Money-Saving Lawn Care Tips

While having a beautiful yard is a great investment in your home’s value, keeping your outdoor space green, lush and lovely can also quickly turn into a money pit if you’re not careful. These surprising tips will not only help you pocket more savings, but also spend less time fussing over your green space.

Start from seed.

If you’re creating or refreshing a yard space or moving into a new home, you’ve probably already realized that sod takes a mighty chunk out of your landscaping budget. Starting from seed takes time and a lot of TLC, but the savings is significant: Seed weighs in at about .08 cents per square foot, while the cheapest sod starts around .30 cents per square foot and up from there. When you multiply the difference over several thousand square feet of lawn, that’s hundreds or even thousands of dollars in savings. Bonus: Working from seed means you can choose from more varieties of grass and customize your lawn to better suit your conditions, which leads to the next tip…

Choose the right grass.

Growing Kentucky bluegrass in the heart of the high desert means you’ll be pouring water and fertilizer on it like crazy, spiking your water bill, and sending you scurrying to the hardware store for products to keep it at its best. Replant or reseed your lawn with the right grass for the location—drought-hardy, shade-loving, etc.

Shop with a friend.

Buying large bags of grass seed, fertilizer, or bulk flats of annuals for landscaping is cheaper than 4-packs of larger plants; go in with a friend and divide.

Keep your grass longer.

Think 2.5 inches or so. Taller grass establishes a deeper root system, which means you won’t have to water as often. Also, a taller lawn is better at crowding out weeds, which means less money spent on weeding and feeding.

Opt for native plants.

Plants that are suited to the conditions require less fuss to keep them healthy—that means saving money on soil remediation and feeding as well as watering.

Invest in a mulching mower.

Instead of bagging and trashing lawn clippings, get a mower that turns cut grass into a nutritious mulch. Mulching improves lawn health, retains moisture, fertilizes it naturally, and saves on watering. Plus, mulching eliminates the labor, time, and money you would spend on bagging and disposal.

Get an irrigation audit.

If you water your lawn, proper irrigation practices, system design and audits can lead to 30 to 80 percent water savings, according to the Colorado State University Extension office.

Xeriscape your yard.

According to an estimate by the CSU Extension, the amount of water a Kentucky bluegrass lawn in Colorado needs to stay green in summer is 2.5 inches of water per week, which translates to an average of about 2,500 gallons of water per week to keep a tiny 1,000 square-foot lawn green, assuming no rainfall. Xeriscaping cuts that—and your water bill—in half, according to a study by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

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