It’s been a backyard-landscaping frenzy the last week or so at the Nickels house, and I’ve never been so excited to have dog poop in the tread of my sneakers or bat dung under my fingernails. Oh, you didn’t know that mulch has ‘bat guano’ as a component? Me either.
(Sidebar…What I really want to know is how much poop can a bat possibly make, and how do they get it? I picture these large bat farms with a “professional guano harvester” coming through every so often. Now THAT’S a job. Just when I think I know everything. Hrmph.)
Since I recently posted about our DIY backyard deck, which was finished, ahem, MONTHS ago, I suddenly had this desire to jump-start the next phase…plants. That’s one of the benefits of blogging. When you realize that everyone can see your lonely (but very cool) backyard deck, bordered by some sad empty planters, it makes you want to fix it. A sort of virtual accountability, I suppose.
This is where we last left off…
And if I’ve learned anything about getting things done, you gotta strike while the iron’s hot. And right now, the iron is white-hot. Smoking. Glowing, even.
So I decided to buy and plant at least one new plant in our backyard, per day, for 7 days straight, and do it as CHEAPLY AS POSSIBLE.
This began last Saturday, May 3rd. So I headed to Lowe’s, my favorite home improvement store. See how gorgeous the weather was that day? It was 75 degrees with a slight breeze. Perfection.
I strolled into the garden department, and headed towards the back. Discount carts. Now we’re talking.
Do you see that? $1. (Let the happy dance commence.) But I couldn’t go crazy. Years ago when we still lived in our McMansion, I had a bad habit of biting off more than I could chew, or I guess I should say “buying more than I could plant”. I would get excited buying 15 (full-price) plants, and by the time I got done planting 3 or 4 that afternoon, I would quit and promise to start again the next day. But then I didn’t feel like it the next day, and the plants would sit on the back patio, and then I’d try to make sure I watered them, and then even that eventually stopped, until I was left with 10 sad little shriveled up brown twigs sitting in their pots of now-bone-dry soil. (The pure wastefulness makes me shiver, even now.)
So I just bought 4 little plants at $1 each, plus a 50% off pygmy palm for $7. Not bad! I put the palm in my back seat. That was a mistake. It tickled the back of my neck and top of my head the entire ride home. At a stoplight, I decided to provide a visual. Flared nostrils and all. Next time I decide to transport a tickle-inducing plant home, it will be sitting on the opposite side of the car. Lesson learned.
When I got home, I changed into my dirties, and got to work. Here are my $1 plants in their new home.
I went back to Lowe’s on Day #2, and what do you know…they had a whole new set of plants discounted down to a dollar, and another discounted palm. Bought it, and bought it. I did that for the next few days, and found something new on the discount rack nearly every single time. Some are overstock, while others are just a little challenged. Nothing that a little water and sunshine won’t fix.
I picked up more plants, every day for 7 days straight, and now I’m rewarded with a yard full of plants! This way was far better than my old method of buying a ton at once and then letting them die. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) And getting them at such a steep discount? That’s even better. Landscaping your yard can be EXPENSIVE. But if you know where to look, it doesn’t have to be. Go to your local nursery/home improvement store/garden center and if you don’t see a discounted area, ask a salesperson if they have any plants that have been marked down. Sometimes all you need to do is ASK.
GRAND TOTAL? Over the course of 7 days, I bought (and planted!) 25 plants, and paid a total of $78. Nearly all of them were purchased at a 50 – 75% discount.
And see those landscape boulders? I got about 15 of them for FREE off of Craigslist.
Slowly…slowly…the plants will start to fill in. It’s gone from a blank slate of dirt, to something that resembles a yard. Remember when it looked like this?
Some day in the future, once the plants really start filling in, I’ll post an update with an official BEFORE and AFTER. The time is going to fly by…soon it will feel like the backyard oasis I envisioned so long ago.