6 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Outdoor Home Improvement Project
An outdoor home improvement project can be both challenging and exciting, especially when landscaping and installing new structures are involved. The costs of a backyard makeover can be hefty, however, purchasing the right shed for your garden tools can prove to be a valuable long-term investment. In order to help you make your dream backyard a reality, we asked leading home improvement experts and landscaping enthusiasts to share their money saving tips. Here’s what they had to say on everything from choosing the right storage structures to picking out the best plants for your yard.
Decide What Matters: Quality or Cost
“The best way to save money is NOT to jump over a dollar to pick up a dime. Before comparing sticker price for your project, make friends with what you really mean by ‘saving money.’ What does ‘saving money’ really mean inside your head – and your heart.
“A home improvement project is made of manufactured pieces, parts, and processes, but it’s also organic. It’s yours. And you touch, feel, and see it every day. The same goes for buying tools, cars, or computers. Buy as much project as your budget will reasonably allow. You’ll save money in the long haul, because you’re buying quality not price point. And you’ll be happy immediately because you didn’t jump over a dollar to pick up a dime.” -Mark of MyFixItUpLife
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Always Have a Plan
“Planning for your outdoor spaces is just as important as planning for any remodeling project. Make a detailed drawing of how you envision your space to look. Go outside and use rope or string to layout the foundation of each structure, then stand back and think about how the space may look when it’s all built out. Consider the foot traffic as well, how will your access your new gazebo, shed or deck? All of these planning decisions are made so much simpler when you start with a good plan before ever setting shovel into soil or picking up a hammer.” –Tom of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show
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“By setting myself a budget with a plan, I found it easier to spend money on what I needed to spend it on. I knew I could buy what I needed, because it was in my budget. In previous years, I would look at something and decide not to get it because of the price. Doing things piecemeal meant the garden never looked pulled together or finished. I worked with a professional garden designer who works with native plantings, and she helped tremendously. She finally convinced me to give up my ‘garden in my head’ and to ‘plant what works’. So then once I looked at my yard and saw what was ‘working’, then I chose my favorites of them and planted LOTS more of that. It’s looking very lush now, and for the first time in years, I am enjoying my yard again.” –Robin of Getting Grounded
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Improvise When You Can
“Don’t feel like you have to save up enough money before you can start your landscaping project. Start with preparing your beds. Buy plants, a few at a time if needed. Start with your foundation plants likes shrubs and trees. To save money, consider purchasing the smallest sizes available. They’ll not only cost less, but be more adaptable to their surroundings and they’ll catch up in no time. Many plants spread or grow like crazy and are dug up and tossed to maintain a neat garden. See if friends or neighbors have any plants they can give you. Most gardeners are happy to share. If you are a patient gardener, you will be able to split what you have growing in your garden into more plants, some after the first year, but many after two years.” –Christy of Confessions of a Serial DIYer
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Don’t Let the Dollar Signs Fool You
“Don’t let the price of outdoor storage sheds be the determining factor for you. Some shoppers, once drawn to the cheapest price, immediately thereafter put blinders on and ignore alternatives. Of the outdoor storage sheds I priced recently, those sided with cedar and vinyl (the highest quality sidings) were only a few hundred dollars more than outbuildings sided with lower-quality materials. Consider how much those few hundred dollars are buying before rejecting the cedar or vinyl.” –David Beaulieu, Landscaping Expert for About.com
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It’s Okay To “Do It Yourself”
“Outdoor structures aren’t overly complicated, so building one makes a great do-it-yourself project if you have moderate DIY skills. You’ll find tutorials on YouTube and many big-box stores have instructional guides and videos. A kit is slightly more expensive than doing it yourself, but has the advantage of pre-cut parts; and hardware and fasteners are usually included. That’ll save you time and more than one forehead-slapping trip to the hardware store.
“In general, outdoor structures made of vinyl are cheaper than those made of wood and you’ll save money in the long run because vinyl is maintenance-free — no periodic painting and staining needed. Pressure-treated wood shrugs off the elements and is cheaper than finer species of wood often used for outdoor structures, such as cedar, cypress, and redwood. You can stain pressure-treated wood other colors than brown and green — the standard colors for pressure-treated lumber — to get a custom look you’ll like.” –HouseLogic.com
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Do you have any tips you’d like to share or have added to this list? Please let us know in the comment section below!
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