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  1. #1
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    Question Best bang-for-your-buck plants, flowers, and bushes?

    We're putting our house on the market soon and need to replace a few bushes and plant some flowers in our flower beds (we had some plants there when we moved in, but removed them, as they attracted tons of bees right by the front door, and DH is very allergic to bees). Any tips on the best way to get a lot of bang for our buck? (We have a lot of other touch-ups we need to do, and everything's costing a bunch of money right now). What plants or flowers are pretty and high impact? I've heard you can split hostas, but we already have a bunch of those at the bottom of the retaining wall area, and I'm looking for more color. I wish I had gardener friends with plants they could split for me . I'd rather avoid the non-bee friendly plants (which I'm assuming the cheaper places like Home Depot carry), but do you have any other hints for making our money stretch?

    Also any tips on getting the best price on dark brown mulch, with the least amount of work (hauling wheelbarrows of it throughout our big yard)? In the past we've bought the plastic bags of it, or had a landscaping place deliver and dump a big pile of it in our driveway, but they're both such a hassle for poor DH to bring around our yard since we have a couple of acres. I've heard you can hire people blow mulch in around the landscaping (kind of like a leaf-blower apparatus, I guess?), but I'm worried it'll be cost-prohibitive. Unfortunately we had a really late spring, so now we're scrambling to get indoor & outdoor projects done and get our house on the market in the next couple of weeks.

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Default Best bang-for-your-buck plants, flowers, and bushes?

    Home Depot isnít the cheapest place. Look at Aldis and local nurseries. Pansies, marigolds and impatiens are often cheap and bloom a bunch.

    All flowers attract bees. I think Loweís and HD stopped selling the treated plants bc bees are vital. Maybe get some verigated greenery vs flowers for visual interest?

    Day lilies might be good. They take up a lot of space and are inexpensive. I bet you know someone that will give you some of their spare ones (I have a ton to share!).

    Anytime you hire service is going to cost more than using your own manpower. For us, if itís a job I can physically and technically do (not skilled labor), I do it. Yeah, it sucks to lug mulch around but everyone in your family can help (dh doesnít need to do it all ) but itís the cheapest option. Maybe you donít need as much mulch as you think either. You can simply do a thin layer for the visual impact vs a nice, deep layer designed to keep weeds out. Maybe invest in some ground cover vs mulching so much. Move some hostas around to fill in.

    Are there any improvements youíre trying to do that you donít need to hire help for? To help free up some $. Paint? Definitely do that yourself- youíll save so much money.


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  3. #3
    bisous is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    I think it totally depends on where you live! I live in Southern California and I'm all about perennial shrubs. Figure out what grows well where you live and spend your money on putting those in right away. You can always add beds of flowers later to add pretty color but the shrubs kind of "make" the yard. I don't think the varieties that do well here will necessarily do well in your yard but I'm a big fan of bouganvilleas, lantanas, geraniums, and agapanthas. In my area, these are all practically unkillable and are drought tolerant. There is a whole new category of truly drought resistant plants that I'm starting to put in as well--like mexican sage and some kinds of succulents. I'm pretty sure that most of these plants dislike frost though and that's why it is important to ask people local to you.

    For mulch, we've always just dumped it on our own but again, our yard is much smaller. I do think it makes a big difference in the appearance of a yard.

  4. #4
    Kindra178 is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Check local mom groups for excess mulch. Lots of folks around here have excess. Also, many municipalities give away mulch for free.


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  5. #5
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    For quick fill splitting something isn't going to work. That takes growing time that it sounds like you just don't have. I'd look at the bigleaf hydrangeas if you are looking for something large that will be in bloom or bloom soon. For smaller color some annuals would work nicely. Now is a good time to be planting.
    momma to DD 12/08 & DS 3/13

  6. #6
    sariana is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Bees prefer blue and purple flowers, so avoid those colors. That's not to say bees won't go to other colors, but they spend more time at those colors if present.

    See if anyone on NextDoor (or similar) is splitting any plants and has some to give away.
    DS '04 "Boogaboo"
    DD '08 "Lilybear"

  7. #7
    ezcc is online now Silver level (200+ posts)
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    For something like this I would hire somebody. A landscaper will be able to source inexpensive plants and make it look really sharp- like a home stager for the outside. I love to garden, but making something like this look good quickly will be easier for a pro. The first drive by impression is so, so important in making a house look good.

  8. #8
    klwa is offline Ruby level (4000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezcc View Post
    For something like this I would hire somebody. A landscaper will be able to source inexpensive plants and make it look really sharp- like a home stager for the outside. I love to garden, but making something like this look good quickly will be easier for a pro. The first drive by impression is so, so important in making a house look good.
    Honestly, this. Especially if you aren't used to figuring out what plants look well with each other, I'd go with a pro. Give them a budget & what you want to accomplish, and they'll work with you.
    -Kris
    DS (9/05)
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    DD (9/12)

  9. #9
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    I get begonias each year to line the front of our bushes. They aren't expensive and they look good at all stages (of course look best when all filled in but they have flowers on them when planted so look nice). I have our gardener plant them but from what I understand they are super easy to plant.

  10. #10
    lizzywednesday is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezcc View Post
    For something like this I would hire somebody. A landscaper will be able to source inexpensive plants and make it look really sharp- like a home stager for the outside. I love to garden, but making something like this look good quickly will be easier for a pro. The first drive by impression is so, so important in making a house look good.


    My now-former neighbor hired a landscape designer to re-do her landscaping and it was amazing.

    She mixed perennials of varied heights and decorative grasses with hardy stuff like hostas (which I kind of hate, but they're easy to maintain) and green shrubs for a lot of visual interest. It only got annoying in the fall when the grasses did what grasses do in the fall - they went seedy & birds used them for nest reinforcements.
    ==========================================
    Liz
    DD (3/2010)

    "Make mistakes! Get messy!" - Miss Frizzle

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