The Pros and Cons of DIY Landscaping Get exercise and save money by tending to your backyard or garden yourself

Landscaping is a big part of owning a home and can be a burden to some who aren’t interested in the kind of work that it entails. Knowing what kind of landscaping that you can maintain is an important part of choosing to do the job yourself. Here are some hashed out pros and cons of DIY landscaping to help you make your decision.

PROS

Budget Friendly

DIY landscaping. Credit: WoodleyWonderWorks, FlickrCCChoosing to do your own landscaping will ultimately save you money in the long run. Yes, there may be some up front costs of purchasing your own tools and buying the wrong fertilizer a time or two, but you won’t be paying to have a service come and do the landscaping for you. Many homeowners who choose to do their own landscaping work have other family members that can help out with the chores like spouses or kids. Tending to your own landscaping is a budget friendly option that many homeowners choose in order to save money.

Handle Problems Quickly

Landscaping involves a lot of choices that you need to make on the fly. When you see that a plant isn’t doing well, or that aphids are eating your favorite flower, you need to make quick decisions on how you are going to handle the problem. When you choose to do your own landscaping you can make those choices and alter the care of your yard and garden almost instantly. Hiring a landscaping company could lead to many missed phone calls and may take longer to fix a problem that needs to be solved immediately.

Natural Exercise

There is something very satisfying about doing your own landscaping work. Getting out into the soil and working under the sun provides a natural form of exercise that has long been overlooked. Teaching kids how to work hard, as well as techniques like how to dig a hole, are great ways to get the entire family involved in healthy exercise. Many homeowners find that working with plants is a very therapeutic and peaceful experience that grounds them and decreases stress as well.

CONS

Plant Knowledge

One of the biggest cons against DIY landscaping is the amount of knowledge that you must have about the plants in your garden. If you moved into a new home, and have no clue what the previous homeowners was doing in the yard, it can be hard to correctly identify and care for some plants.

If you are starting with a blank slate, choosing the right kind of plants for your yard can be an overwhelming experience. There are so many options and each plant has a particular kind of soil and sun exposure that they grow best in as well as different moisture requirements. Doing your own landscaping will require a lot of reading up on native plants in your area as well as the possibility of pulling plants that you think are weeds.

Local Expertise

Choosing the best plants, grasses, mulches and soil blends all differ by the region you are in.  Typically, local landscapers will have amassed this knowledge over time.  If you’re doing your own landscaping work, you may find conflicting knowledge about what to do simply because different authors live in different areas, and are only familiar with the best practices for their own area.  If you do decide to DIY, be sure to check out sites like WikiLawn Lawn Care and Plant Native that provide locally relevant information, as well as your state’s turfgrass extension.

Time Investment

Just like anything that you do yourself, choosing to do your own landscaping can be a big time commitment. Getting your yard to look the way that you want it to can take months, if not years, to achieve. Many nights and weekends will be spent outdoors trying to keep your landscaping looking sharp and not overgrown. Many families are overextended on schedules and have a little amount of extra time to begin with so adding in landscaping responsibilities could take up more time that you even have available for the task.

There are both pros and cons for choosing DIY landscaping. Every homeowner will have different experiences and choices to make when it comes to deciding how to take care of their landscaping. Consider these points when trying to decide on choosing DIY landscaping for your home.


Jacob Palmer is a gardening and landscape design writer. When mowing lawns on his street as a child, he discovered a lifelong passion for landscape design. He now has three children who can all be found helping him most weekends with his next big garden project.