Landscaping on a Budget
Money doesn't grow on trees, but it sure does cost money to buy those trees. When you are working with a limited budget you can always take these steps to keep your cost in check.
A little planning goes a long way
Start by choosing areas you want to keep as garden beds. Remove any weeds by tilling/pulling and cover with a healthy bed of mulch. Four to five inches thick will keep weeds at a minimum. You can obtain tons of free mulch at the local compost site. Call the city for details.
For stepping stones, or a mosaic walkway, contact a concrete contractor and tell them you are interested in the broken remains of concrete sidewalks or driveways they remove. They will be happy to let you take some, as they have to pay for the removal. Arrange the concrete pieces as you like and dig them in, smooth side up, flush with the ground. Then buy a gallon of concrete stain from a home remodel center and stain the part of concrete that is showing. For a more natural look, get two similar terracotta colors and brush randomly on each stone.
A great ground cover for walkway areas is creeping phlox. This plant can be easily divided, so you can start with one plant, and in a year or two, you will have more than enough. For free perennials, check online for a plant exchange group in your area. For low cost bushes and plants, wait until the greenhouses in your area are closing for the season. Shop several of them on a daily basis. You can pick up plants/bushes for as little as $1 each toward the end. Arrange the perennials in your planting bed as you like.