From the monthly archives:

June 2011

landscaping toolsWith winter coming to an end and warm weather closing in across the country, homeowners are beginning to think about landscaping ideas for the spring season. Even if yard work isn’t your ideal past time, a little bit of effort is needed to ensure that your property is up to par the others on your block.

There are two major downfalls of landscaping: the necessary physical labor, and the cost of supplies. Outside of hiring help, there is nothing you can do about the sweat equity required to landscape your yard. Fortunately, there are ways you can save on the cost of supplies.

Ways to Save on Landscaping Supplies

1. Buy In Bulk
This is a lesson I learned the hard way last year. Week after week, I would head to the local Home Depot and purchase a couple of bags of mulch at $5 a pop. At the time, I saw nothing wrong with this. But toward the end of summer, I was struck by the realization that I had purchased in excess of 30 bags.

Shortly after realizing my mistake, I called a couple landscaping companies in my area. Both of them told me they could deliver mulch, in bulk, at a fraction of the cost of big box stores. After receiving a quote from two companies, I found that I could definitely save by purchasing in bulk. And not only do they offer mulch, they have great deals on top soil as well! As you can imagine, this spring, I will be having one batch of mulch delivered to me rather than paying more to haul individual bags from the store to my home.

If the prices sound great, but the quantity is more than you really need, consider buying in bulk and splitting the cost, and product, with the neighbors. Personally, I’ve ordered bulk quantities of mulch and top soil with neighbors and it’s worked out great.

Other products you can buy in bulk from a landscaping company include wood chips and nuggets, hay and straw, gravel, pine needles, and coco bean shells.

2. Check For Town Freebies
Did you know that some townships offer free landscaping supplies to residents? They do this for two main reasons:

  1. Landscaping benefits the aesthetics of the entire town, not just the person who is putting in the work.
  2. Townships do not want to get stuck with excess supplies. If not used, some supplies, such as mulch, will otherwise go to waste.

At my old home, I was offered up to three free trees as long as I agreed to plant them on my own. I was more than happy to take advantage of this deal. After all, these trees would have cost me at least $60, if not more.

To find out what your town offers, call your local borough or township headquarters and ask if they offer anything for free. You may be surprised at what you can get this spring.

3. Keep Up With Seasonal Maintenance
First time homeowners may not realize that maintaining both your landscaping supplies, and projects, is a great way to save. I know I regularly made this mistake in my early days of home ownership.

For example, I continually neglected to remove leaves from mulch beds in the fall. While this was no big deal when the snow was falling, by the time spring came around, my mulch was discolored, matted down, and in need of a replacement.

In short, the better care you take of the supplies you buy, no matter what they may be, the longer they will last. By keeping up with seasonal maintenance, you can avoid having to make the same purchases year after year.

4. Search for Coupons
This may not be the most exciting way to save on landscaping supplies, but its definitely something you don’t want to overlook. Some people are under the impression that coupons are only good for grocery stores and department stores. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In addition to coupons for stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, there are often deals for local landscaping companies. For instance, this past week, I clipped three coupons from my local newspaper. All three were from landscaping companies in my area that are attempting to drum up business as spring heats up. They included: “Buy five cubic yards of mulch and get one free”, “Free delivery on gravel and rocks within 15 miles”, and “Free spreading of mulch with a purchase of 10 cubic yards or more.”

Keep your eyes peeled for great deals like these.

5. Compare All Your Options
As noted above, this is one area I totally missed out on last year. Instead of comparing multiple resources, I only purchased supplies from Home Depot. When all was said and done, I probably spent $50 to $75 more than I should have.

In order to ensure an efficient comparison process, do the following:

  • Get It in Writing: Start out by receiving a written quote from your “number one choice.” No matter if it is a big box store or professional landscaping company, the key is to get the quote in writing.
  • Bring Proof: Present your quotes to competitors as you search for the best deal. Many times you will find that a competitor can offer a better price, but only if you can prove what other companies are charging.

Make sure to not only look at the big-name stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, but also your local hardware stores. Recently, I stopped in a small family owned hardware store to see what they had to offer. I was not looking for anything in particular, but I ended up purchasing a 15-foot electrical cord and a gas can. Both products were much cheaper than I could find anywhere else.

Finally, remember that the same strategy applies when it comes to professional landscaping companies. In addition to comparing these companies to one another, you should compare their prices to those of big box, and local hardware stores.

Final Word

If you own a home you should take great pride in its curb appeal. This spring, make sure you have all the supplies you need to landscape your yard with success. By following the five tips you can get everything you want without overspending. Whether you need a couple cubic yards of mulch, or somebody to help you plant a row of trees, when you follow some or all of the tips above you are putting yourself in position to save.

How do you save on landscaping?

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