Don't much care for working in your yard? If watching your neighbor manicure his or her lawn that would rival any professional golf course makes you feel a little bit inadequate, it might help to know that you're in the majority. According to consumer reports, only 7% of Americans enjoy working in their yards and for those that don't, it appears to be a pretty healthy hate. Sixty-two percent of homeowners said they prefer cooking, 33% said they would rather visit their in-laws and 17% said they enjoy the dentist more than their own yard.
There is some good news if you're looking for that professional look, but don't want to put in the time. A lot of the time, the money and effort people invest into their lawns isn't necessary. Here's how to save money and time while still rivaling the beautiful lawn across the street.
According to experts, higher grass has plenty of advantages. First, grass cut too low grows faster in order to gain surface area for photosynthesis. Taller grass doesn't grow faster because it has the surface area it needs to gain energy from the sun. Second, higher grass robs weeds of much needed sunlight. When grass is cut too low, weeds rob the grass of the sun. Help your grass win the battle by putting your mower on the highest setting and let your grass grow to 5.5 inches before mowing. Not only will you mow less frequently, you'll save gas and wear and tear on your mower.
Some fertilizer companies tell you to fertilize your lawn five times or more. Most lawns will thrive if you fertilize on Memorial and Labor Day. This could save $50 per year or more along with the time you spend applying the fertilizer. If you use a lawn service, the savings are even higher.
If you hate mowing and bagging the clippings, don't do it. Removing the clippings from your lawn robs the soil of the nutrients found in the freshly cut clippings. Purchase a mulching mower and leave the bag in the garage.
Watering your lawn a little each day promotes shallow roots making your lawn less resistant to periods of little rain. Instead, deep water your lawn once per week. Place a few canisters around your lawn with a mark that represents one inch of water. Once those canisters reach the one inch line, you know you've watered your lawn enough.
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn't it? Purchase a $20 compost bin from your local garden or home improvement store and fill it with yard waste. A mixture of green waste like freshly cut weeds, leaves and leftover grass clippings along with some brown items like fall leaves, cardboard, dead plants and small animal bedding provide the perfect ingredients to make the perfect low-cost and eco-friendly fertilizer. About the only maintenance your compost bin will need is a quick mixing once per week.
Buy Low Maintenance
Not all grass is created equal. Instead of purchasing the grass seed that is on sale at your local home store, purchase a species that is drought resistant, doesn't require a lot of water and is slow-growing.
The Bottom Line
Taking care of your lawn doesn't have to mean a lot of money. These tips will save you time and money, leaving you to enjoy your beautiful lawn with your family instead of spending all of your time working on it.