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Backyard On A Budget

Matt Leacy

Whether you’re a new home buyer, gardening enthusiast or just enjoy a bit of greenery around the home, most would agree that outdoor spaces have the potential to herbicide bank accounts.


I recommend composting as one way to help the environment whilst saving money at the same time. Compost can provide valuable nutrients for your plants. By composting yourself, you save money and take advantage of your food waste. You can also collect fallen leaves and lawn clippings to add to the compost and use them as mulch on the garden.

From an aesthetic perspective, a large compost site or bin in the backyard doesn’t have to be an eye sore.  Hedges, shrubs, burying bins underground are all ways that clever design can marry style and function.

Clever design can make a feature of recycled garden items – either from your own garden or recycling centre – to help keep garden makeover costs down and to add a rustic, lived in feel to your green space.

Bringing in a garden expert can save you in the long term with advice on what can and can’t be salvaged from your existing garden (including plants and materials). Re-purposing materials can drastically reduce the cost of new work and provide a connection to place.


Cost reductions start with the design of the space.   Good design considers your budget, and provides a response that meets your brief. This is where a design and landscape expert can really help.  Landscape designers have suppliers they can call on year round for plants, and industry relationships for all of the building materials.  We know how long something will take to build, and how much things cost so bringing in an expert is a good way to stay on budget.

The savings in recycling plants and materials, installing long term money savers like mulch and expert advice on plants and watering programs, will all pay off in the end.

If drought tolerant plants aren’t chosen, or you live in a harsh and dry climate, watering can be quite costly over the long term.

A few hot tips to manage your budget are:

Be conscious of your future water bills. Invest in a rainwater tank to save money in the long run.

Manage the consistency of watering, by deeper less regular watering – it encourages healthier deep root systems on your plants.

Spread mulch around the soil of your plants – it reduces weeds, saves water and insulates your soil.

Make your own soil wetting agent.


Selecting the correct plants for your garden plays a large role in their future cost and upkeep. It is essential to choose plants that not only look great but will also handle your local conditions. A few low maintenance plants suited for mass planting of large areas are Beschorneria, Echium and Westringia. These plants all work well together, are drought hardy and flower at different times of the year.  Combined with various ornamental grasses and succulents you will have an amazing effect without all the fuss.

Matt Leacy has an established 16 year career in the Australian landscape and design industry.  Eleven years ago, Matt founded Landart Landscapes – a design, construction and maintenance. Matt was a co-presenter on Channel Nine’s Garden Gurus after previously co-presenting for three seasons of Domestic Blitz.  Matt Leacy has appeared on and continues to attract appearances on numerous TV shows, including the Today Show, The Morning Show with Kerrie-Anne, Renovation Australia and Random Acts of Kindness.

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 at Mona Vale have loads of tools and tips for outdoor home makeovers. Visit them today -

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