WRITTEN BY REALTY TIMES STAFF
The lawn and landscape outside your home can be your own personalized creation, and it does not have to be expensive. It is through the effort of creating what you want within your limitations – both financial and physical – that you come to love the space you craft. By learning frugal methods to care for your lawn and landscape, you can have the lawn you want within the budget you can afford.
By installing native plants, mulching appropriately and minimizing the size of your actual lawn, you can save a lot of money on maintenance and watering. Your local Master Gardener group, or the local city government, will likely have information on xeriscaping for your area. Lush green lawns are certainly beautiful and pleasant to play on, but they are also resource intensive. Unless you are one of the lucky few that live in an area with heavy rainfall, you will spend large amounts of money keeping a large lawn alive. According to Bankrate.com, a 4,000 square foot lawn takes an average of 2,500 gallons of water a week to stay green, or about $400 a year in water costs.
Cost Effective Lawn Care Tools
Once you have minimized your lawn space, you can determine exactly what tools you need to care for your landscape. If the lawn is small enough, a push reel mower may be enough. Push mowers can be hard to use if you have physical limitations, though. Electric push mowers are also another excellent option. Older models used to require an extension cord, but newer models are often cord-free, according to Nature’s Finest Seed. Other accessories, like leaf blowers, can also ease your cleanup and make for a nicer looking landscape. Electric models are not terribly expensive, and can offer a quick solution to sidewalk clutter.
Compost Organic Waste
Composting is a wonderful way to recycle your food scraps into valuable fertilizer or top soil. Small bags of compost can be expensive and it seems silly to pay so much when you can just make your own. Pre-made compost containers are always an option, but you do not have to spend a lot of money if you have a little out-of-the-way space to make a pile. Chicken wire and wood scraps are enough to cordon off a small area for dumping your organic waste, including lawn clippings, food scraps, leaves and anything else the naturally decays. Remember to turn the pile every month or so, and eventually you will have your own fertilizer.
Water is one of the greatest expenses for the home gardener. Water conservation is in everyone’s best interest, and local city governments will often have information on how to conserve water across your entire home. Take the time to learn about minimizing the water use in your lawn, and it will save you money for the foreseeable future.
Going green with your yard is great, but if done well it can also add to the value of your home. SFGate.com notes that good landscaping with a coherent layout and plan can add from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent to the value of your home. On a $300,000 home, that can add up to $38,100 in value.
Beautiful lawns and landscapes do not have to be expensive. By adopting the above practices, you can begin creating the landscape you want within your budget. Not only will you save money, you will also do the environment a favor as well.