8 Ways to Refresh Your Garden Without Breaking the Bank

Give your garden a much-needed makeover with easy, effective tips that won’t ruin your budget.


Big, outdoor projects can add up to big bucks: a lovely gunite-lined swimming pool for doing laps can mean $50,000, and turn-key or finished work on such projects can even get up to $100,000, says Jarod Halsted, owner of Harmony Hill Landscaping in Fishkill. But there are more affordable ways to add enjoyment to your site through color, texture, and height, to name a few. Here are eight that Halsted suggests, ranging between $800 and $1,000, depending on specific materials and labor:


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Small recirculating fountains provide soothing sounds in a patio area; you can mount them on a wall or the ground.

Wood or stone planters add accent color in key areas once filled with flowers, vegetables, herbs, or a combination.

A living wall adds visual interest, and can be used to grow herbs vertically rather than in the ground (good for those with bad backs). Halsted considers it an idea that’s used too infrequently.

Perennial plantings are “a good investment since they return every year and can provide color throughout the season,” Halsted says, especially versus annuals that need to be replanted annually. Perennials such as phlox, coneflower, and coreopsis will also encourage butterflies into a landscape.

Texture and fragrance in the form of trellises embellished with vines make for a nice addition to a landscape. Vine choices such as honeysuckle and morning glory also attract hummingbirds.

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Ornamental trees and shrubs are nice ways to enhance visual interest near a sitting area and can also bring fragrance into a garden. Good choices for the Hudson Valley climate include crabapples, viburnum, and summersweet.

Stepping stones underfoot improve a journey and can lead to a pleasant, quiet destination such as wood or stone bench in a shaded garden. A charming outdoor sculpture can add more delight.

Landscape lighting, even if just a few lights in an entertaining area, can extend patio use into the evening. The lighting can also be placed along paths to make the way safer. The best choices are LED lights that are energy efficient and don’t have to be replaced often. Nowadays, they come in all sorts of materials and even whimsical shapes.

Related: This Hand-Built Woodstock House Has Norwegian Roots

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