Landscaping on a budget! In the San Francisco Bay Area, what seeds should I be starting now, or what tiny six-packs should I be repotting, to jumpstart the effort? What are good sources for low-cost gardening supplies?
I have this torn-up yard of grass, weeds, and dirt. I want the yard to look nice to attract renters to its two apartments -- one as early as 4-6 weeks (*knock on wood*), one not until sometime around late summer.
It's a corner lot near the Bay in Oakland with southern and western exposure. Clay soils. I need mostly low-water plants that qualify for our utility's lawn rebate, though I'm willing to set aside a few areas for moderate water plants.
I'm planning to level it, put mulch down thick, and then do a few planting areas:
- something a bit eye-catching at the corner of the lot (like this
- about 15 linear feet of planting area (maybe 2-3' wide) along the western fence (blue fescue and...)
- big grasses or shrubs in front of the front porch (about 12' wide and up to 10' deep since the front stairs extend out that far) (maybe a phormium and something else?)
- an area around the utility pole (just across from that southwest corner) that has super-shallow soils
My questions are:
- Plant suggestions? All are welcome!
- What will get going quickly enough to look nice for these early renters (if anything)?
- Since I'm waiting for the utility's pre-inspection, I thought I'd save some money by starting seeds indoors or buying six-packs now instead of larger seedlings in 3 weeks. Tips here?
- Sources for cheap compost (besides my own kitchen)? Has anyone done the thing where you go to a nearby horse stable? If you don't want to share your secret with the world, you can memail me.
- Sources for cheap or free lead testing and pots of various sizes?
All thoughts are welcome! Thanks!