Your landscaping ambitions may exceed what your wallet will bear. To decorate your grounds without paying nursery prices for plants, you can look for what you need in unexpected places.
Call landscaping companies and municipalities to see when they are going to start new plantings. Many companies have contracts with parks, municipalities and subdivisions to keep areas landscaped. They take out existing plants and throw them away. Ask if they need anything hauled away but be prepared to take everything they pull out. You could always sell the extra plants if you do not need them.
Ask a friend or neighbor for cuttings from plants you admire. You can take a small cutting, root it and transplant it into your landscape without damaging the mature plant.
Put an ad in the newspaper or online for plants you are looking for. Responders might have these plants and let you remove them for free. Or look for free plants and landscaping materials on Craigslist or Freecycle.
Start your own compost pile to help improve the soil for your plants. That helps your pocketbook and keeps organic waste out of landfills.
Replace commercial mulch with pine straw. If you don't have pine trees on your own property, find someone who does and offer to rake their pine straw. Even one or two good-sized trees could produce enough pine straw for your landscaping project.