Maintaining a beautiful lawn and other landscaping features can become a costly task. If you’re dedicated to the exterior look and feel of your property, but still determined to spend wisely, there are a few things you can do to accomplish both.
Rather than spend money each spring and summer on expensive annual flowers, make a one time investment in perennial plants and shrubs. They may cost a little more up front, but in the long run will save you money and time.
Grow your annuals from seeds
With some soil, water, care, and tenderness, you can start your own annuals from seed. For only a couple of dollars you can produce what would have cost you $20 or $30 at the nursery.
Establish your lawn
This one may be a little tough for some as it requires diligence and time. The best defense against weeds, disease, and dead spots in the lawn is a thick healthy stand of grass. Working hard to eradicate weeds and sowing grass seed bi-annually, you can soon accomplish this. Be advised that depending on your circumstances, this might involve tilling your old lawn, adding soil and nutrients, and lots of seed and water to get it started. Once your lawn is thick and healthy however, it is rather easy to maintain.
Buy mulch in bulk
Instead of loading up on bags of mulch at Lowe’s or Home Depot, try buying a truck load from a landscaping center. You can get about 5 times as much for your money, and even buy mulch enriched with compost, a.
Use a soaker hose
A soaker hose reduces waste by only allowing small drips of water through the hose. You can concentrate the water around trees and plants without watering your driveways and sidewalks. The loss from evaporation is also substantially less.
Use a reel mower
If you have a small lawn and mow it regularly, you should try a reel mower. Unlike gas or even electric mowers that cost money to operate, the only cost of a reel mower is blade sharpening. The cuts from a reel mower are also better for the grass because of the cleaner cuts as opposed to shearing them from force.
Create your own compost
This is becoming more and more popular as the whole “green” thing catches on. Use grass clippings, leaves, and fruit peelings to your advantage. It’s actually very satisfying to enrich the soil for free; knowing that you didn’t add to the carbon footprint.
Spray for your own weeds
Unless you’re someone who has more money than time, consider buying concentrated weed killers and treating your lawn yourself. Like most everything else in life, convenience comes with a cost. Think about whether the money you spend for someone else to spray your lawn is really worth it.
Buy seedlings and smaller shrubs
Unless you want the immediate gratification of larger trees and shrubs, buying seedlings and very small shrubs and perennials can be a big cost saver. I regularly buy trees for $2 to $5 a piece and after 3 or 4 years are the size of trees that cost $60 or $70. That is quite a return on investment. Also, depending on the plant, some of them grow very quickly and will rapidly mature. You’ll hardly remember that they were once a small little plant in a one-gallon pot.
Buy plants in the off season
Finally, my last tip is one that I use the most. When the first warm days of spring and summer arrive, everyone starts venturing out to the lawn and garden stores. You’ll rarely find “good buys” at this time of year. Instead, plan to do a lot of planting in late fall (October and November in the Southeast United States). Trees, shrubs, and bushes can be found on clearance at 75% off regular price.
If you didn’t already notice, these tips all assume that you are willing to put time and effort into your landscaping. If you aren’t, then most of these tips won’t appeal to you. If you are, they are rather simple ways to have great landscaping at minimal costs.