You want to keep your yard looking nice and green, but you don’t have a huge budget to buy plants. Sound familiar? If so, don’t fret: as someone who grew up on a farm, I know many ways to spruce up your lawn with new plants without breaking your budget, and I’m willing to share them all with you! You’ll be using the same tricks as major landscapers who work on major projects like parks, malls, and colleges. Save yourself money, time, and stress by keeping these tips in mind.

Use Root Tone to Optimize Your Clippings

For only about $4 a bottle, Root Tone can help you grow the clippings you take from plants and see which will flower or take root. Rooting hormones like Root Tone encourage plant growth, and most plants with more than one leaf will respond well and start growing roots from its stem. Miniature liquor bottles, like the sort you get on planes, make for ideal containers. Place your clippings and Root Tone in a cleaned out bottle, put them somewhere that they are sure to get enough light, and it’ll soon become clear which plants take root quickly and which do not. Don’t forget to label the bottles! Root Tone will stay good for years and as long as you have clippings you will have the ability to add new plants and flowers to your lawn!

Plant Your Plants…in Pots!

Potted perennial plants offer you more bang for your buck than annuals – perennials will live at least two years, annuals only one. If you can keep your plants indoors and safe from winter weather, perennials are the ideal option for someone looking to landscape on a budget. A great variation on this concept is to keep your potted plants potted even when you put them in the ground! You’ll need a few differently sized pots: the original pot your plant came in from the nursery, a ventilated container that is significantly bigger, and a still larger pot. Put your plant, along with some extra dirt and stones, into the second container, then put that into the largest pot and put it directly into the ground. Once the plant begins to die and lose its color, simply replace it with a new potted plant. You might be able to save even more money by asking your local nursery if they have any extra pots or containers they can give you for free. Additionally, instead of throwing away the plant when it looks like it is starting to die, you can take it out of the earth, give it a little extra attention, and replant it in a different spot on your lawn or in your home. Keeping your plants healthy over winter by sheltering them from the weather can save you from buying new plants year after year! Finally, make your new addition look presentable by masking the earth around the pot with some nice stones or pebbles.

Learn to Love Coleus

Coleus plants are the budgeting landscaper’s best friend. They come in many different colors and varieties and add a bright spot to your lawn without taking too much out of your wallet. They grow well in shade and from clippings – you don’t even need Root Tone, a glass of water will do just fine for these versatile plants and you can expect to start seeing roots in a week. One thing to keep in mind with coleus is to check them for flower cones. When you see one, pluck it off immediately; this will keep your coleus healthy for years. Make sure you maintain your coleuses by trimming them regularly – this will keep them bright and lively!