Stone pathways, patio furniture, creative planters and manicured garden beds are all landscaping ideas that can be implemented for free. Finding recycled materials is the key to low or no-cost landscaping.
Garden beds need mulch to provide defined lines in the landscape. Mulch also enriches the soil with organic matter. Many cities and municipalities provide free mulch and compost made from processed leaves, wood chips and grass clippings. Residents can obtain the materials at local recycling and refuse centers operated by the city.
To fill those mulched garden beds with plants, use the technique of dividing perennials. Many herbaceous perennial plants, once established, can be cut up into smaller plants and spread around the garden to fill empty spaces. As dividing perennials is a typical garden chore, friends and neighbors are often willing to share the divided plants in exchange for help with the labor. Many common garden plants are readily available for free through this method including hosta, iris, black-eyed Susan and astilbe.
Broken chunks of sidewalk concrete can be the raw material for stepping stone pathways in the garden and low garden walls. Many construction sites have an abundance of this material that would otherwise go to the landfill. With permission, contractors are often willing to let homeowners and gardeners take broken concrete for free.
Lumber for landscape construction projects is also readily available for free in the form of wooden shipping pallets. Often disposed of in landfills, pallets can be deconstructed and rebuilt into raised garden beds, patio chairs and tables, arbors, and planters.