Backyard landscaping on a budget - Liberty Landscape

10 Backyard Landscaping Ideas on a Budget (2024)

To get you started, here’s a sneak peek at our top tips:

  1. Freshen up or add mulch beds for cost-effective garden health.
  2. Plant perennials for repeated enjoyment year after year.
  3. Enhance the edges of your patio to define your space.
  4. Grow native plants that thrive in our local climate and require less maintenance.
  5. DIY a deck or stone path to add character to your space.

Trust us when we say a beautiful and sustainable backyard doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With these handy, budget-friendly tips, you’ll transform your outdoor space in no time whilst adding value to your property.

Infographic detailing the various ways to upgrade a backyard on a budget - backyard landscaping ideas on a budget infographic pillar-5-steps

Stay tuned as we dive further into each of these tips, equipping you with all the information you need to create your dream backyard on a budget.

1. Freshen Up or Add Mulch Beds

Mulching, a popular and budget-friendly landscaping technique, involves spreading a protective layer of material around your plants. This serves many purposes – it deters weeds, conserves water, improves soil health, and gives your garden a neat, finished look.

What are Mulch Beds and Their Benefits?

Mulch beds are garden or plant beds covered with mulch. Mulch is available in various types, both organic and inorganic, such as straw, compost, bark chips, gravel, or plastic.

Organic mulches decompose over time, enriching your soil with nutrients, while inorganic mulches are more long-lasting.

Key benefits of mulch beds include:

  • Weed Control: Mulch prevents weed seeds from germinating and sprouting, reducing the need for tedious weeding.
  • Moisture Conservation: Mulch slows down water evaporation from the soil, minimizing the need for frequent watering. This is especially beneficial in hot regions.
  • Soil Health: Organic mulch breaks down over time, adding nutrients to the soil and improving its structure.
  • Aesthetics: Mulch beds provide a clean, finished look to your garden, enhancing its overall appeal.

How to Freshen Up or Add Mulch Beds

  1. Choose your mulch type: Depending on your specific needs and the type of plants you have, choose an appropriate mulch. Organic mulches like bark chips or compost are generally recommended for flower beds due to their soil-improving properties.
  2. Prepare the area: Clear the area of weeds and debris. If you’re refreshing an existing mulch bed, remove the old, decomposed mulch.
  3. Apply the mulch: Spread the mulch around your plants and across the bed. A layer of 2-3 inches is typically sufficient for weed suppression and moisture conservation. However, avoid letting the mulch touch plant trunks or stems as this can encourage rot and pests.
  4. Water the mulch: Sprinkle some water over the newly applied mulch. This helps it settle into place.

Tips on Choosing the Right Mulch for Your Backyard

Choosing the right mulch depends on the specific needs of your plants and your aesthetic preferences. Here are some tips to guide you:

  • Consider your soil and plants: Some plants prefer acidic soil, while others prefer alkaline. Choose a mulch that complements your plants’ pH preferences. Pine needles, for instance, are acidic and are great for acid-loving plants.
  • Think about longevity: If you don’t want to reapply mulch often, opt for inorganic mulches or slow-decomposing organic mulches like wood chips.
  • Look at aesthetics: Mulch comes in various colors. Pick a color that complements your plants and the overall look of your garden.
  • Be mindful of pests: Some types of mulch can attract pests. For instance, shredded bark can attract termites. If pests are a concern, consider pest-resistant options like cedar bark.

The best landscaping ideas on a budget are those that save you money in the long run. Mulching might require an upfront cost, but it pays off by reducing watering needs, minimizing weeding, and improving soil health. So, roll up your sleeves and let’s add some mulch to that garden bed!

2. Plant Perennials for Annual Enjoyment

What Are Perennials and Their Benefits?

Perennials are a group of plants that, unlike annuals, live for more than two years. They bloom over the spring and summer, retreat during autumn and winter, and then re-emerge from their rootstock the following spring.

The primary advantage of perennials is their durability. Plants such as lavender, daylilies, hostas, and daisies are hardy, withstanding various weather conditions, making them excellent choices for low-maintenance gardeners. They also provide year-round interest with their foliage, adding texture and color to your garden throughout the growing season.

Lastly, perennials are cost-effective. They return every year, eliminating the need to purchase new plants annually, saving you money in the long run.

