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Landscaping = $$$

We are always trying to find less expensive ways to "pretty up" our house and landscaping is no exception. But I am always surprised how quickly the prices of plants add up. Every spring I fill my cart with beautiful plants at our local nursery and then am stunned that I ended up spending a couple hundred dollars when it is all rung up.

Since we have a lot of area to cover this year, I have been searching for more cost effective ways to fill the areas with plants and actually make it look nice. At our old house we ordered a pre-planned garden from Bluestone Perennials which was perfect for our space and inexpensive (although it might have grown better if I did not plant a garden that needs full sun under a tree...let's just say that was a learning experience). So I have been getting their catalog ever since. I spent hours poring over pages in the middle of winter and drooling over all the gorgeous choices. My catalog had more post-its than pages. But I quickly learned that there is a huge difference between finding plant you like to look at and actually planning a landscape.

So I needed help.....but in the DIY spirit was going to research and do it myself. I spent a couple of hours at the book store poring over books and magazines(and actually bought a couple). I then gathered all my materials and sat down to devise a plan.
We have four areas of landscaping on the to-do list this year: a small strip on the side yard that currently is holding dead stumps, the fruit/vegetable garden, front landscaping on left side of house to hide the sexy foundation, and along the back fence. The first two areas we are using mostly seeds that have already been started. Since all my flower seeds needed to be planted about 12 inches apart, my plan was very easy to put together.

I used GrowVeg for my vegetable garden which also made that super easy (I will post those plans later).

Then came the more difficult areas. The front area was difficult because it was in full shade. The back area was difficult because it is so....big. Since my new books gave me so much landscape knowledge I knew we needed a color scheme. In the front all the flowers will be white. In the back, most of the plants will be hot pink and yellow with a couple pops of white.

So this is how I attacked it. I went through my catalogs page by page and copied and pasted plant pics and descriptors from their website into a word document. If I like a plant I copied and pasted, keeping in mind my colors, and the need for differing plant heights and foliage. I had one document for my full shade area and one document for full/partial sun. After that I made a table with names, color, height, planting distance and price. Then came the fun part....I plotted the areas on graph paper and started drawing in plants from my table. I mixed up my colors and put taller plants in the back. The plants that were on sale suddenly were more beautiful than the others that were full price. If the plant only needed 12 inches between them, they got a small circle and it grew from there. After spending hours going through the planning steps here are my masterpieces:

I then ordered all the plants and they totaled out to $300 which is awesome for 70 plants/shrubs and shipping. But this brings up another problem....I am not very patient. So it is going to be very difficult to wait for my plants to ship since we still are not past our last frost date here. Also it be difficult because I will want it to look full and lush the first year but all the plants will be small. So when I go the nursery I will have to leave my purse in the car to stop buying more plants to fill in. Yeah Spring!
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