Ideas for Saving Money on Landscaping

Some of you may not know this but I live in NH.  I have only been here for a year now and I have been living in our new-to-us home for only 9 months.  While our house is nice, it is majorly lacking in landscaping due to neglect from previous owners.

Now that the snow has melted and spring is here I am suddenly faced with making decisions of what to plant, where and how to do it for less. Yesterday I turned to you on Facebook and asked you for tips and ideas on how to make landscaping improvements without breaking the bank.

I now want to share the wise advice I received with the rest of you in case you missed this convo:

  • Be on the lookout for people who are “cleaning” out their gardens and ask if you can have a couple of them. Generally people are more than happy to give them to you! After all….it beautifies their neighborhood as well! :).  Try your local freecycle group to find people who are thinning out or getting rid of plants. – Julie and Christina
  • Many garden clubs and communities have swap events, too! If you have Ace Hardware near you, check out not just their sales, but also their rebates. You usually can submit them online, and it can save a lot on garden soil and other necessities. – Ellen
  • We ONLY plant perennials. We also share our plants. When they are ready to divide, we will do swaps– I give them half my plant and I’ll take half their divided plant. Also, research the best plants for your zone and soil. We never water our plants because we planted wisely!!! Saves a TON of water! (and it’s better for our planet!). -Jewcy
  • Start your plants from seeds. This takes patience, but will pay off with sturdier plants. Be sure to start early enough. It’s too late now in most climates, but think ahead for next year. – Myrna
  • When I go to the grocery store I see handmade fliers of ‘handymen’ who are out of work looking for anything that pays. For all of your heavy duty landscaping, if you know what they need to do and how to do it, you could get some help for really cheap if you look. – Anna
  • We go to Lowes right before close, they throw away 1000 of plants a day.  If anyone has tried it, share with us how it went for you. – Amy

After you guys gave me such great advice, I signed up for my local Freecycle club to keep an eye out on any free plant offers.  I also contacted my local Garden Club and asked if they had someone to give free advice.  This is what I need the most, I don’t know what to plant or where to make it look pretty.  Where else can I look for free gardening advice?



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  • Crystal

    I also live in NH, down the road from you I believe. I’m in North Londonderry and I have a pretty big garden, we are homeowners for many years with some beautiful gardens, we finally decided that we didn’t want to spend so much time in the garden so we planted alot of lillies, not only do they come back every year but they smell fantasitic, we have some day lillies and some that bloom only once, but when they do its beatiful. We are however selling the house due to divorce and i will miss the gardens but if you want to take a look see our listing: Unfortunetly there isn’t many up close photos but you can get an idea.

  • I love Hostas in the northeast for foundation plantings. They are perennial, come in different colors and look striking. Plus, when they get bigger folks have to “divide” them by chopping the root ball in half-which means someone might be willing to give you some!

    • Megan

      Hostas are beautiful. You just have to watch out if you’re in a deer-populated area. They are so loved by deer that my friend calls them “deer salad!”

      • Megan,
        We do have deer around here. I did not know that about it though. I will try to ask my neighbors if the problem is serious.


    • I do like Hostas and the fact that they are so “sturdy” and low maintenance. I do have the perfect spot for a couple of them. Now I kust need to get some that are pretty. Any suggestions?


  • Lisa

    If you are in a neighborhood where you can “spy” on other gardeners… try asking the people whose yards you admire the most if they would be willing to offer an opinion on your yard. I find that people who work hard to have beautiful yards appreciate being appreciated and love to talk about the secret to their success. It is also a great way to learn what works best in your area… and what to avoid!

  • Kris

    Go to the library and check out some books on plants specific to your area. I have a book just for the midwest and it also includes recommendations for other plants that thrive in the midwest to plant with it. This is the book I have, but I’m sure Sunset prints books for other areas.

    • KimH

      While you’re at the library, ask if they have any garden/landscaping programs coming up. Many libraries offer community service type lectures, usually for free. Also ask for any other free resources for gardening in your area.

