Advertisement
spending

Ways to Save Money on Your Lawn and Garden

These nine tips will help you spend less on plants, mulch, fertilizer and water.

If you love your lawn the way most Americans do, there's a good chance you're shelling out a lot of money each year to maintain it. Americans spend an estimated $40 billion annually on lawn care, according to American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn. However, there are plenty of ways to keep costs associated with your lawn and garden under control. Here are nine:

Get free or cheap mulch. Many cities, counties and utility companies offer residents free mulch made from recycled leaves or wood from tree trimmings and tree removals if you pick it up. Some will deliver it for a fee.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Get free trees by joining the Arbor Day Foundation. Membership is only $10, and you'll receive ten free trees when you join. Your membership also entitles you to a 33% discount on trees when you buy online from the foundation. Planting shade trees close to your home can reduce air conditioning costs up to 20%, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.

Plant seeds, bulbs or smaller plants. You won't get the instant gratification when you plant seeds or bulbs, but you'll get a lot more for your money. For example, a single daylily in a pot is $9.98 at Lowes.com, but a 5-pack of bulbs is $12.93. You also can save a lot by buying quart-sized plants or smaller gallon sizes. For example, a 1-gallon azalea at HomeDepot.comis $21.98 versus $41.98 for a 3-gallon azalea.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Plant native perennials rather than annuals. You might have to pay a little more for a pack of perennial plants than for annuals, but you'll save over the long run because theperennials will come back year after year. And if you buy species that are native to your area, you'll also save money because they usually require less maintenance and water and fewer pesticides. Find out which plants are native to your area.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Buy bargain plants online. DirectGardening.com has a 1-cent sale that allows you to purchase the first quantity of a plant at the regular price then buy the second quantity for just 1 cent.

Soak plants, don't sprinkle them. You can cut water use by up to 50% if you use a soaker hose rather than a sprinkler, according to natural gardening guides. And that translates to a lower water bill. Plus, it's better to just soak the roots rather than water the entire plant because much of the water will evaporate off the leaves, and what's left on the plant can promote the growth of fungus. The city of Bellevue, Wash., has a comprehensive guide to using drip and soaker irrigation systems.

Use rain barrels. You may be able to cut your water costs a little by installing rain barrels at downspouts to collect water. You can attach a hose to the barrels to water your lawn and garden. Some water departments offer free rain barrels, so check with yours to see if it does. If not, you can find rain barrels at home and garden centers and online (about $100 for a 50-gallon barrel). Or you can make your own using a large plastic trash can or metal drum for a fraction of the cost.

Replace water-thirsty lawns with water-wise landscaping. Establishing any new landscape requires more water in the first year or so. But a water-wise one will require less water from start to maturity -- about 20% to 50% less, with more savings if you do without an irrigation system. Your local government may even pay you to downsize your lawn. For example, theSouthern Nevada Water Authority rebates homeowners $1.50 per square foot of grass removed and replaced with desert landscaping up to 5,000 square feet annually (and $1 per square foot beyond the first 5,000 square feet).

Compost to save money on fertilizer. Americans spend $5.25 billion on fertilizers for their lawns, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Yet, you can get fertilizer for free by composting leaves, grass clippings, vegetable scraps and other organic waste. See the Eartheasy.com guide to composting to learn more.

Follow me on Twitter

Advertisement

Most Popular

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?
tax brackets

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?

The IRS unveiled the 2020 tax brackets, and it's never too early to start planning to minimize your future tax bill.
June 20, 2020
65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On
stocks

65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On

These 65 Dividend Aristocrats are an elite group of dividend stocks that have reliably increased their annual payouts every year for at least a quarte…
July 8, 2020
Find a Great Place to Retire
happy retirement

Find a Great Place to Retire

Our cities provide plenty of space to spread out without skimping on health care or other amenities.
July 2, 2020

Recommended

Sales Tax Holidays in 2020
state tax

Sales Tax Holidays in 2020

Sixteen states are having sales tax holidays this year. If you plan your shopping around these tax-free periods, you can save big on back-to-school cl…
July 1, 2020
13 Luxury Goods That Are Cheaper at Costco
spending

13 Luxury Goods That Are Cheaper at Costco

You could be missing out on huge savings: Costco sells a limited selection of luxury goods at discounted prices, both in-store and online.
June 27, 2020
COVID-19: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance to Change Our Spending Habits
spending

COVID-19: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance to Change Our Spending Habits

The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, including how we spend money. Are you spending less right now? Many people are. Here’s how to make th…
June 17, 2020
24 Best Travel Websites to Save You Money
Travel

24 Best Travel Websites to Save You Money

Traveling is fun and you can do it without breaking the bank — you just have to know where to go online first.
June 12, 2020