Landscaping Tips: Building a Community Through Flora, Fertilization and Frugality

When our family moved in to a brand new neighborhood, all of the neighbors were planning their landscaping designs, getting suggestions and tips from each other, and helping each other find the best deals to save money on their landscaping efforts. Being a new father, it was especially important for me to plan well. During my early childhood, I remember certain landscaping features that I always wanted incorporated in my own yard as an adult. I never forgot those things, however I didn’t have the large budgets that my dual income neighbors did. Luckily, the fever caught on in the neighborhood to help each other and save, plan, and create lovely yards for our children to enjoy playing in.

First Steps

So as a community, we worked together. We talked to each other to see where we had overlapping desires and shopped around for deals. We put together lists of the landscaping features, such as river rocks or mulch, trees, bushes, paver stones and flag stones. We also figured out who was pouring cement walkways or building decks, and proceeded to split up the work. It was very much a divide and conquer effort! Each of us took one of the categories and began shopping around. We reached out to garden centers, tree farms, landscaping companies and rock quarries. We negotiated as a community to obtain larger discounts, and it amazed us that we were able to get the discounts we did. Of course though, when you buy in bulk with a single delivery location, local companies are always willing to work to win the business.

Hard Work = Strong Bonds

We had all the river rock and mulch dropped in front of one home, all the bushes in front of another, while the trees and paver stones also went in front of other neighbors’ homes. We each then used wheel barrels to move the items we needed to our own yards. Though this effort was a lot of hard work, it also helped bond the families in to a true community, as we were working together to get our homes and yards set up. We made friends, saved money, and all took part in finishing our neighborhood.

Meager Beginnings Can Be Good For The Long Haul

However, looking back at the neighborhood now, I can see that some of us planned better than others for a more mature landscape. Not able to buy too much myself, my yard looks more meager than many those first few years. I couldn’t buy the largest trees, nor could I buy too many. However, now that it has been about eight years and all the plants and trees are filling out and maturing, I must say my meager beginnings played out well for the long haul. My trees are growing well, with a lot of space to spread out as they naturally would. I have no crowding and won’t need to think about thinning out the growth. Some of my neighbors had beautiful yards in the beginning that I envied, but today their yards look so overcrowded that they appear unattractive. Without thinning out their plants, they won’t have much longer before things die off with no space, or begin to damage fences or structures.

Use Good Judgment

Also, make sure that you are being smart about the type of trees you plant and where you plant them. One of our neighbors planted two cottonwoods close to their house and fence. Cottonwoods are fast growing, large trees with soft wood. During a couple heavy storms, those cottonwoods caused damage to both their fence and roof. Understanding what you are buying and where you are planting will help save money in the long run and can help create your home and yard oasis.