Resources to Get Rid of Lawn the Frugal Way (Phrase I)

We are getting rid of our front lawn --- to save water and money!

A landscape designer helped us did the design to convert our front yard from an old deteriorating classic English garden into a vibrant modern garden full of native plants.

Given our shoe-string budget, we plan to do most of the work ourselves. However, since both of us work full time, it will be a while before we can actually start the project, but being a person who loves to plan,  I have started collecting resources to do the project frugal way already!

Here are the resources I have collected so far based on the main steps for the landscape projects:

Step 1. Demolition

We need to get rid of some plants and get rid of the lawn. It would cost a fortune to hire professional to do all the work, especially given the size of our front yard. So my current plan is to wait for the rain and then get rid of the lawn via sheet mulch.

This video on YouTube explains in details how to do sheet multch. This websites added some more way to amend soil during sheet multch.

Here is a link describing alterative ways to get rid of the lawn.

There are several ways to get cheap compost in the Bay area. The ones I am considering  are 

Guadalupe Landfill “Valley’s Pride” Compost
999 Guadalupe Mines Road
San Jose CA 95120
408 268-1694
Hours: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Feedstock used: yard trimmings, stable manures, redwood grindings
Delivery available. Self – haul price $20/yard, bags available for small quantities.

Zanker Road Resource Management
705 Los Esteros Road

San Jose CA 95134
408 313-0444
Hours: M-F 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sat/Sun 8 - 3
Self – haul price $14 cubic yard, order minimum 2 yards.
Feedstock: yard trimmings
For more info:
Contact sales rep Alex Sharpe:

Royal Oaks Mushrooms

Self serve only - $10 cubic yard
15480 Watsonville Road
Morgan Hill
408 779-2362

Cupertino Residents

Unlimited FREE bulk compost Friday and Saturday mornings from 8:30- 11:00AM at Steven’s Creek Quarry, Steven’s Canyon Road across from the Steven’s Creek Reservoir dam.  The site is open typically the last weekend in March through the 4th weekend in October.  The site may be closed during that time due to rainy weather or muddy conditions.
Feedstock: yard trimmings
Bring driver’s license to verify residency

Free Horse manure Compost - Almaden

Call (408) 390-3233

To get free mulch, I am considering contact one of the tree service companies based on ads on craigslist or simply call the tree service companies to get free clipping from them. We got one truck load of free mulch this way a couple of years back. It makes sense to do it again.

Step 2. Trenching

Step 3: Grading

I have yet to find out a frugal way to do this. Hopefully we don't really have to do much. We need to talk to a few landscapers to find it out.  

Step 4: Hardscape

To reduce cost, we plan to keep the current hardscape as much as possible. Since both the front and back yard have been professionally designed before, this is not a bad idea for our case. We plan to paint the raised beds in dark grey to make they look more modern.

However, we still need to replace some portion of the concrete walkway. Given our zero experience with concrete, we still need to decide how to do this step in a frugal way.

Step 5: Plant

For now, I am planning to buy all the plants from the nursery recommended by the designer: Capital Wholesale Nursery:

The most frugal way is probably just do all the planting ourselves, as it would cost around $10 to $15 to plan one professionally. If we need things to be done faster, maybe we will hire someone outside of HomeDepot?

Step 6: Irrigration

The most frugal way is just do all it ourselves. Fortunatelly, Huahai has already had some experience in making drip-irragation system. So he will probably be the one do all the work. :)

Step 7: Pot

We need to buy a fancy pot as the center piece of the front yard. We will probably ask the design er for recommendation and also check out Flora Grubb as well.

Some online stores that may be interesting:

If you only want to get rid of your lawn and don't care about the exact design, a cheap and easy way is probably contact guys from It costs about $3.5/sqrt to do the entire convertion.


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. If you have a Gravatar account associated with the e-mail address you provide, it will be used to display your avatar.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <div> <h1><h2><h3><sub><sup><b><i><u><font><img>
  • You may post code using <code>...</code> (generic) or <?php ... ?> (highlighted PHP) tags.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Nice place