Maintaining a green lawn can be both a chore and a financial drain. With the average lawn requiring more than 10,000 gallons of water each year, there is a lot of room to streamline your lawn care budget to reduce your expenses, as well as your impact on the environment. As fall rolls in, here are a few ways that you can cut your yard-care costs to save some big bucks.
Let your lawn go dormant.
If cutting costs is a higher priority than a perfect lawn, consider allowing your lawn to go dormant in order to save on watering and maintenance costs. Dormancy is simply when the plant reduces its water usage and focuses its resources on the root system, turning brown in the process but not dying. Green grass requires about an inch of water each week, which can really cost you. Most turfgrass can stay in dormancy for three to four weeks, or even longer if it is cold-weather induced.
Switch to a push-reel mower.
Ditch the gas canister, yank-cords, and engine problems for a mower that relies solely on manpower. Manual mowers are low-cost and environmentally friendly, making them a great alternative to noisy, accident-prone gas-powered mowers. You’ll cut your gasoline bill, but you’ll also significantly reduce your environmental impact, since the average lawn trimming with a gas mower creates as much pollution as driving a small car for 200 miles.
Reduce sprinkler use by adding soil amendments.
With the severe drought conditions taking place across the country, water restrictions have become an everyday part of life. But that just means you should make the most effective use of the water you have. I used Soil2O for my lawn. It’s a soil conditioner that captures up to 400 times its weight in water to release over time, allowing your lawn to capture rainwater from autumn storms that would normally be lost to runoff. Hydrogel soil amendments can help promote a healthy root system, while allowing you to cut your weekly watering.
Replace areas of grass with drought-tolerant plants.
Less grass means less time mowing the lawn and a reduced water bill thanks to the hardiness of native plants. Landscaping with trees and plants native to your region ensures that they are already evolved to handle typical local weather patterns and amounts of rain, so there’s no need for replacing entire sections of your lawn once that first cold front hits. Most nurseries and garden centers have caught on to the xeriscaping (water-conserving) trend, giving customers plenty of options when choosing the best low-maintenance plants for their yard. Some communities even offer residents tax breaks and subsidies for designing a water-efficient lawn, which means even more money back in your wallet.
Plant shade trees.
Keep your home cool with the help of Mother Nature. Shady trees help keep your home in cool shadows instead of direct sunlight, decreasing the amount of energy needed to keep the house cool. The best places to plant trees are on the east-and west-facing sides where direct sunlight impacts for the longest time during the day.
Refurbish yard furniture instead of ditching it for a new set.
If you’re willing to put in a little work, make your old yard furniture look like new again with some simple TLC. For a worn ceramic plant pot, choose a fun color of spray paint or ceramic paint that will update it to be a centerpiece, not an eyesore. For other lawn pieces, a good sanding and a fresh coat of paint can go a long way, so think twice before setting them on the curb.