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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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May 05, 2013 at 9:49 pm


April 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Mulch will help save your fertilizer and give you a moisture base. Take the dead off/low height if you have Bermuda on your first mowing before mulching.

April 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Spot spray pre-emergence weeds..Keep a sharp blade. Also water pre-dawn twice a week 10 min. each zone. Never shut down a water system. Always use a rain sensor. They are a very inexpensive way to save water and electricity. Happy Mowing!M.J.

tara dillard
April 28, 2013 at 6:48 am

Fertilizer encourages new growth. New growth needs water.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

April 27, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Never water at night, early morning is best too avoid rot and mold. Use corn gluten in early spring and late fall, it is a natural slow release fertilizer that will also disrupt the weeds reseeding. Most commercial fertilizers are nothing more than poison, bad for your soil, your kids and your pets. Water your lawn once or twicw weekly with deep watering. Follow these tips and your lawn will look great.

Bill Jones
April 25, 2013 at 10:03 am

Thank you for sharing this article. It is very informative. The only thing that bothers me now is my time to do all these.

April 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm

It is very good if you have do could not have paid for carpet cleaning,paint etc.the best bet is to have a small local lawn maintenance who charge dirt $25.00 per acer.

April 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm

less frequent waterings develop a stronger root system. 1 inch of water per week is sufficent.Our water is recycled waste water, but I stll fertilize 3 time a year. spring ,winter, and fall. Too much runoff in summer in Florida. Never cut too short for better root system

April 21, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Watering at night enable root rotting. Never water at night. Early morning is better.

April 21, 2013 at 11:38 am

I thought it was interesting that they stressed fertilization. I think it's the best method of crowding out weeds, too.