If you’re anything like me, you’re hoping these negative degree wind chill days will go away and new flowers will start blossoming.
I’m so ready for spring!
So, to curb the winter depression, I’m already planning for spring. Some serious plans are in action. We need more raised garden beds. We are converting our old shop into an AirBnB. Our chickens are currently getting a new coop built. And gardening is my top priority this coming year.
I hope I can chop, can, freeze, dehydrate, roast, ferment, and anything else I can do to preserve all of my fruits of labor. However, the produce needs to produce before that all happens.
But it’s only January. And January calls for optimism. So, I wanted to share a few ways you can add functionality and aesthetics to your homestead on very little to no money at all. I’ve compiled a list of kick ass, my-homestead-is-better-than-your-homestead ideas to get your place looking like The Secret Garden of the world. But then again, some of these aren’t even my ideas and so I can’t take credit for all of them.
However, The Beard and I have also added to this list of ideas. And if you have some ideas you think really need sharing, comment below or email us.
So here we go.
Use twigs or branches to make trellis’ or tomato cages. Or step your game up and make an arbor or pergola that strawberries, grapes, and beans can slither their way up to the sun.
Paint stones or sticks to label your garden produce.
Make garden boxes out of your junk pile. Building materials that you found on the side of the road or got from tearing down an old building would be perfect for the job. Or an old sink, claw foot bath tub, or wash bin will also work beautifully in providing you a pretty place to garden and it won’t hurt your back from bending down to weed.
If your garden soil isn’t great and you can’t afford to buy a bunch of top soil, go with container gardening. Find old containers around the house with holes in the bottoms, or metal containers that you can drill drainage holes in. Use your existing dirt and then sprinkle some rich top soil on top for your plants.
Use a ‘grey water’ system to continue watering your plants. Complete the cycle. Have a garden sink for replanting, repotting, and washing fruits and vegetables. Let the sink drain into a bucket or container of sorts and use again to water your other produce. This will help save on your water bill and will cut down waste.
Everyone needs an entertainment space. Use those old retaining wall bricks that fell down last year. Or maybe you had another project that didn’t work out because either you got bored or the work got too hard. Create a patio space with old bricks from your shit pile or there are so many people on Craigslist trying to give away bricks for free with pick up or charging very little. I’m so planning on doing this one this year!
Use your Christmas lights year round. Hang those white string lights in your backyard, over your newly made brick patio for when guest come over to get shitty on cheap alcohol and eat beans and rice!
I’m sure we all have enough glasses to go around but if you need some drink glasses, go to local thrift stores and find those adorable vintage ones! Those are my favorite and I have to resist the urge to keep buying them! And I swear if I catch any of you serving plastic cups and styrofoam plates — you better hide! Those are expense, they kill the environment, and there is no need since you have perfectly good plates, bowls, and cups to serve an army. Do the dishes DAMMIT!
Window boxes can be your best friend when it comes to curb appeal. You probably only need 2-4 and you can even use standard lumber and then paint the outside of the boxes to help protect it against the elements. However, I know these won’t last as long as cedar but we are cheap asses and we can’t afford high end shit. No one will care what type of wood you use.
If your house is small enough, you can paint it yourself. And sometimes paint can get expensive, especially when your house is mansion size.. So if your house is a neutral color, try our frugal ass trick and just paint the front of your house so it’s like an accent wall. The neighbors will be gawking.
Dress up those garden beds! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve see free river rock on Craigslist. Most people can’t fathom removing all of it from their garden beds so they offer it for free if someone provides the labor and the transportation. It’s a win-win for the both of you. And your yard is looking flawless.
Use those leftover bricks and river rock to create your own little backyard fire pit. Perfect for roasting marshmallows and seeing who can shove the most smores into their mouths.
Update your house numbers with a cute plant box, metal numbers, or a modern design.
Change out your shutters for something more modern. Wood shutters on the front of a house add so much more than those cheap ugly plastic ones (sorry in advance if you have those — we used to have those).
Paint your front door. Or if your budget is allowing more than beans and rice, update it with a reclaimed or new front door.
So everyone is remodeling when it gets warmer. And why does that matter to you? Because that means there is going to be shit loads of FREE piles of scrap wood and building materials lining the streets for you to take for the keeping. These materials will be great for new animal housing.
Clearly I have a love for twigs and branches, but use those to make animal ramps, fences, feeders, perching sticks, and more.
Your animal houses better be on point with decorations. Add metal stars, rustic signs, plant boxes, and anything else you think will make it look more beautiful instead of a place where all your animals do is shit and sleep for 14 hours a day! I can’t get over the amount of shit that comes out of our chickens. Someone please make it go away!
How do you create a beautiful homestead on a penny’s budget?