Need Help?

Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

See my work on Pinterest at Garden Guru Montreal

Entries in budget gardening (3)


Budget Gardening: Protecting an Investment When Times Are Tough. Part 3-Hedges.

If trimming shrubs is a chore you want to avoid, research the height and width of hedge shrubs before purchasing. Photo courtesy of

Hedges add value to a property by creating a park-like setting for the home.They are also valued for the privacy they afford and for hiding unsightly views. A hedge may also be used as a moderate sound barrier. Just like trees, their eventual height at maturity must be considered to ensure that they do not overpower the size of the house or land. Hedges should be selected, as well, for the color or visual interest that they will contribute to the overall appearance of the property. Be forewarned, though. Untrimmed hedges are unsightly and will reduce the curb appeal and perceived value of your property.

Examine the property line. Is there a decent looking fence or hedge already in place or does the neighbor’s property needs to be camouflaged? If a hedge seems like a necessary investment, there are two ways to save money. Firstly, shrubs purchased in large quantities are sometimes less expensive.This option is available from mail order nurseries that sell shrub hedges. Local nurseries may also offer this option. Big box nurseries sometimes advertise hedge plants at attractive prices. Secondly, plant incrementally, one small section each season, until the hedge is complete. Some hedge plants, like Spirea, propagate well and may be divided at the roots. Alpine Current may be propagated by burying a branch still attached to the mother plant. When it grows roots, the new plant can be snipped off from the shrub. Be patient as all this takes time. Tomorrow’s blog will discuss the flower bed.



Budget Gardening: Protecting an Investment When Times Are Tough. Part 2 - Foundation Plantings

Photo courtesy of Davis Design, Marion, Ma.Flowering and evergreen shrubs that hide unsightly foundations also soften the hard geometry of the contours of a house and blend that building into the land. If, in the future, you choose to add a flower bed, the foundation plantings will supply a lush background that will enhance the appearance of the flowers. When selecting shrubs, don’t be tempted to buy one that you would otherwise consider inappropriate just because it’s on sale. You will never be truly pleased  Select shrubs whose heights will complement rather than overwhelm the building. Make sure that the colors of the foliage and flowers enhance, rather than clash with the exterior of the home. Deciduous shrubs i.e. shrubs that lose their leaves in autumn, are usually less expensive than evergreen shrubs and definitely less expensive than Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Tomorrow’s blog will discuss hedges as fencing.



Budgt Gardening: ,Protecting an Investment When Times Are Tough. Part 1-Trees

 Thanks to for this imageA well landscaped terrain adds to the perceived value of a property and may improve a home’s resale value by 5 to 15 percent. If your home is unlandscaped or perfunctorily trimmed with a few specimen shrubs, consider a modest landscaping project to elevate its curb appeal and, hopefully, to increase its perceived value. This can be done with any size budget. It just takes a bit longer when money is tight.

Planting one or several trees on a property is the equivalent of buying a picture frame for an oil painting. It showcases what it frames. A tree is the only other large object on the property and its size helps to anchor the house to the land as well as to add balance to the overall appearance of the property.

Research the eventual spread of a tree before making a purchase. At maturity, it should never block any part of the house. Its branches must avoid touching buildings and overhead wires; its roots must not endanger the foundation, septic tank, and sewer pipes. The shadow it casts should not interfere with the master plan for landscaping.

If your home is in a neighborhood that has many mature trees, evaluate those that have already grown on neighbors’ properties. Do they add sufficient character to the neighborhood and to your property simply by being close by? If they do, don’t waste precious money planting trees. Allow the surrounding mature trees to grace your property. Tomorrow’s blog will discuss foundation plantings.