Budget-Friendly Perennials to Plant

At Liberty Landscape, our expert Nathan Amor suggests planting a variety of perennials for an ever-changing display of colors and textures throughout the year. Some budget-friendly perennials to consider for your backyard are:

  • Black-eyed Susans: These flowers are not only easy to grow but also produce a bright, golden color that can liven up your garden.
  • Daylilies: Daylilies are very hardy and require minimal care. They come in a wide range of colors, adding a vibrant touch to your garden.
  • Lavender: Known for its soothing fragrance, lavender is drought-resistant and attracts pollinators to your garden.
  • Coneflowers: These are easy to care for and attract butterflies to your garden, adding life and movement to your yard.

How to Care for Perennials

Taking care of perennials is relatively straightforward. Here are some tips from us at Liberty Landscape:

  • Proper Planting: Ensure that you plant your perennials in appropriate locations based on their sunlight and soil needs. Some perennials thrive in full sun, while others prefer shade.
  • Appropriate Spacing: Avoid overcrowding by ensuring you space your plants appropriately. This will promote healthier, more robust growth.
  • Regular Watering: While most perennials are drought-tolerant, they still need regular watering, particularly during dry spells.
  • Yearly Pruning: Cut back your perennials in late fall or early spring to encourage fresh growth.

Incorporating perennials in your garden is a fantastic way to add variety and color while sticking to your budget. It’s all about working smarter, not harder, when it comes to backyard landscaping ideas on a budget. A well-thought-out landscape plan can make maintenance more manageable and enjoyable.

In the next section, we’ll discuss how improving the edging around your patio can enhance the overall appeal of your backyard.

3. Improve Edging Around Your Patio

Sprucing up the edging around your patio can make a significant impact on the overall aesthetics of your backyard. It provides a clean, well-defined boundary that separates your patio from the rest of your garden. Moreover, it can prevent weeds and grass from encroaching on your patio, making maintenance easier.

The Importance of Patio Edging

Edging your patio adds structure and neatness to your outdoor space. It creates a clear transition between different areas in your backyard, making your landscaping look more organized. Besides functionality, edging can also enhance the visual appeal. It provides an opportunity to add a touch of your personal style, whether it be rustic, modern, or anywhere in between.

A Budget-Friendly Guide to Improve Patio Edging

Creating or improving patio edging doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here’s a simple, budget-friendly guide you can follow:

  1. Choose your material: Pavers, stones, bricks, or even wood can be used for edging. Opt for inexpensive or recycled materials to keep costs low. You can find affordable options at local home improvement stores or even at garage sales.
  2. Prepare the area: Clear the area where you plan to install the edging. This may involve removing grass, weeds, or old edging.
  3. Install the edging: Lay out your materials along the edge of your patio. Use a rubber mallet to tap them into place. Be sure to keep the edging level for a uniform appearance.
  4. Finish off: Once the edging is installed, backfill the area with soil or mulch. This will keep the edging secure and create a clean, finished look.

Choosing the Right Edging Material

The choice of edging material largely depends on your personal preference and the style of your backyard. For a rustic charm, natural stones or bricks can be a great choice.

For a sleek and modern look, consider using pavers or metal edging. The key is to choose a material that complements the design of your patio and the overall theme of your backyard.

At Liberty Landscape, we believe that with a bit of creativity and some elbow grease, you can transform your backyard into a beautiful oasis, even on a budget. So, don’t hesitate to experiment with different materials and styles until you find the perfect match for your backyard.

4. Grow Native Plants

When it comes to backyard landscaping ideas on a budget, one of the most effective and sustainable choices is to grow native plants. Native plants are the green thumbs-up for many reasons. Not only do they add a unique, local touch to your landscape, but they also come with a host of benefits that can save you time, money, and resources in the long run.

Why Native Plants?

These plants are well-adapted to local climatic conditions and soil types, meaning they require less maintenance. This can save you time and money on irrigation, fertilizers, and other maintenance tasks. Furthermore, native plants support local wildlife, including pollinators like bees, butterflies, and birds.

They provide a habitat for these creatures, contributing to a healthier local ecosystem. Plus, native plants can add biodiversity to your backyard, creating a more dynamic and interesting outdoor space. They can also help control erosion, particularly in sloped yards or areas prone to heavy rainfall.

Native Plants for Kansas City

At Liberty Landscape, we have a deep knowledge of the native plants suitable for the Kansas City region. Geraniums, for instance, are a colorful and drought-tolerant choice that can withstand the heat of summer, even with little water. Hostas are versatile and easy to grow, tolerating various light conditions and offering a range of colors.

Sedums are perfect for rock gardens and planters, requiring very little care once planted. Coralbells are great for attracting pollinators and thrive in various light conditions. Finally, Weigela is a maintenance-free shrub that is attractive to wildlife and thrives in sun or part sun.