      Also, its definitely not too late to start your own annual plants from seed in NH.

  • Shelley

    Check to see if you have a local Extension Office. They are usually a wealth of information for all kinds of things. In our area, they have plant sales in the spring and fall that focus on native varieties.

  • Kim

    Freecycle is great, but CraigsList is going to have a section for your own state, and they have a ‘wanted’ section & ‘barter’ where you arrange swaps. They have more readers than Freecycle. Don’t forget Uncle Henry’s classifieds (also online). It’s a Maine publication but many ads are from New Hampshire, too.

    I think it would be great to form a gardener’s group or swap group to meet once monthly in your area (a church, library or store parking lot). ClosestCloset is like that & they are on Facebook and CraigsList.

    I’d like to hear more details from Amy about her experience with Lowe’s – does she approach them & ask if she can take the trash plants off their hands, or does she go ‘dumpster-diving’? I missed the conversation.

    new hampshire craigslist > for sale / wanted > barter

    new hampshire craigslist > for sale / wanted > farm & garden

    new hampshire craigslist > for sale / wanted > items wanted

    new hampshire craigslist > event calendar

    Uncle Henry’s classifieds

    • Oh! Thank you so much for all the great information! I had never heard of Uncle Henry’s Classifieds and I consider myself pretty web savvy. So I am checking each link now.
      Thank you again,


  • Nan M

    I’m also right near you (in Auburn). Our library has several gardening programs (free) every year. I’m sure Manchester & Hooksett libraries do also. They are given by Master Gardeners. Also the Rockingham County Extension offers lots of advice on their ‘hot line’. They are associated with UNH, so the best advice around.

    • Nan,
      Thanks for suggesting looking up MAster Gardeners. I had forgotten all about them, although I first learned about them when I lived in WI. My wonderful neighbor was one and she had such an awesome garden and was always helping me! I need another Master Gardener neighbor 🙂


  • mary b

    I did not realize you were now in NH. I’m not too far, a little east of Concord.
    For tons of info on landscaping, gardening and so much more try UNH Cooperative Extension:

    I try to redeem any “rewards” or “points” programs and get Gift Cards to Home Depot or Lowe’s so I can splurge on gardening items. Right now I have a $100 GC for Lowe’s that is itching to be spent.

    • hi Mary!
      Nice meeting you! I was just looking at the Extension program and they do have gardening events scheduled soon. I am looking them up now.


  • Better Homes and Gardens has free plans on their website.

    • hi Susan,
      Thanks for sharing! I will look into that.


  • linda

    Any more information on how to get the plants that Lowes throws away at the end of the day?

    Mercedes, would you do more on Ace Hardware? The local Ace does not send out paper ads
    very often. I can see the rebate forms on and what the rebates amount is but without knowing what the sale price is I can not tell if the rebate is free ect.

    Thank you

  • tracy

    This has to do with the beginning of landscape. Instead of buying the black paper that you then have to tear out or cut to plant anything. Try laying a layer of cardboard, soak it wet, layer of newspaper, soak it, layer of straw and soak it. Great way to rid weeds, use up old papers and very good for the soil. Usually after a good rain will help break down but if need water it reg. till you see. May not be able to plant right away but so much savings and healthy for enviroment.

  • candy

    once you figure out what plants to plant etc.. Your gonna need compost and mulch. I get mine from our local dump/ recycling center. I pay $10.00 a truck load (can’t beat that) . I’ve had a lot of mulching to do and have saved lots of money by buying it there. Good luck! Keep in mind bushes n stuff like that require trimming every year. I’m learning the hard way this year.. I’ve done nothing but trim trees and bushes.. Ehh!

  • Julie

    Mercedes, the most important thing to do before you plan your project is to have a soil test done. You can get the kits from your county extension. Then, when you get your results, you will know what your soil needs and you can build it from there. Compost (Black Gold!) is your best friend in building a good soil.