For the green-thumbed homeowner, there are few things as pleasurable as running fingers through soft, moist earth, catching sight of the first flowering buds of spring and inhaling the scent of freshly cut grass.
Tending to a lawn and garden can get expensive. Between seeds, fertilizer and gardening supplies, costs can be high enough to take the pleasure out of lawn care.
Here are 10 creative ways to save on landscaping, so you can have your well-tended lawn and your budget, too.
1. Plant perennials
Go green with your garden by choosing plants that flower year after year. You’ll have to pay more out of pocket when you first plant these blooms, but the cost-free plants you’ll have each year will more than make it worth the price.
2. Make your own compost
Mulch and other soil products may keep your garden healthy, but they’re not as kind on your wallet. Save money by going the DIY route with compost. All you need is a designated outdoor bin to collect your old fruit and veggie peels, plant clippings and dead leaves. After a few weeks, you should have a pile of nutrient-rich soil ready to give your garden the boost it needs to grow and glow.
3. Grow and trade
For a colorful variety of flowers, plant perennials that grow and multiply quickly, like hostas or daylilies. Within a few years, you should have more of these flowers and plants than you need. Then, you can trade them with friends and neighbors for new and interesting plants.
4. Propagate your plants
Grow your garden by helping your plants propagate. You can do this by separating an already growing plant into two and replanting; rooting a leaf or rooting a small stem with leaves. You can propagate new plants in soil or in water. Find out more about propagating here.
5. Choose plants that are natural to your region
For lower-maintenance plants, choose species that grow naturally in your area of the country. You’ll save on extra watering, soil correction and special plant food.
6. Shop the end-of-season sales
The plants in the nursery and home improvement store won’t look too attractive in the fall, but that doesn’t mean they’re useless. Plants that look wilted now can grow beautifully in the spring, as long as the roots are alive and well. Best of all, you can score these healthy plants at bargain prices.
While you’re shopping during the fall sales, you can pick up discounted potted plants, planters, gardening tools, lawn chairs and more.
7. Leave your grass clippings
Looking for an easy and cost-free way to improve your lawn? You already have one! Just leave your grass clippings on the lawn after mowing instead of cleaning them up. The clippings will break down quickly, adding organic matter and nutrients to your grass.
8. Don’t cut your lawn too short
Shorter grass attracts more weeds and will need more herbicides. Higher grass will shade out those pesky weeds while also developing a deeper root system, thus requiring less watering. Keep your grass at 2- 2 ½ inches for best results.
9. Pay attention to pH
It’s important to measure and control the pH level of your lawn. If the ground is too acidic or alkaline, your plants and grass won’t absorb nutrients, no matter how much fertilizer you feed them. Ideally, pH levels on lawns should be between 6.5 and 7. If your lawn’s pH level is too high or too low, you can add lime or sulfur to correct it.
10. Save extra flower seeds
Bought too many seeds to plant this year? No worries; you can save them for another year! Most flower seeds will keep well if stored in a cool and dry place. You can even buy seeds in bulk with plans to save the extra for a more cost-effective purchase.
Gardening is fun and rewarding — and it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Use our tips to cut back on landscaping costs without compromising on the health of your lawn.
Your Turn: How do you save on landscaping costs? Share your best tips and tricks in the comments.