Kennedi writes for Face & Fitness about frugal fashion, budget beauty and other women’s personal finance topics.
Do you own a home with a yard? I just bought my first home a couple of years ago, and I was shocked – SHOCKED – when I discovered how much time and money I sunk into caring for my yard. Installing a sprinkler system, paying the high water bill, using fertilizer, getting bags of seed, buying a ph-tester (yes, I’m serious!), getting an aerator … those expenses drained hundreds from my pocket, and that’s just for the start of the season! After that came the cost of buying and maintaining a lawnmower. And since my house doesn’t have a garage, I need a shed to store all this stuff!
Wow. It’s amazing how expensive yard care can be. Before you blow your entire paycheck, check out these tips on budget lawn-care.
1. Water your lawn during off-peak hours. Instead of wasting money on water that will just evaporate, water your garden when the sun isn’t bearing down on it. This is especially necessary during the summer, when water evaporates the fastest. The best time to water is during the early morning hours.
2. Don’t over-water. There’s no reason to water your lawn daily (unless you’re starting new grass seed). A deep soaking once a week should be sufficient for established lawns. And if it’s rained that week, you can skip watering entirely!
3. Take advantage of coupons. Couponing really can save you tons of money if you use the right ones. Fertilizer coupons are especially useful because you can get the best nutrients at a discount, which makes your lawn stronger and healthier.
4. Watch where you walk. If you want to keep your lawn looking fluffy and beautiful then you need to be careful where you walk. Too much traffic in a highly-concentrated space can wear down your grass blades. Walk in a zig-zag pattern, or take a different route through your lawn each time you walk through it, in order to prevent your grass from looking worn down in certain areas. This will help you save money on re-seeding your lawn.
If you have children, encourage them to play in different areas of your lawn – perhaps the front yard on one day, the side yard on another, the backyard the next day.
5. Keep a sharp lawnmower blade. If you are mowing your lawn with a dull blade then you are wasting precious time and money on your yard. Not only does a dull blade require more work, it is also not good for your yard. Dull blades increase the susceptibility of your grass to fungal infections because of where the blade cuts the grass. It also creates an unpleasant cosmetic look as the grass looks dull and tinted. And it increases the likelihood that you’ll wear the blade down to the point at which you can’t re-sharpen it, which means you’ll need to take it in for a professional tune-up or buy a new lawnmower.
6. Maintain your equipment. From aerators to sprinkler accessories, you’ll buy a lot of equipment for your yard. You can easily save money on your yard by making sure to keep up with your lawn tools. Bring tools inside (in a garage or shed) when you’re not using them, so that they won’t be exposed to sun and rain. Don’t leave the garden hose lying around (it’ll almost certainly get run over by the lawnmower!) Clean your tools regularly. And give any electrical tools, like trimmers, an annual tune-up.