We are done, we are done! Woo! You saw the progress we had made the last time I posted about this DIY landscaping project, and finally it is DONE.
If you missed it, essentially we had cleared out the old and prepped the soil for some gorgeous shrubs.
DIY Landscaping: Picking Shrubs
We ended up choosing Japanese boxwoods from Home Depot because of how easy they are to maintain, plus they’re a low maintenance kind of shrub/hedge. The one thing is that they aren’t exactly known for being fast growers…
Hence, why at first I bought 12 small boxwood plants, then I ended up going back and buying 8 heftier/larger boxwoods. These can take years to get to a large, full, round size, so if you’re saving money by DIY landscaping, then spend the extra dollars on more mature plants.
Buy shrubs/hedges that are large so you won’t be waiting (and waiting) for them to grow. If you pick a species/variety that is fast(er) growing, then I’d say you can skimp.
Where to Buy the Plants?
We opted to buy from Home Depot because of their plant guarantee, which Lowes also has a similar version of, so that in the case of any untimely early deaths of our shrubs, we’d be able to get a replacement or refund within the first year.
It’s also great to shop local nurseries, but for this project we wanted to be on the safe side. Just some things to think through as you go on this DIY landscaping journey.
Our DIY Landscaping Process
Note, we did this back in 2013 or so, and boy have we learned a lot since then. We’ve done a bit more of our own DIY landscaping in terms of flower beds in our current home using the no-dig method, and it’s worked wonders!
Once everything was cleared out, we were good to go on our project. After that, my hubby dug out a trench for the border to fit snug.
To be green and to save money, we simply reused the border that was there. A reader suggested we could have flipped the border upside down for a more modern look, so bottom line- get creative if you’re on a budget.
In our current home, I DIY all of my flower beds and switched to this amazing landscape edging which requires far less digging.
Then I marked/spaced out where the shrubs would be planted. The area we landscaped is about 5’x26′, so I wanted to make sure they were spaced out evenly.
Using a post hole digger and a shovel, we dug holes about twice as large as the root ball of the boxwoods and added in some high quality topsoil mixed in with the native soil (as directed). We also added in some fertilizer stakes to help the process along.
Then, it’s time to start planting! (Here’s my hubby switching podcasts or something) I will say I am glad I invested LOTS of time in spacing out the boxwoods properly. It gives it a polished look.
We purposefully planted the boxwoods a bit past the center point so we could have enough room to plant annuals or perennials (flowers) in front should we choose to.
Once all 8 boxwoods were good and planted, we covered the entire area with this landscape fabric (we found it cheapest online versus a big box store).
To get the boxwoods through the fabric, I simply cut an “X” using a utility knife in the general boxwood area (so I had 8 X’s) and pushed the fabric down around the base of the boxwood.
To save money, you could also use newspaper or uncoated cardboard for this step. I’ve been doing that in our current home, and it’s saved me a ton of money, plus it helps make our clay soil a lot softer as it breaks down into the soil.
The fabric wasn’t wide enough, so we had to cut some additional strips. The landscape fabric is secured to each other/the dirt with some landscaping pins.
Next we poured 24 bags of rubber mulch over the fabric. The rubber mulch was quite the investment, but we like that it is an earth friendly product that will last us years and years. Note- we sold our house in 2016 and the mulch was still in great shape and hadn’t faded.
There’s no way I’d want to replace mulch every year, so this was a well thought out splurge. I wish it was easier to find because we’ve had to switch to traditional mulch in our current home.
And finally, we are done with this DIY landscaping project! Very simple, very amateur for sure, but it gets the job done and gives homeowners something to build on.
I’ve been thinking and dreaming about this project for years, and I’m so proud of the value and curb appeal it gives our home. I am always proud of my home, but I’ve always been a bit ashamed at the lackluster exterior.
It makes our home look beautiful, cared for, and welcoming. We finally have some curb appeal all in about an afternoon’s time.
If you’ve been considering this sort of DIY landscaping project but feel like it’s overwhelming and intimidating…don’t! If we can do it, you can do it.
I’m so proud of our new front entrance area, and I thoroughly enjoy going outside to water the boxwoods and admire our handy work.
What do you think? Does it give my home a curb appeal boost? Here’s a quick before & after:
Now all I need to do is find some outdoor landscape lighting and install my window shutters (and paint the house trim!) It never ends, but DIY projects are a great way to save money and boost your curb appeal.