Happy Memorial Day friends! Thank you to all who serve and have served to keep us safe. Please take a moment to remember and appreciate. It’s their service that allows us to feel safe so we can enjoy a long Memorial Day weekend of cookouts with family and friends, travel if you’re one of the millions with a second home, or in – the case our our family – spring cleaning and yard work.
This is the weekend every year that we thatch and mow the lawn, plant a few flowers, and do a little outdoor decorating on a budget.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products I use and/or love myself.
Outdoor Decorating on a Budget
When we first built our home more than 16 years ago, our landscaping was impeccable. Our lawn was so green and so lush, you wanted to roll in it. We installed about 150 feet of mulch beds all along the front and back of our house and adorned those beds with colorful flowers and bushes. We purchased hanging flowers for our outdoor porch every year and had individual planters which were also filled with fresh flowers each year.
But you know what? All of that beauty came with a price – from our wallets and in back-breaking labor. The 10 yards of mulch alone totaled close to $600 every other year. Add to that flowers, potting soil, and lawn fertilizer and we were spending around $700.
After several years of spending money on the same things year after year, we decided there was a much less expensive way to make the outside of our home beautiful and with much less labor.
Would you like to know our secret to spending less on outdoor decor?
It’s pretty simple. We opt for more permanent solutions. Here’s how…
The first thing we did in an effort to save on outdoor decor was that we removed almost all of the mulch beds at the back of our house and went with natural grass. This alone, saved us the $700 and several hours of back-breaking labor spreading the mulch, planting the flowers, and weeding. Oooooohhh how I despise weeding!
Add Permanent Raised Planters
The next thing we did was installed two permanent, small planters along the back of the house. These small planters are made of some left-over brick we salvaged from my Dad’s stockpile. They’re raised beds that keep the small amount of mulch from washing away, so we don’t have to replenish it every year.
Plant Perennials Once
The planters are just wide enough to hold one row of flowers, which now hold perennials that bloom year after year. Before we were buying annuals which meant we were paying every year for the same flowers. With perennials, you buy them once and they come up on their own every year. Genius and a huge savings!
Patience & Neutral Furniture
I absolutely love our outdoor porch. When were first built our home, we purchased a round table and chairs in a neutral gray. It was a very reasonably-priced metal set from Lowes and 16 years later is still in great condition.
Over the years, we’ve added to the porch furniture – a piece here and a piece there. Each piece is a bit different because they’ve been accumulated over the years; but the one element that allowed us to do that and still maintain a uniform look, is that all of the pieces are of the same material and in neutral colors.
It just takes patience. Be willing to wait for the right pieces to come along at the right price (and in my case that means free or close-to-free).
The tan and black outdoor rug was from the Christmas Tree Shops, but I’ve seen similar ones at Lowes and Home Depot. The initial cost was around $100 but it’s on it’s 3 or 4th year and still in great condition.
I am incredibly lucky to have family members that like to redecorate. The two brown wicker-like plastic chairs (only one can be seen in the pics) with the blue cushions are all hand-me-downs. The half-moon chair was a second-hand piece from last year and the two taller ones with the navy blue cushions were second-hand from this year. Because all of the pieces on the porch are neutral in color and all of the same material, they all still blend really well.
The blue cushions are from Lowes and Pier 1 Imports, each a few years old but still in very good condition. You can find similar cushions on Amazon in many different colors here.
I checked Amazon and stopped in my tracks when I found THESE outdoor club chairs. Love them! Considering the price for two chairs including the cushions, the price is pretty good.
There’s also a small side table on the other side of the porch (not pictured). It was an indoor wood table that I painted with Benjamin Moore DTM paint last year. DTM is durable enough to withstand our harsh New England winters. The table is still in perfect condition this year.
Add Color With Permanent Accessories
Wait a minute! Didn’t I just say to use neutral colors. For the larger furniture pieces, yes, absolutely go neutral. Instead, add color with accessories that can be re-used year after year.
We used to purchased $100 in hanging baskets with real, annual flowers each year. They were costly and difficult to maintain for this “not-so-green-thumb” person to keep alive for an entire summer.
Now, we opt to add color with an American flag and just a few blue cushions. It’s just enough color for us. The porch is cozy and we enjoy the greenery of the tree tops and the few flowers in the planters which can be seen below.
Oh… and our lantern. That was an electric chandelier I found on clearance for $5.00 at Lowes last year. No that’s not a typo. It was $5.00! I removed the electrical and string battery-operated fairy lights through it for just a touch of twilight.
So far this year I’ve spent just $12.00 on outdoor landscaping and a complete outdoor porch refresh, including two “new-to-me” chairs. The $12.00 was spent on two mum flowers planted at the front of the house to add a little color there.
Not bad going from $700 a year down to $12 don’t you think?!
How about you? Let us know in the comments below how you save money on outdoor landscaping and decorating each year?