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.
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
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
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: www.zankerrecycling.com
Contact sales rep Alex Sharpe: [email protected]
Royal Oaks Mushrooms
Self serve only - $10 cubic yard
15480 Watsonville Road
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 3: Grading
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: http://www.capitolwholesalenursery.com/.
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 http://www.naturalfrontyards.com. It costs about $3.5/sqrt to do the entire convertion.