Yearning for landscape design ideas, but on a tight budget? There are plenty of free resources out there to get you started. Whether you want to search online from home or get out to see what your community has to offer, free ideas are available if you know where to look.
Home and garden magazine websites are great resources for design ideas and hands-on projects. Sunset Magazine has a plant finder database and Better Homes and Gardens features an interactive garden design tool. Both sites also allow you to search their archives for articles covering specific design features or special areas of interest, such as how to design narrow planting beds. Or submit a question on the Ask a Garden Doctor section of BHG.com if you can't find an answer to your challenge elsewhere.
Home and garden shows
Chances are your community offers at least one of these events per year. Here you can see the latest home and garden products, talk to professionals about each one, and sometimes even see working models of amenities such as water features.
Home and garden tours
Many communities hold annual home and garden tours free of charge, giving you the opportunity to see in person how a homeowner tackled a particular design challenge, or created a stunning planting design they want to share with others. Check your local garden club or keep an eye on the event section of your local newspaper.
Public gardens can also give you ideas on plants and design. Since they are public, they are usually free. Botanical gardens are not usually free, but they are often relatively inexpensive. Keep in mind, however, that botanical gardens are meant to showcase as many plants as possible. This is not usually recommended for landscape design, as it creates cacophony and lacks any repetition, which is an important unifying design element.
The digital age sometimes makes us forget about the good old public library. Here you can find landscape design books by the dozens ready to take home and look through at your leisure. You will also find current landscape design magazines to leaf through. Although some libraries won't let you check out magazines, you can certainly utilize their copy machines to bring home articles of interest.
Linda is a landscape architect and certified arborist in southern Arizona. With over 20 years experience in landscape design, she also has a passion for all plants and gardening. As a freelance writer for a number of websites, she has produced hundreds of articles on plants, plant care, and design.