Curb appeal can make or break a home. Having a beautifully landscaped yard can raise property values and make the home feel like a sanctuary. While lawn care can be expensive, there are many ways to save cash but still have a gorgeous, incredible yard.
DIY landscaping can save thousands of dollars over the course of homeownership. Even with the purchase of a mower and gardening tools, you’ll still come out ahead by not hiring someone for yard care and maintenance. With YouTube and Pinterest available, instructions for just about any kind of lawn project are readily available.
Some lesser-used lawn equipment, like aerators or tillers, can be rented instead of purchased. Try to schedule the rental at a time when neighbors need the same equipment and save even more money by splitting the cost.
Mow and Irrigate Correctly
Mowing grass too short requires more water and increases the risk of disease. Set the mower to only cut the top third of the grass, and keep the blade sharpened. Otherwise, you could end up tearing grass instead of cutting it properly.
The best time to water your grass is in the early morning hours. Irrigating during the heat of the day leads to evaporation before the water can really soak in. And setting sprinklers to go off during the middle of the night can cause fungus and mildew.
Also, pay close attention to local water restrictions. Watering too much or at the wrong time of day not only hurts your lawn but can mean increased water rates or fines.
Stick to Native Plants
Depending on where you live, some plants will thrive and others will flounder. It’s easy to choose plants and trees based on how pretty they look on display, but do a bit of research before heading out to the garden center.
The USDA has a handy plant hardiness zone map. Click on your state or enter the zip code for a recommendation of plants that will grow well in your area. By choosing plants that thrive under local climate and soil conditions, you won’t have to replace foliage that didn’t make it through the winter.
Choose Perennials Over Annuals
Perennials are flowers that persist through many growing seasons while annuals have to be replaced every year. With new lawns or landscaping projects, there will always be an upfront cost. Choosing native perennials means you’ll be able to enjoy savings by avoiding the need to buy new plants every spring. Annuals can still have a place in the garden, but limit them to planters or borders.
Plant in the Fall Instead of Spring
Once fall rolls around, nurseries and home improvement centers slash prices on plants and trees. Fall can be a great time to plant because there are fewer bugs, and fertilizer is not needed late in the year. Remember that even hardy plants need time to acclimate before winter. A general rule of thumb is to plant six weeks before hard frost is expected in your area.
Getting that to-die-for lawn doesn’t have to cost a fortune. By using a few of the above pointers, you’ll be well on your way to having a personal oasis to come home to at the end of the day.
Kim Parr is an author who writes about ways to save and make more money at Eyes on the Dollar.