The costs involved in a serious landscape overhaul can be prohibitively high for many home owners. We see landscapes every day in dire states of disrepair with bleak prospects for improvement simply because of lack of budget and intention. Many of these landscapes are just a creative puzzle that needs be figured out.

In many cases, working with nature is absolutely the cheapest way to go, and the one with the greatest potential for permanence. Many times we wrestle with nature instead of simply learning from what it is so clearly telling us. The tightest budget landscape is the one you see all around you, the one that is provided free of charge, forests of green fauna, rolling grasses on the tundra, natural ground cover growing to the edge of a country road, or even the aquatic plants on the edge of a slow meandering stream. These cases, seemingly extreme, are very visible and all around you in almost every environment. If you begin to listen, nature talks  and reveals her beautiful life-sustaining secret that is organic and connected to the real world we all live in. 

We need to remember that in our search for economic ease by finding the cheapest way out, nature shows us a clear path of its natural solutions to pre-existing environmental site conditions. The rules of succession and survival are clear and simple, if we follow a few basic steps.

#1 NEVER GO AGAINST NATURE! When trying to save money, in the long run, NATURE WINS! “Quick easy cheap human solutions equal long term gradual environmental succession.” Its simple nature is continually moving, growing and flowing—its forces at work are great! EROSIONWEATHER EXTREMES, OXIDATION, ENVIRONMENTAL SUCCESSION, AND GRAVITY are only a few to mention but many are the radical forces of nature that seek to overcome the temporal solutions of a quick easy fix.

#2 LET YOUR DECISION BE SUSTAINABLE and based on natural solutions working with the environment  instead of “cheap mindedness and the constant shop for the cheaper material or landscaper working at cost.” There is a better way, find within the project to actually work with nature, allow the natural presence of nature to ebb and flow freely between the hard  angled approach of imprinting our ownership on the environment. Together with nature turn cheap into elegant by not overpowering the most beautiful free elements all around us. Harness the full power of nature by creating with intention from and with what is naturally provided.

#3 BE WILLING TO RE-USE, RE-SOUCE, RE-CYCLE, RE-PURPOSE every living and non living part of your landscape including sod, plants, roots, rhizomes, clippings, leaf waste, dirt no matter condition, trees, cut limbs, broken terracotta pottery, wood chips, old rotten garden timbers,  wood, bricks, stone blocks, even old newspaper and ornamental hay stacks left over from thanksgiving on the front porch. Whether you’re recycling into the compost or building up bed structure with organic waste you are definitely working well with nature to what extent is solely up to you. Allow yourself time to gather surplus resources, however don’t dilly-dally too long—neighbors might complain. Now it’s time to work up a re-purpose plan whether by yourself or a credible landscape professional designer. Remember scavenging from nature only cost your time and is a very relaxing meditative chore.

A Radical Re-Scape: Here is a real life example of a re-purpose landscape. The photo above was a joint endeavor by a local local landscape professional and a homeowner it is a perfect example of the urban landscape design turned ecological and budget friendly through these basic concepts. In the picture above assembled in an artistic and intentional way you can find toadstools, moss. ferns, rocks, logs and even stumps. Swift but careful, they were gathered with the intent to reuse them before the tracks of an unforgiving bobcat could grind them into organic fill. Now repurposed as the main natural elements of a small water feature each and every detail clearly can be seen in this elegant but natural woodland landscape. This project holds testament to the true value of planning with intention, so next time your in your backyard dreaming about the future, take time and really look around at the natural resources in the present if anything you will begin to realize some resources you already have. I really hope you enjoyed this time please share your repurpose story I would love to hear yours.

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