Caring for Native Plants

While native plants are generally easier to care for due to their adaptation to local conditions, they still need some attention. As mentioned in a Reddit post, overwatering can kill more plants than underwatering.

Most plants should be watered once a week, but this can vary depending on the type of plant, its size, and its sunlight exposure. At Liberty Landscape, we are experienced in understanding the specific needs of a wide variety of plants and can guide you to ensure your garden thrives.

Native Plants - backyard landscaping ideas on a budget

In conclusion, growing native plants is a foolproof and budget-friendly way to upgrade your backyard. Not only will you be contributing to the local ecosystem, but you will also be creating a beautiful, low-maintenance outdoor space to enjoy year-round. So why not think local for your next backyard makeover?

5. Incorporate Xeriscaping Elements

A smart, sustainable, and budget-friendly approach to landscaping is xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is a landscaping method that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation. This practice is not only eco-friendly, but can also save you money on water bills and reduce maintenance needs.

What is Xeriscaping and Its Benefits

Xeriscaping is all about choosing plants that thrive in your local climate, mainly native or drought-resistant plants. This approach significantly reduces the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides.

It’s a win-win situation where you get a beautiful backyard while conserving water and promoting local biodiversity.

How to Incorporate Xeriscaping in Your Backyard

1. Evaluate Your Yard: Identify the sunniest and shadiest areas, the slope of your land, and soil type. This information will guide your plant selection and placement.

2. Plan Your Landscape: Sketch your backyard, marking areas for plants, pathways, and any hardscaping elements. Remember to consider mature plant sizes to avoid overcrowding.

3. Select Suitable Plants: Choose native and drought-resistant plants. Our expert, Nathan Amor, at Liberty Landscape recommends plants like Blue Grama Grass, Feather Reed Grass, and Russian Sage for Kansas City yards.

4. Improve Soil: Healthy soil promotes better water absorption and retention. Add compost to improve soil health.

5. Mulch Around Plants: Mulch reduces evaporation, keeps the soil cool, and inhibits weed growth.

6. Efficient Watering: Water deeply but infrequently to encourage deep root growth which makes plants more drought tolerant.

7. Regular Maintenance: Even though xeriscaping requires less maintenance, you still need to weed, prune, and check for pests regularly.

Tips on Maintaining a Xeriscaped Backyard

Regular maintenance of a xeriscaped backyard is relatively easy. Remove any weeds that appear, as they compete with your xeriscape plants for water. Prune plants as needed to maintain their health and appearance. Also, top up mulch annually to continue reaping its benefits.

Incorporating xeriscaping into your backyard might require an initial investment of time and labor, but the long-term savings and benefits are well worth it.

Not only will you have a unique, low-maintenance backyard, but you’ll also be contributing to a more sustainable and eco-friendly environment. As we always say at Liberty Landscape, a well-thought-out and cared-for landscape is the first step towards a beautiful and sustainable outdoor space.

6. DIY Deck or Patio

A deck or patio can be a game-changer for your backyard, creating an inviting space for relaxation and socialization. It’s like adding an extra room to your home, but with the added bonus of fresh air and a view.

Plus, it can significantly increase the value of your property. But how do you add this feature without breaking the bank? We’re here to guide you through the process.

Deck or Patio: A DIY Project

Building a deck or patio might seem daunting, but with some planning, it can be a rewarding DIY project. One cost-effective way, as suggested in our backyard patio ideas, is to use gravel as your base. It’s an affordable material that offers excellent drainage. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Plan Your Space: Measure your backyard and decide where to place your deck or patio. Consider the sunlight, shade, and proximity to your house.
  2. Prepare the Ground: Clear the area of grass and level it. You might need to rent a sod cutter for this job.
  3. Lay the Foundation: Lay a layer of landscape fabric to prevent weed growth, followed by a layer of gravel for drainage.
  4. Install Border: Install a border around your deck or patio area to keep the gravel in place.
  5. Add the Surface: For a patio, you could lay down pavers on top of the gravel. For a deck, you’d construct a wooden platform.

It’s essential to check local regulations or homeowner’s association rules before starting any construction.

Maintaining Your Deck or Patio

Once your deck or patio is in place, regular maintenance will ensure it stays in good shape for years to come. For wooden decks, consider sealing the wood to protect it from the elements.

Regular sweeping and occasional washing will keep both decks and patios clean and inviting.

