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Real Estate

How to landscape on a budget

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 (Reuters)

Eye-pleasing landscaping has the potential to improve the way you feel about your home and make your property more appealing to potential buyers. And your landscaping project doesn't have to set you back hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here are some ways to landscape on a budget.

Have a plan
Visualize the kind of landscaping you want and work on ways to achieve that final result. Examine your financial situation and determine a realistic landscaping budget. Figure out the best way to allocate the money you have set aside for your landscaping project. Remember to steer clear of impulse purchases during the whole project.

Do your research
If it is not in your budget to hire a landscape architect, you may be able to swing a consultation with one for a reduced price. See what kind of fees the professional landscapes charge in your area.

Get inspiration from the Internet and magazines. Ask the people at the local nursery for suggestions. You might even be able to tap a horticulturalist from a local university for advice. Do keep in mind that you have the final say, so make sure you make decisions based on what you want, not just what the person at the garden center was raving about.

Choose the right plants
Mandy Buck Rhoades, who does sales and public relations at Buck & Sons Landscaping Service, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, suggests using plants that are native to your area.

"These will require less water and overall care in general," she says.

Perennial plants come back every year, so you can save both time and money by choosing to plant them over annuals, which need to be replanted every year, Rhoades says.

Before you plant your first seed, test your soil to find deficiencies. You should be able to find a home soil test kit at a garden center, and the results will both save you from purchasing unnecessary additives and help you determine the best plants for the present type of soil.

According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, mulch reduces weed growth and conserves water, helping you save money on irrigation and weedkillers. Mulch is often cheaper if you buy it in bulk, too.

Make smart decisions
Know what is worth buying on the cheap and what may end of costing you big bucks in the long-run. Rhoades says that a larger upfront investment may result in spending less on annual maintenance.

"Hire professionals to do the more skilled labor such as hardscaping and paver installation to save headaches and money to fix it later," she suggests.

But don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. If you are confident that something can be done properly and realistically, do it yourself.

See what you can reuse or repurpose. Consider repainting your old lawn furniture with leftover paint from another project. Find new cushions for your lawn chairs, and see if you can find anything inside your house that would add to the overall look of your new landscaping.