Save money with DIY landscaping tips

HOUSTON You may be tempted to just hire a landscape designer, but if you do, prepare for some sticker shock! It could cost thousands of dollars for just one or two flower beds. But our gardening expert says you can do the work for a fraction of the cost.

Randy Lemmon is considered Houston's garden guru, so it's no surprise that he has a healthy, lush and colorful landscape. What is surprising is that Lemmon says any of us can do this kind of design and work ourselves, saving thousands of dollars by skipping landscape designers.

"They charge 30-40 % upcharge per plant," Lemmon said.

To design your own professional look, Lemmon suggests following a few simple steps. The first is the use of tiers. The idea is to separate your landscape in two to three tiers. Then choose a variety of plants and shrubs that vary by texture and color.

Lemmon said, "You get a bright yellow leaf plant up against a darker green one, that's a color tiering with two different types of plants that are going to stay that way pretty much year round."

For beginners, Lemmon suggests a two or three tier system.

If the tier method is too much work for you, Lemmon has this design tip -- separate your color by using different colors and textures in your landscape.

"You get like four distinct color separations going on out here, you don't have to plant any annuals," Lemmon said. "You have more of a lime green evergreen plant, you have more of a light pale yellow, then the dark waxy green leaf."

A third design tip, use stones or rocks to help keep your flower beds raised. Lemmon advises picking a stone that complements your home, not one that exactly matches it. Finally, when it comes to planting your annuals, choose a few flower pots to change your color each season, instead of planting everything in the ground. If you are still not sure what plants to buy, Lemmon suggests you head to a nursery. He says you may spend a little more than at a chain business, but you will get better service.
Additional information:

Great Western Growers
Offers wholesale price to the public Saturday and Sunday only

Gardening Expert Randy Lemmon says the fall season is the best time to plant your garden. You can learn more about Lemmon and his gardening tips at on his Facebook page.

Below are Lemmon's favorite landscaping plants and shrubs listed by tiers.

Back Tier:
Texas Wax Myrtle
Coppertone Loquats
Needlepoint Holly

Middle Tier:
Dwarf Burford Holly
Texas Sage
Dwarf Wax Myrtle

Front Tier:
Aztec Grass
Monkey Grass
Japanese Boxwood
Mexican Heather
Groundcover Junipers

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