Landscaping can make or break the curb appeal of any house, so it’s important to do it right even if you don’t have a lot of money to spend.

The key is to use perennials – plants that come back year-after-year – that are hearty and in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors for both sun and shade because yards are rarely all of one or the other.

1. Define the garden using larger rocks you can find in a variety of locations while you walk around town and your neighborhood. Collecting rocks is free (!) instead of potentially budget-busting purchases like bricks and plastic tubing.

2. Pay attention to how the sun moves shadows around your yard throughout the day so you can plan your plants accordingly. Hostas and day lilies are great for areas that get dappled or limited sunlight but daisies and flowering bushes like peonies need six to eight hours of sun each day.

3. If you have neighbors or family with lush gardens, ask them when they’re going to split some of their plants so you can transplant them into your own yard. More experienced gardeners are usually willing to give advice as well as plants.

4. If you have to rely on garden centers for plants, buy plants toward the end of the summer season. Not only will they be larger and more established, they’ll also be on sale. Remember that plants grow so pay attention to the detail label included with your plants that tells you how far apart plants need to be.

5. Start a compost pile and visit local sites that offer free top soil (usually near produce fields and construction sites). You won’t be able to use your compost until next year, but having some of your own means you aren’t buying bags of it, and you’re reducing the amount of waste at the landfill. The Blissfully Domestic blog shows you how to do it with a plastic storage bin.

How’s your garden doing? Tell us in the comments!

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