This spring and summer there’s all sorts of outdoor projects. After developing our vegetable garden ($$ fencing $$) our budget quickly became constrained and as a stay at home mom I always look for ways to do the most with our resources.

To beautify the front yard and flower gardens on a budget we would have to get creative. After looking around, I found was a way to save loads of money and to offset my carbon footprint.

I joined freecycle.org and have obtained some great things for our lawn and garden. Free cycling is the act of offering something you no longer want/need to someone else to have for free. I love garage sale shopping but personally don’t like to hold garage sales. I’ve done it before moving in the past and I just don’t have the patience to put a price on my things. I’d much rather just give things away. Freecycling is a perfect avenue for me to list my things that still have a lot of use left- and the reciprocity is *FABULOUS*. Here is a glimpse of some of my fab free finds.

two metal lawn chairs (approx. savings: $30)

two metal lawn chairs (approx. savings: $30)

Four wheel garden cart (approx. savings: $75)

Four wheel garden cart (approx. savings: $75

For landscaping I obtained this scalloped fence edging from a fellow freecycler. I initially wanted to use it for a different project in my yard, however, I overestimated the length. I saw the opportunity to spruce up this pussy willow tree in my front yard, which was a pain to mow around.

picstitch

I was informed by the neighbors that the town offered free mulch every spring after they collect the brush from residents. I recommend contacting your town parks department or public works to see if they offer a similar service- especially if the town already collects your brush and lawn waste. They use the residents’ (myself included) brush to make the mulch that is used for public parks etc. So the wealth of leftover mulch is given back to us (and there is a ton). If your town doesn’t offer something like this consider writing a letter or attending a town meeting and bringing it up as an option. After all, making mulch available to resident to beautify their lawn increases the appeal of a neighborhood (consider property values), a well kempt lawn makes for good neighbor relations, and contributes to community pride.

Mountain of free mulch available to the public.

Mountain of free mulch available to the public.

I estimate that I would have needed at least 3 bags of mulch to go around that tree. On sale, maybe, I could get them at $5 per bag. The garden edging would have been about $15 as well (according to a quick search). That’s an overall savings of $30! Saving money like this offsets the costs of plants, seeds, or other garden decor. In addition, it helps keep useful items out of landfills.

I have free cycled some other outdoor items as well. While yes, it is nice to have NEW things, consider this: if it’s going to be use outside it is going to get worn and dirty anyways. If you’re using something you got for free it wont bother you so much if it gets weathered. I continue to keep my eyes open for things like useful tools, landscaping decor, and plants (I’ve noticed many people give away seedlings they have no room for).

Here are some of my other finds:

20 tomato cages (our garden is huge) Approx. savings: $60 @ 2.99 each

20 tomato cages (our garden is huge) Approx. savings: $60 @ 2.99 each

Can you tell I get a rush out of saving money! I have also had great success with freecycling for indoor decor… but let’s save that for another post!

Freescaping: Taking advantage of local resources for low to no cost landscaping this summer

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