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How to save on lawn care

By Paula Pant ·
Monday, April 15, 2013
Posted: 3 pm ET

When I was a kid, I loved running through our freshly mowed lawn on warm spring and summer afternoons. But as an adult, I look at the lawn and start seeing bills and receipts. Who knew lawns could be so expensive?

Lawn care demands a huge list of tasks: seeding, fertilizing, watering, mowing, trimming and maintaining. Here are some tips for curbing those costs.

Fertilize well

This first tip might sound counterintuitive: How can buying fertilizer save you money?

I know that lawn fertilizers cost a bundle. A 30-pound bag of lime at my local home improvement store costs $15. (Lime helps acidic soils absorb fertilizer and seed better.) An additional bag of all-around fertilizer costs another $18. That means we've just shelled out $33 plus tax, and growing season hasn't even started yet.

But fertilizers help keep your grass green, strong and healthy throughout the hot summer months. That means you will spend less money watering the lawn.

Water at night

The single biggest way in which I save money on lawn care is by not watering my lawn. I fertilize it well and then let nature take its course.

Of course, I also live in a humid environment. If you live in a part of the country in which you must water your lawn, run the sprinklers at night or in the early morning before dawn. Less water will evaporate, which means you will get more for your money.

Mow it yourself

If you can cobble together the upfront cash to buy a lawn mower, you will save big bucks by mowing your own lawn rather than hiring a local lawn care company.

You can save even more by purchasing a low-maintenance lawn mower. My first mower (which I bought in 2011) was an old-fashioned push mower, the kind without an engine. It took me a little longer to mow the lawn, but I never had to pay for gasoline or tuneups.

Avoid grass altogether

Have you heard of xeriscaping? It's the practice of filling your yard with drought-tolerant native plants that don't require watering.

Most people associate xeriscaping with arid climates such as Arizona, but you can do it anywhere, even moist climates such as my state of Georgia. This practice can save you a ton of money on watering and maintaining your yard.

Paula Pant blogs at about creating wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to nearly 30 countries, owns five rental units and works for herself. Follow Paula on Twitter @AffordAnything.

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April 21, 2013 at 9:19 am

why do we have to turn everything in to a hate issue. if you have nothing constructive to say well then say nothing,

April 21, 2013 at 8:11 am

Watering at night in a humid environment invites fungal lawn problems. It sounds as if this author derives income from writing articles, but this one should have been better researched.

April 21, 2013 at 8:05 am

If you live in a humid area, watering at night is a VERY bad idea, especially in July and August. It promotes fungus growth, which is expensive to treat.

Watering just before dawn is best because the morning air is saturated, and you lose the least water to evaporation.

Michael W
April 20, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Hey all, I agree with some you that this article is a bit useless if you have ever done anything with a lawn before. I wanted to comment that I once saw an episode of "this old house" and they were making their own fertilizer that was completely organic and cheap and gets sprayed on lawn in liquid form. It does require some work to mix ingredients but could definately be worth the effort.

April 19, 2013 at 1:17 am

my respectable comment was not posted. i see that comments are culled

April 17, 2013 at 7:14 pm

I really doubt if Paula, the author, is a man Kenny! And Peter, first, if you don't like it, don't read it! Second, sorry to say that there are a lot of stupid people,(and municipalities), that don't seem to know not to water during the day.

April 17, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Ditto Peter

April 17, 2013 at 4:40 pm

This is possibly the stupidest, most useless article I have ever read!!!!

April 17, 2013 at 3:04 pm


April 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Be a man and take care of your own lawn