Charming Seating Area with this Budget Front Yard Makeover.
I am all about gardening on a budget. With the amount of garden beds that I have, (8 and counting!) I have to be. I had a neglected Pine tree garden that was in dire need of a make over and I wanted to make it into a charming seating area. I managed to accomplish this budget front yard make over with just a small outlay of cash. I ended up spending less than $80 and half of that was bought last year (and that cost included the edging for the garden bed!) The area is a garden bed at the base of a huge pine tree in my front yard that is an eyesore. The tree drops needles that add a lot of nitrogen to the soil, so what I can grow there is limited. It also has a lot of lawn area around it that made it messy on the edges. What to do with it? I love seating areas in or near my garden beds, so that I can enjoy them, and this tree gives a lot of shade which makes it great for sitting outside in the summer time, so I decided to make a nice seating area out of it. It also over looks two very pretty garden beds and I thought it would be a great place to have breakfast ( or brunch for me. I am never hungry early.)This bed was a tangled mass of leaves and was very unkempt. The first job was to clean it out so that I could actually see the earth and what I have to work with. Not a lot really. A few half decent azalea bushes and some small ones that never did much. I had to tackle the weeds and clean it up a bit, to see what sort of area I had to start. I knew the soil was not up to much so I went to Home Depot and purchased three big bags of mushroom compostto enrich the soil. (affiliate link)They were half price because the bags were partly opened. (a great way to get them cheaply) Grand total for this was all of $2.50! I had two bright blue Adirondack chairs that I purchase last year when prices were reduced. Another 1/2 price buy that cost me $13.99 for both chairs. They are only plastic chairs but reasonably sturdy and gave me something to use as the basis of my seating area. I know they were a bargain and you may not be able to repeat this price, but how about building your own Adirondack chairs and using scrap lumber? Amazon has a set of plans for Adirondack chairs for less than $9! (affiliate link)The garden bed under the tree sits on a slope, and the chairs could not be used there, so I used a garden hose to draw out and area to enclose the covered the grass with some left over landscape cloth and then added mulch that I had on hand to the top of the whole area. It is beginning to show promise now! I did not want the grass to grow into the border, so I had to put in some edging next. I used Vigaro edging that comes in two foot lengths and is pretty easy to install IF you have soil that can be dug. The strips are only $1.36 each so this was pretty inexpensive and will make sure the bed looks great all the time. About $35 did the whole border But anyone who has ever tried to dig around a pine tree knows what kind of roots there are there. Out came my axe and shovel. It took me about 7-8 hours of digging and cutting off tree roots to get the edging in place! I now had the basis of a seating area. I had a small black iron table out in my shed that was not being used, my two chairs, purchased last year, my cleaned out garden bed that needs some plants, and now I also needed to add something to make it more comfortable and pretty on the eyes. Home Depot had a sale on dianthus plants. $7.92 for 24 plants! They flower all summer long and will look great with the azalea blossoms. Or grow your own from seeds. Dianthus is very easy to grow and you will get dozens of plants from one $1.99 package. Imagine my delight when one of my sponsors, Pillow Perfect, offered me two outdoor pillows that, as luck would have it matched the colors in my chairs beautifully! (affiliate link) These outdoor throw pillows are superbly crafted and feature a vibrant paisley pattern in bold hues that are a perfect match for this spot in my garden. The site has a wonderful array of all sorts of garden pillows. Be sure to visit Pillow Perfect to see their whole range of outdoor pillows. Perhaps there is one that will be perfect for your garden space.(affiliate link)The pillows are a great size: 18.5 inches. (If you have ever sat in an Adirondack chair, you know that they are comfy but kind of hard to get out of!) The pillows add good support to the back leaning design of the chair and look wonderful. They are also Fade Resistant, UV Protection, and Weather Resistant. Perfect for my spot! Now came a shopping trip. I knew that the single most trying part of the whole area for me was going to be finding a ceramic pot for the table that would match the colors of the chair and pillow, but not cost me an arm and a leg. And I wanted to make sure that this would be a budget make over. Ceramic pots are very expensive here – $30, $40 and up and I just did not want to spend that sort of cash. But I wanted to add an accent to the setting that would make it look inviting and homey. I went to Lowe’s, Home Depot, The Dollar store (no luck unfortunately), and Target with no luck. Finally, I thought of my favorite mark down place for neat stuff – TJ Maxx. I ended up with a neat Mexican ceramic pot in vibrant colors