5 tips for a low-cost, low-stress yard
Get the most out of your water dollars
Looking for a cheap way to save water, prevent weeds and help plants thrive? Use mulch. "It's one of those things people overlook," says Liz Primeau, author of "Front Yard Gardens."
Her formula is "No less than 2 inches (deep) all around plants." And don't mulch right up to the plant itself, she warns. "That will suffocate them." Instead, stop about 2 inches from the stem.
If you (or a neighbor) have a tree or stump removed, ask the workers to leave the resulting wood chips for your yard, Primeau says. Not only does it save money and landfill space, but you'll get a ton of garden-ready mulch.
When Primeau recently had a dead tree removed, the result was 12 yard bags of wood-chip mulch -- enough to cover "the whole garden," she says.
Another key to less stress and smaller water bills is to use a network of drip hoses. They use minimal water and soak roots, which is exactly where the plants need water, Primeau says. Instead of buying a couple and moving them around, get enough for all of the areas you water regularly and leave them in place for the season.