Taking care of a yard and lawn throughout the year is not only a lot of work, but it’s also something that can be quite costly. Studies show that Americans spend a combined $40 billion on lawn care each year. Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that Americans devote an average of 73 hours each year to maintaining their lawns.
Whether you carry out the regular maintenance yourself or you hire people to help you with it, you may be wondering how to cut down on the costliness without sacrificing a pristine and well-manicured lawn. We share some penny-pinching tips below on how to be more cost-effective with your lawn maintenance and care routine.
1. Create Your Own Compost
It’s easy to create your own compost and, as an added bonus, it’s good for your lawn, is environmentally friendly, and saves you money! Use grass clippings, vegetable scraps, and other organic waste that you’d usually throw into the trash to create compost that can be used to mulch around trees and to fertilize your lawn. Simply create your own composting area outdoors, or buy a small compost bin, which can generate up to 40 cubic feet of compost each year. This could equate to nearly $200 saved dollars per year, since store-bought compost sells for an average of $5 per cubic foot at common hardware stores and nurseries.
2. Take Advantage of Drought Tolerant Plants
When you’re looking to save some green without sacrificing the actual greenery of your yard, drought tolerant plants are the way to go. These trees and shrubs provide a pleasing aesthetic while cutting down on the actual size of your lawn, meaning that there will be less watering, less lawn product used, and less time invested in its upkeep. Some plants that fall into this category are the wispy greens of Mexican feathergrass, the tight rosettes of the Cape Blanco plant, or the succulent sedum rupestre 'Angelina.'
3. Embrace Some Weeds
While we all have the tendency to evict weeds from our lawn the minute they make an appearance in our yards, some weeds are actually good for grass and can help to cut down costs or the need for much maintenance. For instance, dandelions have deep taproots that help bring calcium that nurtures grass to the surface, while clovers have bacteria and fungi present on their roots that are responsible for taking nitrogen from the air and feeding it into the soil. Keep these weeds around for long-term benefits.
4. Make it a Neighborhood Effort
If you have a neighborhood that loves doing things together, it could present the perfect opportunity to save some money! Invest as a group into larger-scale lawn care tools and equipment, such as a lawnmower or sprinklers. You could even all contribute to group compost bins or share bags of seeds and fertilizer for even more savings across the board.
5. Water for Longer
Many people are in the habit of giving their lawn a daily watering, but watering less frequently and for a longer stretch of time can help to save money and conserve water. Healthy lawns need only about an inch of water a week. Try giving your grass a long soak once weekly, letting the water gradually seep into the soil over the course of the week. The watering will be stretched further, and you won’t use nearly as much as you would if you were to sprinkle it every day.
6. Mow to the Right Length
Many people mow their grass to be shorter than two to three inches in length, which costs them more in maintenance costs. This is because slightly longer grass allows plants to shade their own roots and soil, which aids in moisture retention and cuts down the need for watering. A good rule of thumb to go by when mowing is to never remove more than a third of the grass blade. This will not only result in a healthier and more lush lawn, but it will also mean a reduced need for watering, fertilizer, and reseeding. It’s also useful to keep mower blades sharp, prompting a cleaner cut and allowing you to use less gas in your mower.
These simple yet effective tips not only help your lawn to be more manicured and beautiful, but they also save you time and money. That’s certainly a win-win, and you’ll be the envy of all your neighbors once you put these tricks to good use!