Edible Landscaping Part 2: Landscaping the Frugal Way

If you missed last week’s post on Edible Landscaping for Beginners, make sure you go back and read it. It’s very informative! Thanks again, Marci, for sharing your knowledge with us!

I’m in the middle of a 4 year plan to put in edible landscaping around my house after the yard was torn up for a small addition to the tiny house. I’m stretching the time frame out to accommodate my limited finances, my limited time, my physical limits, and giving myself time to search for those freebies needed to make the yard a success.

The first spring I told friends and family that I was looking for starts, cuttings, seeds, etc. I scored strawberry runners, chives, a rhubarb root, walking onions, some iris, and some columbine flower seeds. All are perennial, or self-seeding in the case of the flowers, which is what I was looking for. I quickly threw together a flower bed along one side of the house with some leftover 2×6’s from construction, tossed some excavated dirt on it, and called it good. This was to be just a temporary keeping spot for the plants until construction was over. Luckily, all survived the winter and in their 2nd fall the rhubarb, strawberries and walking onions will all be moved to their permanent homes in my new fence line border perennial garden. .

I was always on the lookout for freebies and frugal finds that I knew would be needed later on for the garden and landscaping.

Finding Good, Inexpensive Soil

Luckily, I had great rich black top soil from the excavation for the addition. If you don’t have that available, look for neighbors or friends who are building. I met a lot of my new neighbors when they asked if they could have some of that dirt pile for their gardens. Look for ads in the paper for free delivery of excavated soil from construction areas.

Finding Cheap, Yet Good, Fertilizers

Free cow manure is overly available in Moo-Town where I live. Look for horse, goat, cow, chicken, rabbit, etc. in your area. Check the paper for free you-haul-it-away situations. Start your own compost piles – check books or the internet for great easy ways to do this. If you’ve got leaves and grass clippings, and kitchen scraps, you have a great start.

Finding Low Cost Landscaping Timbers, Boards, Blocks, Rocks, Pots, and/or Containers

With permission, check construction sites for used lumber, timbers, broken cement blocks, and excavated rocks. Check your recycling center or transfer station. I pulled all my used landscaping timbers and boards out of a wood debris pile at the transfer station/recycling center. All free. Garage sales are also great free or low cost places to find lumber, timbers, cement blocks, decorative rocks, pots, buckets, containers. Most anything that will hold in dirt will grow plants as long as you add drainage.

Finding Free and Low Cost Plants

Garage sales, plant recycling centers, and friends were my best bets. Also become friendly with your local nurseries as sometimes they have greatly discounted plants at the end of the season, or even free plants. That’s how I got 6 asparagus plants, 4 squash, 4 tomatoes, 3 beans plants, and several kale plants this year – all free from the nursery. The asparagus and kale will go in the fence line perennial landscaping.

Check end of season sales. Right now several of the seed catalogs are having 50% off sales, as are some garden centers, and nurseries. If you are buying perennial plants, this is a good time to buy them.

Finding Inexpensive Garden Tools

Again, most of these have come from free boxes, garage sales, and the recycling center. New wooden handles (free 2×4’s) were put on my broken but free wheelbarrow, and I hand painted the wheelbarrow bucket, and now I have a very unique, but working large capacity wheelbarrow.

Make Your Own Cold Frames

For those tender new plants, or trying to keep plants going thru their first winter, try 2 liter soda bottles, cut, but with the cap off. Used windows work. Or my favorite mini greenhouses – clear refrigerator bins, like the veggie and meat keepers.

Frugal edible landscaping is very possible – you just need to be always on the lookout for items that may be put to some future use. And be adaptable and flexible, and ingenious in the way you use the found items and you will soon have an edible landscaped yard that is uniquely you! Good luck and great eating!


By , on Sep 22, 2008
Marci is a regular reader and commentator at BeingFrugal.net. Marci has been a wealth of information on various frugal topics, as she's commented on posts.


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  1. Great ideas!!

  2. Annie:


    Another thing that could bring in quite a few plants is to put up a notice, in the Grocery Store, or where ever you have a free bulitin board. If you have a horticultural club they quite often share their plants with each other spring and fall for perrenials. Also if you have a free cycle, ask for perrenials. But word of mouth has given me most of my best plants, and they are already climatized.

  3. Yvonne:

    Hi Lynnae,

    Don’t forget to harvest the seeds from what you have bought from the grocery store! Right now I have green pepper, tomatoes, a mango tree, a lemon tree, and pumpkins and peanuts in my garden. I took all of those seeds from produce I bought at my regular grocer! (Minus the peanuts which were bought to feed squirrels and we discovered they grow very easily hear in Florida.)


    Have fun with it.

  4. Nice tip for finding inexpensive dirt. It always seems wrong to pay much money for, well, dirt!

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