26 Jan 2022

Upgrading even a small yard can get very expensive very fast, particularly if you are planning on doing major landscaping work to your entire yard. But it does not have to be as intimidatingly expensive as you might expect. There are several different ways you can revitalize and landscape your backyard without breaking the bank, from upcycling to using affordable alternatives.

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Below, we will talk you through some of our favorite ideas for landscaping on a budget. All of these are easy, affordable options for revitalizing and renewing a backyard, ideal for anything from small areas to larger gardens. No matter how tight your budget is or what your needs may be, there is sure to be something suitable for your needs below!

Affordable Mulch Alternatives

Mulch is a great way to reduce some of your maintenance costs by cutting down on the amount of water your garden needs and saving valuable weeding time. However, the costs of buying mulch upfront can be high, which can be quite off putting. One of the best ways you can save money on backyard maintenance is to use affordable alternatives instead of commercially available mulch products. There are several different alternatives you can use to get the same results for a fraction of the cost.

Grass clippings might be the best option for most people, assuming you have a lawn in your backyard. Next time you mow the lawn, just collect up your grass clippings and spread them on the flower beds instead of mulch.

Compost is also a great mulch alternative. A thin layer of compost on your flowerbeds offers all the advantages of mulch, but you can make it yourself at home! Be careful, though, as too thick a layer can heat up your plants too much and injure them. A thin layer is perfect, though.

If you have trees overhanging your lawn, collect up their fallen leaves. Shredded leaves make for a free alternative to mulch and provide valuable nutrients for your plants as they decompose.

Vertical Gardening for Small Yards

If you only have a small yard, landscaping can be complicated and expensive. However, vertical gardening can be a great way to make even the smallest space look great. But what is vertical gardening?

Well, to put it as straightforwardly as possible, vertical gardening focuses on using vertical space to grow plants, stacking growing spaces on top of one another rather than spreading things out sideways. This makes great use of space and can be much more affordable than you might expect, particularly if you upcycle waste materials for your vertical garden setup. 

An old wooden ladder makes a great scaffold for a vertical garden. Wire old paint cans or terracotta pots onto a ladder for a good-looking option. Similarly, old paint cans can be hung from a wall or fence for a raised planting garden. Anything you can think of that you can put a plant in and nail to a fence is a great starting point for a vertical garden!

Upcycling Old Tires

Old tires can be tough to get rid of. They are bulky, they are heavy, and many major waste haulers refuse to accept them. Fortunately, tires can be upcycled in your yard for an eye catching and affordable accent to your yard.

Tires make for great planters. Simply fill them with soil and plant anything you want in them for an unconventional raised bed! You can also use them as the base of a raised pond or construct quirky garden seating or safe play constructions for kids.

Adding Color to Your Yard

Refreshing the look of your yard does not have to be expensive and complicated. Sometimes, just adding a splash of color can be all you need to do to get things looking fresh and exciting. There are a few different ways to do this effectively.

A simple way to revitalize your garden’s look is to repaint your furniture and planters. A fresh coat of paint on plant pots, benches, or chairs can make them look like completely new accents for your space, helping it to feel fresh and different without breaking the bank. 

Alternatively, planting a few new plants with bright, vibrant flowers or even just colored leaves can add a splash of color to even the smallest of yards. Anything that catches the eye with a bit of contrast can make a huge difference to how your space looks and feels. 

Upcycled Furniture

Garden furniture can be expensive. Upcycling abandoned indoor furniture for garden use, however, is much more affordable. Repainting used furniture can save you a huge amount of money and bring a quirky, unique look to your yard. You just need to remember to coat indoor furniture with a waterproof sealant before you set it up outside! Alternatively, you can build your own furniture from scrap materials. Milk crates, logs, lumber, cinder blocks, and even old tires can be ideal materials for building comfortable and eye-catching furniture.


Landscaping does not have to be hard or expensive. Using methods like the ones we have outlined here, you can get your backyard looking refreshed and revitalized on even a tiny budget. But remember, the options we have listed above are only suggestions. Use these as a start point, and let your imagination run wild. With a little creativity and some crafty use of materials, you can completely reimagine your backyard incredibly affordably.