Spring is melting into summer. This means you’re spending less time inside, and more time outside, soaking up the sun in your yard or garden. What you’re also soaking up, however, is the ambience… which may not be up to par for summer entertaining. Weeds are relentless, and your lawn chairs from 10 years ago just aren’t cutting it anymore. Landscaping and patio furniture can be outrageously expensive. That’s why we talked to five money-saving experts for their secret tips on saving cash for your yard makeover — from scoring cheap outdoor decor, plants, and more. Read on and prepare to transform your outdoor space on a dime.
For Furniture Discounts
Visit overstock sites, says Andrea Woroch, money-saving expert at AndreaWoroch.com. “The first place I always look for deals is on sites like Overstock.com, where they sell last year’s merchandise for a steal. I found a hanging patio umbrella, which usually retails for $183, for $110. And I found 12 solar lights, which retail for $52, for just $25. I also visit direct-to-consumer liquidity sites like Secondipity.com that sell returned and excess inventory from top brands. I actually found a $319 set of Hampton Bay outdoor chairs for $192— 40% off!”
To Add Plants for Pennies
Get seeds from unexpected places, says C.L. Fornari, author of The Cocktail Hour Garden (Buy from Amazon, $23.12). “Plants and flowers can run $3 to $6 each at garden stores, and placing a bunch to pretty up your landscape can add up! Instead, start your own from seeds. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s easy and costs next to nothing. First, visit your local library; many offer programs where they give seeds away for free — all you need is a library card. Then just poke some holes on the bottom of an old yogurt cup, fill it about 2″ deep with potting soil, then follow the directions on the seed packets!”
To Kill Weeds for Free
Use coffee grounds, suggests Lauren Winder Hoar, editor of CoffeeHex.com. “Save yourself the $15 for a bottle of weed killer and simply hang on to your used coffee grounds or check your local coffee shop to nab some for free. Coffee is allelopathic, which means it can inhibit the growth of plants around it, making it an effective, natural and free weed killer. Just rub old grounds onto any new weeds, making sure to use sparingly on areas of your yard that are close to other plants or flowers. The grounds also work great on weeds that pop up inside of cracks on the sidewalk or your driveway!”
For Decor Deals
Upcycle thrift store finds, recommends Melinda Myers, gardening expert and author of Small Space Gardening (Buy from Amazon, $16.87). “Lanterns, planters, and oversize baskets can transform a yard. But instead of buying these accents for $30 to $100 at home-goods stores, I swing by thrift stores and yard sales, where I always find various buckets and baskets for less than $1 each. Simply piercing a few drainage holes in the bottom of these decorative items transforms them into fabulous and functional plant containers.”
To Replace Tools on a Dime
Grab bargains at estate sales, says Kyle James, founder of Rather-Be-Shopping.com. “In the market for new tools? You’ll find a treasure trove of gardening shears, shovels, electric saws, and more — for a fraction of their original cost at estate sales. I recently found a $289 leaf blower for just $83 at one sale. Just give items a close look to ensure they’re sharp or have no sign of rust or fraying on the cord. To find estate sales near you, check out EstateSales.net.”
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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