New Visitors Privacy Policy Sponsorship Contact Us Media
Baby Boomers Family Green Home and Auto In Critical Condition Just Starting Out Lifestyle Money
- advertisement -
Bankrate.com
News & Advice Compare Rates Calculators
Rate Alerts  |  Glossary  |  Help
Mortgage Home
Equity
Auto CDs &
Investments
Retirement Checking &
Savings
Credit
Cards
Debt
Management
College
Finance
Taxes Personal
Finance



Home > Home Equity >

Low-maintenance lawns

North Americans have a deep-seated love affair with their lawns. While some consider the 1950s as the golden age of lawn care, visit any hardware store or garden centre in the spring and you'll shopping carts filled with the latest and greatest in grass seed, fertilizers, weed control, sprinkler systems and lawn mowers. According to Statistics Canada, Canadians spent a total of $28.8 million on hardware, lawn and garden products in 2007.

But in our current age of water restrictions, soaring fuel costs and cosmetic pesticide bans, there's a growing trend toward cultivating a low-maintenance lawn.

So, if you're tired of tending to your wannabe putting green, read on to learn some ways to reduce the time spent tending to your grass so you can free up more time to enjoy it.

The trouble with turf grass
Lawn care can be a lot of work. That's because conventional lawns, especially ones installed as sod, are typically made up of a single species of fine turf grass, such as Kentucky Bluegrass.

- advertisement -

According to organic lawn care provider Steve Wraggett, of Nature's Choice Landworks & Design, in Hamilton, Ont., this grass species has its perks: it's got a deep, sought-after green colour, it's thick and it tolerates foot traffic reasonably well. When put down as sod, it's a quick and relatively inexpensive way to get an instant lawn.

But there are downsides. "It looks nice when it's first installed, but it always requires a huge effort and expense to maintain it," says Wraggett.

That's because it takes much longer than other species to establish, so it requires much more initial support in terms of water and fertilizers. Even when rooted, it still needs lots of water and good light conditions, it's more prone to disease and requires frequent mowing.

This translates into increased water consumption, air and noise pollution from electric or gas-powered trimmers and mowers and the use (and sometimes abuse) of additives such as pesticides and fertilizers.

But there is an alternative. Low-maintenance lawns provide the benefits of a conventional lawn without all the inputs and extra costs -- and these costs can be considerable.

In fact, according to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, or CMHC, study of 30 residential landscapes, residents with low-maintenance lawns spent 50 percent less time, 85 percent less money, 50 percent less fuel, 85 percent less fertilizer, 100 percent less pesticides and 100 percent less water per year than residents with conventional lawns.

What is a low-maintenance lawn?
As defined by the CMHC, low-maintenance lawns are made up of a diverse mix of hardy, drought-tolerant, slow-growing and low-height turf grasses, fescues and wear-tolerant broadleaf species.

A typical low-maintenance lawn is made up of 40 percent fescues (such as chewings, creeping red and hard fescue), 40 percent other grasses (such as Kentucky Bluegrass and perennial ryegrass) and 20 percent broadleaf species (such as clover and trefoils).

(continued on next page)
-- Posted: April 23, 2008
See Also
Spring home maintenance checklist
Here comes the sun
Tenant insurance
More home equity stories
Rates
Overnight Averages* +/-
Variable open mtg 3.85%
48 month new car loan 8.48%
1 yr redeemable GIC 0.86%
Compare rates in your province
Auto loans
Chequing accounts
Credit cards
GICs
Home equity loans
Mortgages
Personal loans
RRIF GICs
RRSP GICs
Savings Accounts
What Bankrate Readers
are reading
Getting rid of household pests
Looking for adventure? Go WWOOFing
Collateral mortgages
Tax planning 101
Ebates 101
The cost of solo travel
Spring home maintenance checklist
Calculators
Credit and Debt
Mortgage
Savings
More
 
- advertisement -

About Bankrate | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Online Media Kit | Partnerships | Investor Relations | Press Room | Contact Us | Sitemap
NYSE: RATE | RSS Feeds |

* Mortgage rate may include points. See rate tables for details. Click here.
* To see the definition of overnight averages click here.

Bankrate.com ®, Copyright © 2014 Bankrate, Inc., All Rights Reserved, Terms of Use.