that match my decor for $14.99. I added some more plants to this. Another vinca, a red Gerbera daisy, (both easy to grow from seed) and a spider plant (from a cutting) make this a delight. The final touch for this planter is a butterfly pick that I got for my birthday. A few dianthus annuals and some lily plants that I had taken divisions of from other clumps in my garden added some softness to the pot. The dianthus are tiny right now but they will grow, and the day lilies are the re blooming type, so I’ll get lots of yellow from them over the summer. I also had two yard sale Shepherd’s hooks that I recently did a DIY make over project on. A big hanging spider plant (made from cuttings of another spider plant last year) went on the large one and that gave some height to the area and softened it up more. For the smaller one, I decided to hang a hummingbird feeder that my mother gave me last year. The red colors of the Shepherd’s hooks are sure to attract the hummers!Next came an old urn planter that was sitting in my back yard. I had one in a near by garden bed and it was a present from my mother for my birthday. Some of the local government maintenance men decided to trim the branches of my pine tree that were near the bed, last year, and dropped some of the heavy branches on it and broke a piece out of it. They replaced it for me for free and I planted the broken one in my back yard and so I now have two the same, and this one adds some extra oomph to the charming garden space. I added about $5 worth of plants that I got from back yard sellers on Craig’s List and some from cuttings and divisions and my urn was planted. (a dracena, geranium, vinca and some of the dianthus went in this planter.) The spider plant on the shepherd’s hook will team up well with some of the babies that are planted in the border. They don’t show now but they come back for me each year (surprising, since spider plants are tropical!) and look a lot like hostas all around the tree and are very pretty. The final touch was a strawberry planter that I had sitting on my deck last year. It is planted with a variety of succulents. This needs very little water, so I placed it in the sunniest part of the seating area. It is not doing much but has lots of yellow flowers in the summer time.The end result is a lovely place for me to have my brunch and admire my nearby garden beds and cost me less than $80 and half of that was on items that I purchased last year. Of course, I know that you won’t be able to completely duplicate my money saving ideas, but it is easy to overlook things that you already have. For my seating area, the chairs, the shepherd’s hook, the hummingbird feeder, the table, the strawberry planter, and the urn were all existing items not being used in other areas of my garden. On their own, the did not stand out. Put together, they make a charming seating area! I can’t get over how well these cushions look with the chairs and other items! This is how it looks with the whole garden bed: MONEY SAVING TIPS: Some ideas for saving money on plants and decor:
- Check out Craig’s list. Spring is the perfect time to get plants from back yard growers, often only 50c or $1 each
- Start seeds indoors in the winter months and you will have all the plants you need in the spring.
- Take cuttings from existing plants
- Divide plants in your garden that are outgrowing their garden space. You will get a lot of plants for free.
- Check out your local Dollar store. They have an area devoted to garden items in my local store. You can often get pots, wind chimes, and other garden decor items there. I even saw some hand painted stepping stones last year!
- My Local Home depot and Lowe’s have an area where they keep plants that need some TLC. You will need a bit of a green thumb on some, and some are beyond saving but be sure to check these plants. They are always sold with huge price reductions.
- Buy your mulch in bulk if you have more than just one garden bed. I can get a whole truck load of chocolate mulch for $20 and it will cover many of my beds. And my local city gives lighter colored mulch away for free. All you have to do it pick it up!
- Check out around your yard. What do you have that is not being used or could be recycled to use in some new way?
- Yard sales and local op shops have loads of things to add to garden settings and the prices are super cheap.
- And don’t forget to enter contests like this one. These pillows are worth $60 and one lucky reader will win a set of them to use in their charming garden setting!
Note: I received these pillows for free, in exchange for reviewing them in this blog post and running this contest. I only endorse items I believe will be of benefit to my readers. Looking for More Great Summer Garden Ideas?
Check these out:
Nemcsok Farms- Fantastic Foliage For Your Summer Garden
Drought Smart Plants- Early Morning in the Summer Garden
Sensible Gardening and Living- Touring The Garden in Mid Summer
The Gardening Cook – Budget Front Yard Make Over
Blooming Secrets- 4 Steps To Beautiful Window Boxes
Our Good Life – The Summer Secret to Enjoying Your Garden-Parties!
New House New Home- Creating Your Own Garden Style
An Eye For Detail- (It’s Almost) My Summer Garden
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."