Experts and BHG readers answer.
Landscaping on a budget
Yes, you just have to plan and spend wisely. Here are some hints. Hire a landscape designer to develop a plan, then do the work yourself. Another option is to decide on which parts of the plan you can do, then hire out the more difficult portions. You'll get the expertise in the design and save money by doing some or all of the work. Tackle one part of the plan at a time, and work at your own pace to spread out the cost and the work. You don't have to get the whole project done in a single day, week, or month-or even a season. Look for inexpensive alternatives. A retaining wall of newly quarried stone is expensive, but con-crete blocks from sidewalk-replacement projects work just as well, and some contractors give them away. If there are no alternatives to an expensive part of your project, reassess its importance to the overall landscape. For example, consider what else you could have if you skip the pond. Plant larger trees to give your garden instant "bones" and draw attention away from unfinished por-tions. Shrubs, which fill in faster than trees, add structure, too, and can be purchased in smaller sizes to save money. Use annuals for color around new landscaping. These quick bloomers add color until your perenni-als have time to fill in. A couple of flats of bedding plants such as petunias, or a few seed packets of a quick-growing flower such as nasturtiums, are usually enough for full-season color.