As Nathan Amor from Liberty Landscape explains, “A well-maintained deck or patio not only looks great but also lasts longer. It’s a worthwhile investment in your backyard.”

In conclusion, a DIY deck or patio is a feasible and cost-effective addition to your backyard landscaping ideas on a budget. It not only enhances your outdoor space but also provides a place for you to enjoy the beauty of your backyard.

7. Create a Stone Path

Just as a DIY deck or patio adds character to your backyard, a stone path can do the same. Stone paths are not just functional, but they also add a quaint charm to your outdoor space.

They direct foot traffic, protect your grass, and can make your yard appear larger. The best part? You can create a beautiful stone path without breaking the bank.

Step-by-step guide on how to create a stone path on a budget

  1. Plan the path: Sketch your yard and decide where you want the path to go. A winding path can add a whimsical feel, while a straight path gives a formal look.
  2. Choose the stones: You don’t need to buy expensive stones for this project. Use leftovers from your local landscaping supply store. Even better, consider using common landscaping materials in unique ways. This is not only cost-effective but also gives your path a personalized touch.
  3. Prepare the ground: Dig a trench about six inches deep along the path. Fill the bottom with a layer of crushed stone or sand for drainage.
  4. Lay the stones: Place the stones on the sand or crushed stone layer. You can create a pattern with different colored stones for added appeal.
  5. Fill the gaps: Fill the gaps between stones with sand or soil. If you use soil, you can plant low-growing groundcovers for a soft, natural look.
  6. Final touches: Tamp down the path with a hand tamper and fill any remaining gaps.

Tips on maintaining a stone path

Maintaining your stone path is fairly straightforward. Regular sweeping will keep it clear of debris. If stones become displaced, simply reset them. Should weeds sprout between the stones, pull them out or consider using a weed preventer. If necessary, refresh the path by adding new soil or sand between the stones.

In conclusion, a stone path is a simple, budget-friendly addition to your backyard. It not only adds functionality but also enhances the aesthetic appeal of your backyard. At Liberty Landscape, we’re always ready to assist you in creating your dream outdoor space, even on a budget.

8. Construct a Tree Bench

A tree bench is more than just a place to sit. It’s a unique feature that adds charm and functionality to your backyard. The great thing about a tree bench is that it utilizes existing elements in your landscape – trees!

Besides providing a comfy spot to relax, it also enhances the beauty of the tree around which it’s built. Now, let’s delve into the budget-friendly process of constructing a tree bench.

Step-by-Step Guide to Construct a Tree Bench on a Budget

  1. Choose the Right Tree: The first step is to select a healthy, mature tree with enough space around it. The tree’s girth should also be considered as it determines the size of the bench.
  2. Gather Materials: You’ll need weather-resistant lumber, galvanized screws, a saw, a drill, and a measuring tape. Buy materials that align with your budget but ensure they’re of good quality for durability.
  3. Measure and Cut: Measure the circumference of the tree and then cut your lumber to create the bench frame. Ensure the pieces fit snugly around the tree.
  4. Assemble the Bench: Screw the pieces together to form a hexagonal or octagonal frame. Make sure it’s level and stable.
  5. Add Seating: Cut more lumber to create the bench seats. Secure these onto the frame with screws.
  6. Finish It Off: To protect the wood and increase its lifespan, apply a coat of weather-resistant paint or sealant.

Safety first! Always wear protective gear when handling tools. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable doing this project yourself, we at Liberty Landscape would be thrilled to assist.

Maintaining Your Tree Bench

Once your tree bench is ready, upkeep is crucial to ensure it lasts. Regularly clean off dirt and debris to prevent rot. Check and tighten screws periodically to ensure stability. Lastly, reapply sealant or paint as needed to protect the wood from weather elements.

In conclusion, a tree bench is one of those backyard landscaping ideas on a budget that combines functionality, aesthetics, and the love for nature. It’s a charming addition that transforms your backyard into a tranquil retreat. At Liberty Landscape, we’re all about creating beautiful, budget-friendly outdoor spaces that you’ll love.

9. Set Up a Trellis

A trellis is a versatile and stylish addition to any backyard. It not only adds visual interest but also provides support for climbing plants. Setting up a trellis is one of the backyard landscaping ideas on a budget that can instantly enhance the charm of your outdoor space.

Benefits of Having a Trellis

A trellis offers a multitude of benefits. It serves as a sturdy structure for plants like roses, ivy, or grapevines to climb on, giving your backyard a natural and lush look.

It can also be used as a privacy screen or a decorative element. Plus, it maximizes your gardening space as it allows you to grow plants vertically.

