5 DIY Landscaping Tips on a Budget

Brad from Project Build Stuff

This week at Project Build Stuff Brad is sharing five tips to completely change your home’s landscaping on a budget. Check out how Brad turned his lackluster landscaping and drab curb appeal into something beautiful.

What’s up world? This is Brad from Project Build Stuff and today I’m gonna show you five ways to completely make over your home’s curb appeal. I grew up in California where buying a house, for a lot of people, is a pipe dream. But since moving to Indiana I’ve been lucky enough to buy my own home, that I love. But the curb appeal is lacking. So I’m gonna show you the five ways I’m gonna completely make over the front of the house, to really make it pop and stop having the neighbors make me look so bad!

Hardscaping and Landscape Edging

Let’s start with the hard stuff, the hardscaping and the edging. Years of root growth and movement had completely demolished all the edging around my planners and trees. It really made my yard just look disheveled, so it was time to rip them out and start fresh. All of these edging stones were actually in really great condition. They were just dirty and uneven. So the most budget-friendly way I can do this is just to pull them out give them a good cleaning, and put them back in nice and level. I laid out all the stones on the driveway and just gave them a good pressure washing on both sides. It was actually quite incredible how clean they came out. They practically looked like new!

Marking Areas With Spray Paint

To establish a perimeter for my edging I used some string and marking spray paint to paint perfect circles around each tree. This will tell me where all my edging stones need to go back in. Here on the right side of the driveway, the plan is to put in a whole new flowerbed. I want it to perfectly match the one leading up to the front entry, so I’m gonna measure it out, and I’m gonna transfer those measurements over to the ground, using some more of that marking spray paint. I don’t have a straight edge that’s quite long enough for the side of the house, so I just eyeballed it with some string and then ran over that with the spray paint, to give me a good line to work from. For the curve I just eyeballed it and it’s close enough.

Marking Areas with Spray Paint

This whole flowerbed is going to be lined with edging stones, so we just need to dig out a little bit and get rid of all the grass, so we have a nice clean surface to run with. Laying these edging stones is a simple, but long, process. The real key is to make sure you have a nice flat surface you’re laying them on. A rubber mallet comes in handy to convince them to go in the right place. I just repeated the same process around all the trees and planters. It took a while but it looks really great in the end. I ended up putting a second layer of the stones everywhere, which really jumps out from the street. It allows me to put in way more mulch, which will look really nice.

Pressure Washing

My second tip is gonna be pressure washing. Even if you don’t think your house needs to be pressure washed it does, trust me. I’m lucky enough to have vinyl siding so a pressure washer cleans it right up. But where the real transformation comes is in the concrete. This sidewalk didn’t even look dirty, but look how much is coming off of it! A pressure washer is one of those big bang for your buck tools. You can rent one from your local home store for less than 50 bucks, and it can make a world of difference on your curb appeal. I spent just a couple hours out here with it, and look at all this gunk that came up. Pressure washing is worth all the time and money.

Hedge and Tree Pruning

Tip number three is pruning. Overgrown trees and shrubs are just an eyesore, but there’s such an easy fix and make a big difference on your curb appeal. This tree in my yard needed a pruning in the worst way. It drops berries that grow seedlings all over the place, so I’m going at it with the Sawzall and cleaning it up once and for all. So much better! My big tree just needed its yearly trim so you could actually see the front of the house from the street. I think that’s helpful with curb appeal. My front shrubs just needed a little bit of a haircut to give them some shape. They had that quarantine hair going on.

Weed Control and Mulch

Tip number four is about weed control and mulch. My weeds were out of control and my mulch hadn’t been replaced in years. That needed to get fixed pronto. The first step was to rip out all the old weed control, and dig out all this gross mulch. I want to start fresh. I found it easiest to rake all this old mulch and debris into a pile, and then use my quick leg bucket dustpan to scoop it all up.

In areas like this around the mailbox post, where I didn’t put in concrete edging, I used no dig edging to contain the mulch. It’s super easy to install and it keeps your mulch separated from the grass, which makes mowing way easier, around all the trees and the flowerbeds. Where I plan to put mulch,  I made sure to put a fabric weed block down. First I cut it oversized and staked it down with metal yard stakes to keep it in place. I then went back and trimmed off any of the excess, that won’t be covered by the mulch, with some scissors. I used the same tactic in these long flower beds. Just cut around the utility lines to make sure I got full coverage. I ended up using about thirty five cubic feet of mulch, which was about sixty bucks. So not too bad. It was really just dump and spread.

Laying Weed Block Fabric

Because of the harsh Indiana winters, the last mulch blew away and broke down. But I’m hoping this will last be a little longer. So I’ve made sure to put a nice thick layer, so it will hold up over time. Something just doesn’t seem right about a bunch of organic material coming in plastic bags.

Softscaping and Landscape Lighting

My fifth tip is about plants and lighting. Why someone would ever plant this ugly thing is a mystery to me. It even has thorns, oh it has to go! With that monstrosity dealt with, we’re gonna plant a couple hydrangea bushes here on the front of the house, which will really soften up the landscaping. When I picked these plants up from the nursery they suggested to mix the existing soil with some topsoil, in order to give them the best chance of success. I don’t have a green thumb, so I’m really hoping these work out. The final touch is gonna be some landscape lighting, because I want the house to look as good at night as it does during the day.

And there you have it. Five tips that completely change the curb appeal of my house. I’ve already gotten a ton of comments from the neighbors on how good it looks and I couldn’t be more happy. In total I spent about $300 on everything, which for landscaping is nothing. If I had a professional come out and do all of this, it would have cost me thousands of dollars. I really love the way the mulch and the light stone goes together. The trees are trimmed up nice. You can really see the front of the house, and the driveway is cleaner than I’ve ever seen it in my life. I couldn’t be more happy. I really hope you guys enjoyed this and I hope it has given you some ideas for fixing up your own curb appeal.

You can find Brad at his Project Build Stuff Site: https://projectbuildstuff.com

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