9 Lawn Care Tips That Can Save You Money & Time
A gorgeous lawn—the lush, green landscape free of weeds—is a status symbol for many homeowners. But, as lovely as that is, that simply doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes time, money, and effort to create a lush greenery. In 2022, the lawn care industry generated about $170 billion in revenue, with an average of $128 spent per consumer unit. With weeding, seeding, watering, mowing, and fertilizing, the cost of lawn upkeep can easily add up. But, if you want a green space that rivals your neighbor’s while spending less, these lawn care tips can help you save money on growing and maintaining your green space.
9 Money-Saving Lawn Care Hacks
Research the Right Type of Grass
A wide range of grass varieties exist, and to save on maintenance costs, opt for the type that naturally thrives in your local conditions. For example, warm-season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine are well-adapted to Florida's warm, sub-tropical climate. They boast low water and maintenance requirements, making them suitable for both residential and commercial settings and in high-traffic areas like a golf course, among other athletic fields.
Identifying the grass type that aligns with the sunlight, soil, and traffic conditions in your area ensures it flourishes with minimal maintenance. Otherwise, you might end up spending on a new lawn every season.
Local farmers usually focus on plants specifically acclimated to the local soil, weather, and other conditions. These plants are easier to maintain and more likely to stay healthier for longer in your area, translating to long-term cost savings.
Water Only as Necessary
Even a low-maintenance lawn requires at least an inch of water weekly, including rainfall. Watering more than that not only increases your water bill but can also do more damage than good to your existing lawn. It can lead to weed growth, fungi, diseases, and root rot. Below are some ways you can conserve water for your landscape:
- Use sprinklers that spray big water drops closer to the ground instead of the ones with a high and fine spray.
- Water at appropriate times—preferably early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the temperatures are cooler, allowing moisture to soak into the ground better. This also gives the plants time to absorb water to get through the day's heat.
- Water slowly and deeply to avoid runoff. This will also promote broader and deeper root growth, essential for establishing a healthier lawn more resistant to damage.
- Always check for leaks and repair faulty sprinklers immediately.
With fertilizer, more isn't always better. Excessive use can lead to burned grass and nutrient leaching, polluting local waterways. In other words, it's essential to apply just the right amount for your lawn's needs.
Using a slow-release fertilizer like NutriPod reduces the risks of using too much fertilizer for grass. Formulated as a grass plug nutrition, it provides a gradual and steady release of nutrients during the initial transplanting stage of plugs, with effects lasting up to 45 days.
For a more precise approach, a soil test can assess the soil pH and its nutrient makeup, providing essential information to make informed decisions about yard fertilization and soil amendments.
Recycle Nutrients Back to the Soil
Another sustainable and cost-effective approach to lawn care is leaving grass clippings on the ground and using them as mulch. Grass clippings are rich in nitrogen and other essential nutrients. Instead of bagging and disposing of them, allow them to decompose on the lawn to return these nutrients to the soil. This natural process improves soil fertility but also supports healthier grass growth. Mulching also helps in moisture retention and preventing weed growth, further cutting down the costs associated with lawn upkeep.
Follow the One-Third Rule
The one-third rule in mowing refers to the widely accepted practice of trimming only one-third of the grass blade height during each mowing session. Anything more than that can stress the grass and hamper its ability to thrive.
Maintaining the appropriate mowing height contributes to a healthier lawn, with benefits such as stronger root development, moisture retention, and overall resilience. It also helps kill weeds by acting as a natural weed suppressant.
Plant with Grass Plugs Instead of Grass Seed
Establishing a green ground cover with grass plugs presents a cost-effective alternative to using grass seed. These pre-grown sections of mature grass, sold in grass plug trays, have developed root systems, which allow them to adapt faster to the soil than the time it takes to nurture a lawn from seed. They also require less water during the initial stage, leading to less watering costs.
Besides establishing a new lawn, grass plugs are also effective in repairing damaged areas, such as bare spots resulting from heavy foot traffic, pests, or diseases. While grass plugs may cost more than seeds upfront, the faster establishment and low maintenance requirements often translate into long-term cost savings.
Weeds compete with grass for essential resources—water, sunlight, and nutrients. By removing them, you ensure that these resources are exclusively available to your desired grass, fostering the development of a healthy, uniform lawn that is more resistant to pests, diseases, and harsh weather conditions. By preventing them in the first place, you can also save on the costs associated with interventions like pesticides and additional lawn care efforts.
Buy Only the Essential Tools
You don't need every gardening tool available in the market. A reliable mower, trimmer, rake, flat spade, and pruning shears should cover the basics of lawn maintenance. Additionally, you'll only need some tools occasionally, so it's more economical to rent them than purchasing them when necessary. An example is a dethatcher, which you may only need 1-2 times a year. For further cost savings, consider opting for double-purpose tools like a sod plugger, which serves multiple functions like planting grass plugs and aerating the lawn.
Incorporating these practical lawn care hacks into your routine is more than a way to cut costs and save time. Whether it's researching your grass option or planting with grass plugs instead of seeds, these tips will also contribute to the long-term health and resilience of your lawn.
By making cost-effective decisions and informed practices, it becomes possible for every homeowner to create a healthy, low-maintenance lawn.