion our feet as we walk.

We put pine needles around our garden beds. We hardly ever have any weeds there.
The pine needle path leading from our garden, through part of our orchard to our backyard grass area.

We no longer bag any of our pine needles and they don’t end up in landfills either. They line our property in various places and make great acidic amendments for clay soil.

Garden and Landscape money-saving tips for your home.

We’d love to hear how you re-use your yard waste—just post a comment to help us all out.

Leave a Reply