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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 11:27 am

I was a master gardener and it is an absolute no-no to water at night. You are looking for fungal problems at night.
Lime takes more than one seasaon (about a year)to absorb in the ground especially if the ground is dry.

To just put lime down without testing your ground is dumb, you may be hurtin git more than helping it.

The first thing to do is to have your soil tested, best by the Agricultural service or use a good kit and follow the instructions exactly. You must take some soil from several different areas of you land get the proper outcome. And you must know if the soil is to be used for lawns, shrubs fruits and or vegetables. A one size fits all regime just will not work.

April 21, 2013 at 10:58 am

Have you ever noticed that wen some puts something on the internet that perhaps will help others there are always the bozos that ridicule it. I'll bet they would critisize free love, apple pie, the American flag, and nickle beer.
I feel sorry for these people. What a barren life they must have.

April 21, 2013 at 10:45 am

You can buy a really good brand new power mower for about $300 - $400. Lawn services these days charge $50 a per mowing, at least. At those prices it doesn't take long to recupe the cost of your mower. As long as you don't mind a little work and getting out in the heat.

April 21, 2013 at 10:26 am

I own a landscaping company in Memphis,tn and most people will pay $30 to $35 to have there yard cut every week and that includes mowing, edging, trimming, and blowing off of driveways, sidewalks etc. when it gets 98degrees outside here in the summer with heat index of 110 most people don't want to cut there own lawn!!!

April 21, 2013 at 10:19 am

@'s not a hate issue, it's someone giving bad advice that could lead to alot more problems! It's people like this that cause HUGE out of pocket expense after the fact! Seen it first hand friend!

April 21, 2013 at 10:13 am

Did you guys read the article? what does evaporation have to do with with wind? The point is, water evaporates more readily in the heat and sun, and it is cooler at night or early morning- duh...

April 21, 2013 at 9:39 am

Who knew the wind only blows during the day? I guess I've never noticed that before...

April 21, 2013 at 9:27 am

I would like to see the author of this article pushing the law mower without engine in Florida. It's impossible. Wrong idea.

April 21, 2013 at 9:25 am

@lucille. I agreed with you to some extend. But the author also sezs to water in the early morning hours. My irrigation goes off about 2 hours before sunrise - when there is no wind. Do not water while the sun is up. So many people water during the day and the water is blown everywhere but on the lawn!

Don't recommend liming until a soil Ph is determined.

elmer wyatt
April 21, 2013 at 9:24 am

This article should have been done to include each state for what they need for a beautiful lawn , not just one mans idea. "Try again with something more useful.