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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DIY Landscaping on a Dollar Store Budget

I work in a call center, and I've developed a major case of TMJ, which prevents me from being able to talk for any period of time.  I'm awaiting referral to a surgeon this week to fix it, but I've had some extra time at home because of this.  I have never had any interest whatsoever in digging in dirt, and suddenly I'm really  into gardening! While out on sick leave, however, it's important for me to not spend a lot of money.  I set out to have the cheapest possible garden (that doesn't look cheap).  here is how I did it:

Materials and sources:

This is Cypress Mulch from Home Depot, $2.00 a bag.  I bought five bags totaling $10.00.

These gloves were from Dollar Tree for a dollar. 

These stepping stones were already in my garden area, since the prior owner had a garden years ago, but I wanted to price them anyway for the purpose of this blog post, so you know where to find the best deal!  Available at Home Depot for $1.27 in red or gray.

I got this plant, Salvia Rhea, at Home Depot for 2.99.  It adds a little pop of color and the price was right.  Plus, it's a perennial!

This is technically a transplanting tool, but it's basically just a small trowel.  You can get this, a trowel, and a little rake for 88 cents apiece.  I grabbed this because I have little hands, and it was perfect for digging up all the weeds.

This Weedblock is 3'x50' and cost $9.99 at Home Depot.  However, I later found 5'x10' sheets of better weed block at Dollar Tree, so I could have spent even less money! 

I also bought a Japanese Maple tree at Meijer for $6.99 a few weeks ago.  Michigan had an unseasonably warm March, so they put some things out in the garden center at very low prices, and I couldn't resist!

I was lucky enough to have some stuff to start, since the prior resident had a garden in the same spot.  First, I have about a million Tiger Lilies running along my fence.  Ugh, I hate them, but I'm not quite up to digging them all up at this time.  Maybe next year.  For now, I planned to work right up to them and stop, so they looked as if they were intentional.  There were also a bunch of rocks to use for a border, so I didn't have to use that black plastic stuff.  These also proved useful to holding down the edges of the Weedblock fabric.  

The other part I forgot to mention was the awesome arbor that my neighbor threw out last year, that I had been saving in my garage!  

Here's how the garden looked about six weeks ago:
As you can see, there's some rocks, stepping stones, and a few perennial plants that are coming up.  This is what it's been like for the past 2 years, and in the summer it was just a big "weed garden."  That's my next door neighbor's dog, Bella.  Isn't she cute?

Here's the closest thing I have to a "Before" photo from a couple of weeks ago.  You can see that I put the arbor up, and everything else weeds and those two decorative grass perennials, and don't forget the tiger lilies:

I had planned to do each step at a time:  Dig up the weeds, level the dirt, plant the plants, add the weedblock, then cover it in mulch.  However, that proved to be very ineffective for a couple of reasons:  First, it was very windy that day and the weedblock would have just blown away, and secondly, because it would have been a lot more tiring to do things all at once.  I found it much easier to work in sections.  This way, I didn't get too fatigued or cause any repetitive motion injuries, and I had the satisfaction of seeing a little preview of how the finished product would look:

I ran out of Weedblock with about 5 square feet to spare, so I had to wait until I could run to Dollar Tree to  buy another packet.  I finally finished it today, and here's the finished product:

It's not perfect, but for a budget and not much skill, I'm satisfied.  I'll probably buy one more bag mulch because I have some bare spots to cover.  

Total Cost:  $32.85

I do have plans to add more items in the future, but I also plan to stick to my small budget:

These solar lights are available for a buck each at Dollar Tree, however my local store was out of stock. 

I'll update this post if I find other great deals.  You don't have to have a lot of money to have a yard that looks halfway decent!  Happy gardening!


I checked Dollar Tree in two different cities, and nobody has these darn lights in stock!  If I wanted to buy the regular lights online, I would have to buy a case of 48.  That's not conducive to my budget.  I did, however, find some other solar lights on the Dollar Tree website that were available in smaller lots.  So, I bought twelve of them.  They're smaller than the ones I originally wanted, so I wanted to make sure I have enough to actually light up the garden.  I think they'll look good:

1 comment:

  1. I got this plant, Salvia Rhea, at Home Depot for 2.99. It adds a little pop of color and the price was right. tree nursery