One thing no one ever explained to me what how much money it cost to keep up a yard. I mean, who knew the cost of plants, tools, seed, soil, and fertilizer cost so much? Not me.
The bigger the yard, the more it costs. Not to mention, the cost of paying someone else to care for and maintain your yard is not cheap. The costs can add up really quick!
Our family climbed out of debt on a variable income in a short amount of time. The only way we were able to pull that off, was by only spending the bare minimum. Our budget was tight. That meant for a couple of years our yard was a hot mess. We mowed it and that was it!
Related: How we paid off $18,000 in 18 months
After we were debt free and increased our income, I hesitantly agreed to start throwing some money into our yard. I've learned a lot along the way. You can keep up your yard without breaking the bank.
If your yard needs a little love and you don't have a lot of wiggle room in your budget, pick one of our two of our tips to save you money this year!
If you can afford to, hiring out for your lawn care needs is a great option. Don't feel like you have to take the first bid. Negotiate with your local lawn care companies. I learned this trick from my dad.
Growing up people would come to our door all the time to ask for work. They would want to trim trees or do other outdoor work. He was always upbeat and kind, but he always negotiated.
Always. He never took the first bid.
You don't need to feel salesy or cheap to negotiate. One of the ways I always negotiate is to ask how much it would cost to pay a year in advance. Be polite, smile and just ask!
The worst they can say is "NO."
Most lawn care companies will give you a bid for a monthly fee to maintain your lawn. Did you know that most companies will give you a discount to prepay? In my experience, they don't advertise this discount.Always ask!
A couple of years ago, we saved 15% by simply pre-paying for the year! I felt like I won the lottery.
2. DELEGATE JOBS TO YOUR KIDS
As your kids get older, involve them in lawn maintenance. Kids as young as 5 can help you weed flower gardens and water plants. My seven-year-old is the boss of our cordless lawn blower. He cleans the sidewalks and driveways after his sister mows! It is a perfect job for him.
Older kids can mow the lawn. Teach them safety and be around to make sure they are following all your safety tips! Your whole family can be involved in the lawn maintenance.
We pay our kids a small fee to mow. You could include lawn maintenance as a family chore everyone participates in! Do what works for your family.
Talk to your kids about how much we could save by doing this chore as a family. Maybe you could save that money for a special treat! Including them in working hard to reach a goal is great motivation!
3. SHOP LOCAL
Find a local nursery in your community and buy your lawn and garden supplies there. Although I am a regular at my local big box hardware stores, when it comes to our yard I like to shop at local garden stores.
In my experience, local companies have specific mixes for YOUR soil and climate. If you have a problem area in your yard, a local company can give you just what you need for your soil needs. Our local lawn company has never steered us wrong.
We buy plants, flowers, and plant food from our local companies a lot. They can guide you toward what plants will thrive in your yard and how to care for them. In short, local garden shops are a treasure trove of information! You can learn so much there!
3. USE A MULCHING LAWNMOWER
A mulching lawnmower returns grass clippings back to the soil. As you mow, it shreds your grass into tiny pieces and deposits those pieces on top of your lawn. When you are done mowing, you'll see those tiny pieces all over your lawn. They will sink into your lawn within a day or so.
Those tiny pieces will break down and provide excellent nutrients to your lawn. Plus, you'll save money on bags for your grass clippings.
Mulching is also great for leaves. A mulching lawn mower will mince your leaves into tiny pieces. After leaves are shredded, they provide nutrients for your lawn as well. Be sure to set your blade on the highest setting and know that it may take a few times to mulch all your leaves depending on how many leaves are on your lawn.
4. PLANT PERENNIALS
First things first, do you know the difference between annuals and perennials? I didn't either for the longest time, so don't be shy. Here is a little plant school for you:
Perennials: plant once and they should come up again year after year. After you plant perennials, they don't need a lot of upkeep. In fact, many perennials spread quickly, filling out garden beds.
Annuals: plant once and die. These flowers do not regrow.
Obviously, if you want to save a little cash, plant perennials in your yard and garden beds. Perennials don't have to be boring! Learn about what perennials thrive in your climate and plant some. I often plant a few annuals in with my perennials for color, but the majority of my plants are perennials.
Find an older neighbor in your neighborhood who has beautiful landscaping. Often times I find those people to be the experts on plants!
Ask for advice. Ask them what perennials they have in their yard and what you should plant! You will probably come away with more plant knowledge you ever thought possible!
5. START A COMPOST
Composting is a great way to save money on buying soil for your garden. A compost is basically a layer of organic material that turn into soil. If done correctly, a compost will break down natural organic matter into a nutrient rich soil. In other words, the soil you make in your compost will likely be better than anything you buy at the store!
Be sure to only include natural materials in your compost such as garden clippings, dry leaves, fruit and vegetable scraps, shredded paper, coffee grinds, egg shells and so much more! Be sure to include a dash of soil!
6. PAINT AND UPDATE OUTDOOR FURNITURE AND POTS
Outdoor furniture has come a long way since I was a kid. I'm pretty sure the only outdoor furniture I saw back then was white wicker.
Now outdoor furniture is as sophisticated as an indoor living room set! And just as pricey too! I can't stomach spending a small fortune on something that will be ruined by our lovely Midwest weather, but I do want a nice, inviting outdoor space.
Consider painting old outdated furniture instead of buying new. Ashley over at At Home with Ashley has a stunning deck remodel on a budget. It gives me all kinds of inspiration. A simple coat of paint transforms outdoor furniture.
While you're at it, buy inexpensive pots from the garden store or at a garage sale and paint those too! Outdoor spray paint has come a long way! You could paint your pots with a splash of color or a metallic gold. It is a cheap update that will instantly warm up and update your space!
If you want to save some serious cash this year on your lawn try negotiating with lawn care providers. Find simple jobs you can delegate to your family.
Spring is a great time to find a mulching lawnmower on sale. Better yet, look on Craigslist for a mower or new to you lawn furniture! Ask around at your local garden store about perennials. Plant a few and watch them come up again next year!
Saving money on your yard doesn't have to be complicated. Do you what works for your family. Remember, when it comes to saving money every little bit helps!