Thursday, May 19, 2011

Landscaping and gardening for low to no cost

When we purchased our home 13 years ago, we knew we had to have a vision for the "dump" we were about to take on as our own. I can still remember the day Randy, myself, and my parents came to "clean" after the closing. Mind you, I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with our second child, but nothing was stopping me. I remember Randy and my father tearing out dog pee infested carpets, cleaning hundreds of beer cans from the yard, gagging at the smell and appearance of the fridge, my mother on stools scrubbing the walls with bleach from ceiling to floor, carrying out loads of garbage, etc.

Trust me, some of the house is still a gutted mess after all of these years, but we are chipping away slowly but surely. Now, onto topic...."the yard"....Oh my God! What a mess this was. I honestly didn't even know we had a yard. It was covered with cut trees, brush, years of leaves, loads of cat litter dumped outside the bedroom window, etc. Once we started clearing it all away, I was so excited to realize we were living on a goldmine. There were large rocks, ledge, slate patios, and tiered garden beds (minus the flowers) everywhere! I honestly had no idea when we bought the house any of this was here. That is how overgrown everything in the yard was.....

Now seriously onto topic. Although I already had great bones to work with, we didn't have much money to invest into the yard. So, I am going to tell you how I have landscaped over the years for low to no money.....

Here is a photo of one of the tiers.

I wanted to make steps here because this area goes up to the shed. I drove up and down our dirt road looking for flat rocks. I was able to make these steps for free using rocks around me...Trust me, there are plenty of free rocks around for all of us....I am also in the midst of making another stairway....

I will admit I was very lucky to have 2 natural slate patios here when we bought the house. Yes, these would have cost a fortune to have done. But, there is upkeep and landscaping around them that I continue to do for next to nothing.

Over the years, some of the slate tiles have cracked and we have not had the money to replace them. So I have rearranged the puzzle pieces by pulling some out and extending the perennial gardens. Yes, I have paid for some perennials, but for the most part, I have traded with friends or split mine up and spread them throughout.

One step down from the large slate patio, there is a mini one....

To fix this small area for FREE, I removed the broken slate and spaced the remaining ones apart more. I wasn't to happy with the large gaps so I used some FREE moss I just happen to have everywhere in my yard. I pulled it off the rocks and inserted it between all of the cracks.

Here is a photo of the before of this area this year so you can see that I do a lot of work and maintenance every year...No one said gardening comes easy..UGH!

Lastly, I wanted to share the cost of my man made pond with you. I showed the "how to" and the clean up of it HERE about a month ago.

I literally did this entire landscape for nothing. I was given the pond bed by a friend. I know this isn't something you turn around and get for free everyday, but look at tag sales and on Craig's list. They are out there for low cost. The rocks were of course taken from the land. The perennials came from other parts of my gardens. The trellis is a vintage crib that was given to me....The bird bath was my grandmother's. And Oops, I lied when I said everything was free....I did pay $25 for the stone bench. And now after I just wrote all of this, I realized it isn't all showing in the picture. You can see it all in the link I just gave though of cleaning the pond.

In conclusion, work with what you have. Gardening and landscaping do not have to cost a fortune, nor do you have to hire a professional. Yes, it is a lot of work, but personally I love the blood, sweat, and tears I put into my yards. The rewards are overwhelming. When I have a gorgeous bouquet of flowers on my kitchen table, I know it's because of what I have done. When a humming bird is inches from me, I know it's because of the research and perfect flowers I have planted for them.

Not only is there free stuff out there, but your garden can become a wonderful haven from what you find at thrift stores, tag sales, and even the dump. I have seen bird feeders at tag sale for 50 cents...And again, you have the environment around you for landscape materials...

I have plenty more yard to share with you. I will give you all of my tricks of the trade and secrets along the way.....

I just want to remind everyone to link up to my first ever themed LINKY PARTY...the theme this week is light fixtures.

Linking to THESE parties


  1. what a wonderful garden & so many trees its really beautiful lots of space & i like the pond, i have always wanted a pond as I remember my Grandad having when I was a child

  2. Again tons of inspiration!!!!! Your yard is wonderful. Isn't it amazing what you can do with the will to do it? My front yard was all driveway and now it is gardens. I'll bet you smile every time you look at yours. It is beautiful:)
    ~Debra xxx
    Capers of the vintage vixens

  3. Great spacing/moss idea. What a great space and a great pond. Thank you for sharing.
    - Joy

  4. oh I love all of this! I would love to do similar things in my backyard. Moss is one of my favorite things about a garden :)
    thanks for sharing!

  5. Love ponds, slate and moss...right up my alley! You yard is so nice!!!

  6. Wow! What an amazing property you have uncovered. Someone had obviously cared for the property at one time before the previous owners came along. You have done a great job!

  7. LUCKY YOU!!!! I am, no doubt, a rock fanatic, so your yard looks like heaven to me! How awesome to find all that treasure lying underneath. We moved a few years ago, one of the selling points was the rocks walls on two sides of the supplies! Can't wait to see more of your yard. You do such beautiful work in AND out of the house!

  8. It looks like a truly magical space! Your hard work is definitely worth it :)

  9. it looks sooo lush and green and pretty, and most of all so new england. i can smell the scent of frehly rained woods here. amazing.

  10. Your yard is just amazingly beautiful, Lisa! Love the misty, green, lush look of everything. Serene and peaceful..... Hey - if you put a net over your pond for the fall/winter, you won't get any leaves in it and you won't have to clean it each spring! :)

    xoox laurie

  11. Hi!
    This sounds just like my yard when we bought it!! But when I mowed the waist high grass and hauled away all the trash.. I had nothing:-) You are lucky, to find a diamond in the rough! Gorgeous rockwork!!

  12. Thanks for sharing all the results of your hard work. It is beautiful.

  13. Your garden tells me you are smart, resourceful and with a good eye. Keep up the GREAT work.

  14. You've done a great job. You have some wonderful spaces.


  15. Hi Lisa! Your garden area is so wonderful! I love your patio areas with all your mossy beauty!! Such a wonderful space! I will have to check out your linky party ! How fun! Thanks for sharing at FNF~ Have a great weekend!

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