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How To Transform your Landscaping on a Budget

It's that time of year again. The time when you look outside and think, "THIS is the year I am going to tackle XYZ project" referrring to the landscaping update you have been considering for years. If you have been delayed due to budget, our landscape design team has put together a couple of simple, inexpensive landscape projects to improve your landscape. Need assistance? Visit our Garden Center in Cary, IL or call our Landscape Design department at 847-658-3883.

13 Low Cost Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal


1. Spend to Save: Nothing adds more to a landscape than a beautiful specimen shade or ornamental tree. Purchasing a quality shade tree will not only add to the beauty of your landscape but will work to shade your home naturally. Having natural shade in your yard not only lowers cooling costs of your home, but also minimizes water usage in the landscape.

2. Fresh Mulch: If you have not mulched recently, we strongly recommend putting a fresh coat of mulch down in your planting beds. Edge your beds first, then apply at least 2-3 inches of a natural hardwood mulch. A clean look to your beds will make everything look neat and fresh. Mulch also reduces weeds and acts as a natural fertilizer for plants, which reduced your maintence costs.

3. Year Round Interest Plant Design: Choose plants with multiple seasons of interest that can be enjoyed year round. Here are some great options for shrubs, ornamtental trees and evergreens, and perennials, many of which offer spring/summer blooms along with attractive foliage and fall color.curb-appeal-landscaping

  • Shrubs: Fothergilla, Tor Spirea, Clethra, & Weigela
  • Trees: Serviceberry, Redbud, Royal Raindrops Crabapple, Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Perennials: Oenothera 'Crown of Gold', Penstemon 'Dark Towers', Geranium 'Max Fri'

4. Divide Plants: Dividing plants in the spring is a great way to increase your landscaping without any cost at all. Often times, friends or family may even have extra for you. Hosta, Astilbe, Sedum and Daylilies are great examples of beautiful perennials that are frequently found in the landscape and can be easily divided.

5. Consult a Professional: Asking a professional for help is an easy way to get simple tips that lead to great results. At our garden center, you can bring in pics and measurements and we will work with you to choose plants for a new planting bed or area of your home. Our experienced professionals will listen to your needs and use their extensive knowledge to improve your landscaping. Understanding how to incorporate year round color is a great example of this. A horticulture professional or experienced gardener will help choose plants that keep your landscape looking great all year.

6. Add a BURST of color: A burst of color from a flat of annuals goes a long way. At just petunia-vista-bubblegum$17.99/flat, 48 plants will fill in a fairly large area nicely and provide color from spring to fall. You can purchase flats of pre-mixed petunias in combinations of reds, oranges, pink or even purples to create a mix of vibrant color very easily. Filling 1-2 planting beds around your house with annuals is another great way to minimize weeds and maintenance from spring to fall. Or start small and go for a POP of color with a pot of colorful annuals! Come into our Garden Center and we will help choose the right annuals for your planting bed or planter.

7. Do your research: If a particular plant is not working in your yard, try to learn why before pulling it out. If it is a shade plant, getting too much sun, or vice versa, you may be able to transplant it. Moving it to a better location will allow it to to thrive in a previously bare spot, solving two problems at one time.

8. Keep it Clean: Weed, Prune, Edge. Apply Hi-Yield Weed/Grass Stopper Granules to your beds in the spring to keep it weed free. Prune overgrown shrubs and then edge your beds. Voila! A simple clean up can reap great rewards.

9. Plant Groundcover: A lush groundcover is a long term investment in your landscaping. It minimizes mulch needs, adds color and is low maintenance. Vinca will bloom throughout the season and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. A favorite for shady spots is English Ivy. For a classic look, go with dark green and fragrant Pachysandra, also known as Japanese Spurge.

10. Ornamental Grasses: Who doesn't like a little bang for the buck? Ornamental grasses perennial-grassespack a punch in the landscape and are very budget friendly. They are a great addition to any landscape for a number of reasons. First, don't prune them in the fall and their pretty plumes and blades will increase the winter interest of your landscape. Second, they will add height and tall screening, quickly. Third they are easy to maintain and often spread and can be easily divided. TIP: Make sure you know what you are purchasing. Some grasses are annuals, such as purple fountain grass, and will not return after the winter. For ornamental grasses that return year after year, look for high performing perennial grasses such as switch grass or miscanthus grass. Tip From The Pros: Grasses come up late, so surround them with daffodil bulbs for a pop of spring color.

11. Transform Your Lawn: Envious of your neighbor? You don't need to spend a lot of time on your lawn to transform it into a healthy, lush oasis. Visit our garden center this spring and pick up an organic 4-step lawn program or our recommended Ferti-lome 4 step lawn care program. Follow the application process 4 times a year and you will be able to enjoy a healthy, wee free, green lawn all season.

12. Know When to Splurge: There is large gap between the durability of low cost versus quality hardscape material. One great example is pavers. Pavers sold in bulk at inexpensive prices are often quick to fade and break. There may be a great warranty, but consider the time and labor involved. Choosing high quality pavers and stone products from companies such as Unilock and Belgard are absolutely worth the extra cost. Questions? Call us at 847-658-3883 and we will tell you more.

13. Replace broken concrete with natural stone or pavers. Nothing dates a home more bluestone-paverthan a broken up, cracked, concrete stoop, walkway or patio. It can be easy to replace or even cover old concrete with pavers or bluestone. This small project can have a high return on your investment.

At The Barn Nursery, our garden center and landscape design teams are here to help! Whatever the size of your project, our horticulturalists and landscape designers will help you choose the right plants, natural stone or pavers and help create the perfect design for your home. Ready to get started? 




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