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What are some cheap landscaping ideas for a humongous back yard?

Currently it's a dirt lot with a lot of weeds on it. Bout 40ft by 80 ft. I want to do something cool, but I don't have a huge budget. Looking at 1000$ tops.

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  1. I've seen some really interesting ground sculptures. You basically make a sculpture out of the dirt then plant your grass seed. So instead of plain old yard you have cool sculptured knolls. You could do a sleeping woman, a couch an animal. Whatever you like really as Simply or elaborate as you like. Heres a link for really elaborate ones take a scroll down that page http://www.euphoria-magazine.com/photography/34-photography/166-sculptures-made-of-grass at about half way down this page is some less elaborate ones http://www.carolynlee.co.uk/17_s-cornwall/s-cornwall2.html
  2. I'd plan on beds around the edges w/trees (Arbor Foundation will give you 10 for joining, $15 I think) - use pine straw for bedding, Liriope (monkey-grass) which is easy to split last year's growth to extend the edging around the bed; for grass, I'd go with Bermuda or Zoysia as they spread on their own and are relatively hearty, just get used to brown in the winter; This plan will reduce the cost of: grass plugs to buy - self spreading bedding - we all have pine trees, no? You could make this a one-time 'neighborly' thing to do just to gin up the first batch edging - grows quickly, uses split-n-plant technique to extend coverage Thoughts: Do you have family/friends/neighbors you could 'borrow' from, as in take clippings of plants that are: hearty, spread well and are low maintenance? Can you allow a growing season for the above suggestion to 'take hold'? I helped my Dad replant Zoysia to fill in front yard dirt patches and they are spreading nicely - it just takes time... I think these will leave some $ on the table when you price the materials.
  3. well at it's simplest, buy seedlings from a more wholesale type nursery. start thinking about a few trees (depending how many you want). try not to fill the area up to much, space each at least 10 - 12 ft apart if large. closer if small to medium. the choice of trees should be made carefully & is up to you- native to your area, ornamental,fruit,flowers, or maybe something unusual (but unusual=expensive, so maybe only a few for high lights). like a wollemi pine (check it out in wiki). then think about your understory. what plants do you want here ? your looking for things between about maybe 10ft- 2ft. these are your shrubs. & it's here you get some of the most Beautiful plants. like gardenias & camellias to name 2 well known ones (but i personally wouldn't use them, because everyone already has & i think it's boring when there is so much new exiting stuff out there. people have been using these "traditional" plants for hundreds if not thousands of years).here is where you can really make a statement, this is the plants at the height to be right "in your face". then you have your lower ground plants, as in the case of an "annual bed" a garden bed where you would grow flowers like petunias,Daisey's,Gerber's - you know the stuff. for the vase. annuals live 1 year & die. so each year you can scatter a pack of mixed flower seeds, (a couple of bucks) or change each year - what ever! last ground cover maybe something that will spread out over some large areas to connect it all together. think of where it will be viewed from. & plant so the trees (tallest) are at the back. then the understory just in front of them. then the smaller annuals - this way every thing is seen. start the whole thing by spaying weed killer in the area marked for your garden.then mulching all that garden area you spayed after about a week with wood chip. the wood chip could end up being a big cost or it can be a truckload for $50 (a guy advertises it in my local community paper for this price). after another week or so start planting. if you bought all seedling stock in 1 inch pots they will have been cheap. if you have them all at once ready to go in. spot them first - that is place each seedling (still in it's pot) on the spot where it's to be planted. then just stand back & check a few times when you've placed them all, that your spacing & placement is right. then plant into the mulch. drag the mulch aside to get to soil level. then dig the hole & plant. the mulch should be pushed back when the plant has been PROPERLY PLANTED! the mulch should never touch the trunk of the plant, it should always be an inch away. WATER IN. small seedling plants take longer before they grow to fill up the garden. but they "take a lot better" & in the long run are hardier. it's simple suggestions but if you look into the plants - i reckon there's never enough room! hope this helps
  4. If you are in the northern hemisphere you have several months to plan this. Look at Better Homes and Garden; they often offer free landscape plans. Perhaps your library has garden or landscaping magazines or books you could check out for free. Also, research WHAT it is you want the yards to focus on: bright flower gardens, shade trees, paths around herb lots...look around other gardens (perhaps see what's inside your town; municipal buildings are normally well-landscaped.) Also, Big home repair box stores often offer free courses on lanscape design etc. Check out what's available locally. You will save a lot of money if you buy plants in one-gallon pots as opposed to five or ten-gallon pots, Within six months those small plants will have grown as large as the big plants anyway, and will have developed stronger roots.