Some homeowners are intimidated by the grandiose schemes that they see on television gardening programs, or in their own neighborhoods. Landscaping doesn't have to be fabulously huge or expensive to be effective. If you are on a limited budget, or just don't go for the spectacular look, you can brighten up your property in more subtle, inexpensive ways.
Perennial beds are beautiful, and have the added benefit of reappearing every year on their own. Once you've planted them, you don't need to do it again. You can, however, increase the size of your perennial bed, or start a new one, by periodically splitting your perennial bulbs and replanting them in a larger area. Perennials can be bought at any garden supply store, but you can also get them from friends or neighbors who are already growing them and are willing to give you a few bulbs. This method helps you to make contacts in the gardening community, as well as getting you free plants.
Trees and shrubs that grow naturally in your area and climate will thrive more easily in your landscaping plan than exotics that need special care. Local varieties will also tend to be less expensive. If you own a large property, or have a friend with one who is willing to part with a few saplings, find some healthy young trees and replant them in your yard. Do your homework before attempting this; some trees respond much more favorably to being replanted than others. Be sure to take a large ball of soil with the tree in order to avoid damaging the roots, and only try this with very young trees that are under 3 feet in height.
Water features can add a lot of character to a landscaping plan, and aren't that expensive to create, as long as you keep them simple. If you have a property with a naturally damp area, you may be able to create a small pond simply by digging out a hollow in that area. Otherwise, you will probably need a pond liner to prevent the water from disappearing into the soil. Small ponds can be used to grow reeds and lotus flowers, and can serve as a welcoming habitat for frogs, dragonflies, salamanders, and other reptiles and amphibians, all of which will benefit your plants.
Build a rustic fence around your property to add character and increase your privacy. If you live in a rural area, you may be able to access split rails on derelict farms. Be sure to ask before you take them! Keep an eye out when you're traveling around your area for fences that are derelict. The owners are sometimes happy to get rid of them. By removing a fence and reassembling it somewhere else, you can remove any parts of it that are beyond repair, and end up with a better, if smaller, fence for yourself.