For a pretty yard — and a full plate, too.
Fall is a great season for yard work — the weather is nice, plants are cheap, and veggies are hardy.
Here are three projects that’ll transform your yard without hitting your bank account too hard.
#1 DIY a Compost Bin
If you’re serious about a good-looking yard, blooming azaleas, and lush bushes, you need fertilizer. You can buy it — or get some for free if you build your own compost bin with just a few pieces of salvaged wood and galvanized steel mesh, and corrugated sheet metal roof for the top.
A good size is 4-by-6 feet with two chambers. On one side, pile raked leaves so they can become mulch. On the other side, keep an old trash can with a tight lid for depositing food scraps.
Money-saving tip: Always shop in your own scrap pile first, or salvaged building stores — you’ll be surprised how much money you can save.
#2 Beautify a Steep Slope With Retaining Walls
With concrete blocks averaging only $1.59 each, and DIY help, you can turn an ugly eyesore (that you’d also hate to mow if it was lawn — see above) into something gorgeous by building retaining walls.
Money-saving tip: Plants are cheaper in fall because nurseries like to clean out their inventories — often between 20% and 50% off. Or, better yet, get them for free from neighbors and friends.
Gardeners have to divide and cut back their plants in the fall, so don’t be afraid to ask if you can take advantage of their unwanted offshoots. Chances are they’d be happy to give them to you.
#3 Build an Edible Garden
Prepare your garden for fall veggies by pulling out all summer plants that are done, turning and loosening the soil, removing all weeds, and adding compost. Then plant vegetables that thrive in cooler temperatures (down to 20 degrees F) — broccoli, spinach, and cabbage.
Money-saving tip: Plant hardy veggies that you like to eat frequently so you’ll save money on your grocery bill.
Related: Surprising Fall Lawn Maintenance Tips from the Nation’s Top Gardener