|We recently puchased a new home and need to landscape the front and back yards. Our funds are limited so what is the least expensive way to go? Neither one of us have landscaping experience but can't afford to hire it out. Can you help in that area also?|
|For right now, I'd suggest measuring both front and back yards and, using graph paper, sketch it out. Then play around with possible places for flower beds, tree and shrub placement and size and shape of any lawn you want to install. Once you have a rough sketch and some idea of whether the areas are sunny or shady, you can visit public gardens and nurseries and jot down the names of the plants you really like. Make notes of their mature sizes and sketch them out onto your rough plan.
Many perennial gardens are created over time by trial and error, but a good way to learn is by visiting public gardens, nursery display gardens, and the gardens of friends and neighbors. Gardening friends can also be a great source of plants that grow well locally -- perennials need division from time to time and this process results in "free plants" to share. You might get some great tips from gardening books in the Dummies series (lanscaping, general gardening, perennials, for instance). A book by New England gardener Elsa Bakalar called "A Garden of One's Own: Making and Keeping a Flower Garden" published by William Morrow in 1994 is also a good resource. If your library doesn't have these, there are inexpensive used copies available from online bookstores such as Amazon.com. Your local county cooperative extension may have publications and possibly classes as well as Master Gardener programs where you could find free help with your planning and learn gardening skills. Learning to propagate your own plants from seed, cutting or division is fun and also a huge money saver.
Hope this provides some guidance. Best wishes with your new landscape.