Setting Up a Trellis on a Budget

  1. Choose the Right Material: You can make a trellis from a variety of inexpensive materials such as bamboo, wood, or even PVC pipes. Choose a material that suits the style of your backyard and is durable enough to withstand outdoor conditions.
  2. Design and Size: Sketch out a design that fits your space and meets your needs. This could be a simple grid pattern or a more complex design. Make sure the size of the trellis is appropriate for the plants you plan to grow on it.
  3. Construction: Start by cutting your chosen material into the desired lengths. Next, assemble these pieces into your chosen design using screws, nails, or strong twine. Make sure the structure is sturdy and secure.
  4. Installation: Install your trellis by firmly planting it into the ground. If it’s against a wall, ensure it’s properly anchored. Finally, guide your plants to start climbing the trellis.

Maintaining a Trellis

A well-maintained trellis can last for years. Regularly check the trellis for any signs of wear or damage. If it’s made of wood, consider applying a weather-resistant stain or paint to prolong its life. Also, keep an eye on your climbing plants. Prune them regularly to ensure they don’t overgrow and weigh down the structure.

A trellis, when well-integrated into your backyard design, can make a significant impact without costing much. It’s a clear example of how we at Liberty Landscape can help you implement stylish, functional, and budget-friendly backyard landscaping ideas.

10. Use a Stock Tank Pool

A stock tank pool is the perfect solution for those hot summer days when all you want to do is lounge by the water. Traditionally used as water troughs for livestock, these galvanized steel or plastic tanks make for a unique and budget-friendly backyard pool.

The Benefits of a Stock Tank Pool

Stock tank pools are not only affordable but also versatile and easy to install. They are compact, making them perfect for smaller yards, and their rustic look can add a charming touch to your backyard decor. Another advantage is their durability. Unlike inflatable pools, stock tank pools are made to withstand the elements and can last for years with proper maintenance.

How to Set Up a Stock Tank Pool on a Budget

Setting up a stock tank pool in your backyard is a relatively straightforward process. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose the right spot: Find a level area in your backyard that gets a good amount of sun. Remember to check local regulations about pool placement.
  2. Buy a stock tank: You can find these at farm supply stores or online. Sizes typically range from 6 to 10 feet in diameter.
  3. Prepare the area: Clear the ground of sharp objects that could damage the pool. Consider laying a tarp or sand base for added protection.
  4. Install a pump and filter: This will help keep the water clean. You can find affordable pool pump and filter combos online.
  5. Fill the pool: Use a garden hose to fill the pool. Make sure to treat the water with chlorine or other sanitizers to keep it safe for swimming.

Maintaining Your Stock Tank Pool

Maintenance is key to prolonging the lifespan of your stock tank pool. Regularly check the water quality and add sanitizing chemicals as needed. Clean the filter regularly to ensure it works efficiently.

In the colder months, drain the pool and store it in a dry place to prevent damage from freezing temperatures.

With a stock tank pool, you can create a refreshing oasis in your backyard without breaking the bank. It’s just one of the many backyard landscaping ideas on a budget that we at Liberty Landscape can help you implement to transform your outdoor space into a place of relaxation and enjoyment.


We’ve walked you through 10 foolproof ways to upgrade your backyard on a budget. We’ve covered everything from freshening up mulch beds, planting perennials, improving patio edging, and growing native plants, to incorporating xeriscaping elements, building a DIY deck or patio, creating a stone path, constructing a tree bench, setting up a trellis, and lastly, setting up a stock tank pool as a budget-friendly alternative to traditional pools.

Each of these ideas provides a cost-effective way to enhance your backyard, making it not just visually appealing, but also a functional space for relaxation and entertainment. The beauty of these backyard landscaping ideas on a budget is that they offer flexibility and can be tailored to your specific preferences and needs.

Now, it’s your turn to get started. The goal is not to do everything at once but to make gradual improvements that will eventually transform your backyard into the haven you desire. Don’t be afraid to get creative and bring your unique style to the spaces you create.

At Liberty Landscape, we believe that a well-landscaped backyard is more than just a visually pleasing space. It’s an extension of your home where memories are made, a sanctuary where you can relax and unwind, and a testament to your personal style and care for the environment.

Our team of experts at Liberty Landscape is always ready to provide guidance and support in making your dream outdoor living space a reality, even on a budget. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for more information and personalized advice.

A beautiful and sustainable outdoor space is within your reach, even on a budget. Start planning your backyard makeover today, and soon, you’ll have an outdoor space you can be truly proud of.