Expert help can keep your backyard blooming

April 9, 2013 3:47:34 PM PDT
It's the perfect time of year to start digging in the garden and you may want to even change things up a bit.

From pansies to petunias and marigolds to mulch, turning your luscious landscape into a tropical paradise is easier and cheaper than you think. We caught up with one local homeowner who was looking to turn over a new leaf, with a backyard on a budget.

Christina Barbaric said, "(There's) tons of weeds everywhere. My plants were dying."

Barbaric loves to entertain friends outdoors, but like many Houstonians this time of year, her backyard needed a little TLC. She wants to give it a fresh look, but doesn't know where to start.

"Choosing the right colors, the right flowers, the ones that are actually going to last the whole entire summer," she said.

So Barbaric headed to her local Home Depot and brought pictures with her.

"We have some older clay pots, and all the plants have died," she said.

"We have some plants that would work very well there," said Jerry Smith with Home Depot. "It's actually kind of native to the Texas area and soils around here."

Smith says when you pick your plants, don't worry if they're not in full bloom.

"Right now they don't have as many of the flowers, the blooms on them," he said. "But they're going to spread way out and bloom all summer long."

Smith says you'll save in the long run if you purchase plants that thrive in the hot Texas sun. This way you're not replacing flowers two months down the road. For example, yellow mantanas are on sale three for $10. They normally sell for almost $6 each.

Another tip is to plant around and complement with what you already have. For example, Barbaric has a rose bush.

"So when that comes out full with your roses, we can put some white around that and have the white and red look down there," Smith explained.

Barbaric is taking home petunias and lilies for her beds. Right now they're a steal at two for a dollar, instead of the normal price at $1.27 each.

If you're looking to add some outdoor lighting without breaking your budget, try solar powered LED lights.

"The top panels are solarized panels," Smith said. "When the sun hits it, it charges it up during the day. And then at night, it's lights."

Normally $18, you can get them on sale for $12.

If you're willing to put in a little sweat equity, a project from Pinterest is a neat idea if you're the handy type. With a hammer, nails and a saw you can turn old pallets into a rustic looking planter. It's eco-friendly, and our favorite price -- free!

"Generally you can go to places and get pallets and they're ready to get rid of them and what have you," Smith said.

That planter was easy to create and if you want a step by step guide, check out my online Pinterest board.

Another tip to buy flowers on a small budget is that many nurseries have plants they routinely throw out if they are not perfectly presentable. Ask a manager if you can take those items for free. They'll often let you.

See directions to make the pallet planter project

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