Chart a New Path
Step aside, stepping stones! For a new and unexpected take on the garden path, try building one out of materials you can get for free. All it takes to create this no-fuss wooden walkway is to dig a shallow trench in the earth, then embed salvaged pallet wood planks into the dirt in a curved arrangement. If an individual board should rot, simply pop it out and replace!
Related: 7 Thrifty Designs for a DIY Walkway
Live on the Edge
With all the rustic allure of wicker, this woven garden border lends a handmade finish to your humble garden. Recreate this cheap landscaping idea at home by setting bamboo posts in the dirt 12 to 18 inches apart, then interleaving raspberry canes through the posts to achieve a whimsical woven pattern. For a professional look, finish the project by lightly hammering the tops of the bamboo supports until level with one another.
Divide and Conquer
Dividing clump-forming perennials like Chrysanthemums and asters is the best way to gain additional plants while preventing the problems that come with tightly clustered plants, namely stunted growth, pest infestation, and fungal disease. The process entails digging up the clump of the perennial, lifting it from the dirt, separating the crowns where the stem and root meet, then replanting the plant divisions in the dirt. Tackle this project between spring and fall, when the plant isn't flowering, to maintain a healthy garden.
Much Ado About Mulch
There are lots of reasons why it's a good idea to add a ring of mulch around a young tree. Mulch insulates the soil from extreme heat and cold, retains moisture, prevents weeds from growing around the tree, and keeps roots from poking through the surface where they could pose tripping and mowing hazards. What's more, you might be able to get mulch for free. Many towns offer free mulch to residents, so you can cross this cheap landscaping idea off your summer to-do list without making a dent in your wallet.
Related: 7 Weirdly Effective Ways to Weed
Bark Up the Right Tree
Whether a tree has been chopped down or felled by a storm, you might be left stumped about what to do with the remains of that ill-fated tree. Know that expensive or time-consuming stump removal isn't the only solution to the problem. Taking inspiration from this unconventional garden, you can repurpose a neglected tree stump into a one-of-a-kind planter. As long as rot hasn't set in, you can hollow out the center of the stump with a jigsaw and a chisel, fill the hollow core with soil, then drop in your favorite blooms to create all-natural flair for the yard.
Spill the Style Secret
There's no need to clean up after this spilled trash can in the garden—it's by design! You can recreate the beautiful "oops" moment at home by laying a metal bucket on its side, then anchoring it by adding soil or rocks on the inside, and planting a thick clump of flowers right next to the can for a landscaping illusion.
Related: 10 Foolproof Flowers Anyone Can Grow
Bloom Where You're Planted
Ten minutes with a trowel can turn even a purely functional element such as a mailbox into an extension of your landscape. The turf at the base of this ordinary metal mailbox was cut away to create a small garden bed, which was then filled with flowers for a colorful boost in curb appeal.
Put Down Roots
While it can take years for a sapling to mature into an established tree, you can plant a tree in an afternoon. The key is to wait until the end of the season to buy and plant a tree, when there are deep discounts to be had at nurseries. The small investment on a tree today can pay for itself many times over in the future in the form of reduced energy costs and higher property values.
Make a Splash
Why splurge on a pricey store-bought garden fountain when you can DIY this beauty for a bargain with a few garden essentials already lying around the yard. Comprising a stack of two plant pots kept in place with a cinder block, this fountain flows thanks to a vinyl tube attached to a submersible pump inside the lower pot. Large rocks and pea gravel resting inside the pots give the garden accent a tranquil touch.
Put Gardening Woes to Bed
Raised garden beds are the perfect solution for a yard frequently plagued by pests or weeds. This cheap landscaping idea comes together in less than a day with wooden boards and a handful of screws. The deep and wide basin offers plenty of room to grow a thriving edible garden full of your favorite seasonal vegetables. Meanwhile, the ledge at the top of the bed adds a little flourish to the garden while acting as a barrier to backyard wildlife.
It doesn't need to take any longer than a day to transform a drab yard. Give these DIYs a try on your next free day.
Whether you're a lawn care novice or a master gardener, everyone can use a little help around the yard. Subscribe to The Dirt newsletter for tips, recommendations, and problem-solving tools that can help you tame your great outdoors.