#1 Sweat equity - I've always loved this
expression and have seen its worth in action more than once. Young
newlyweds buy an old house, put a bunch of their own work into it, and
sell it for a profit. This is the truest sense of "sweat equity"
and it can be done with landscaping as well. Investing in your own home brings a sense of
enjoyment and will ultimately increase your home's value.
#2 Three bids - If you aren't planning to do the work
yourself, it's always smart to get 3 bids. This will give you a good
feel for what a job should cost. Make sure the bids compare the same
scope of work and are using the same materials. That way you are
comparing apples with apples, and oranges with oranges. Give the two
losing bidders a second chance to match or beat the winning bidder's specs
#3 Skip a year - This may be a good year to skip something,
like mulching your beds. Chances are that if you have been mulching
every year there could be mulch build-up. If you
have more than 1 or 2 inches of mulch on your beds, you can skip
mulching this year. You may still want to apply a pre-emergent weed
control in Spring.
#4 Fight obesity - Let's call this one:
"The move from Game Boy to Lawn Boy"
I love video games too, but do your kids a favor, get the
family outside working in the yard. There's plenty of time for video
games after the sun goes down. Lawn mowing and landscaping
activities are great for burning calories. There's nothing better
than exercising and saving money at the same time -- double value!
#5 Go without - Most well managed lawns can go without
intensive care for at least one year. Crabgrass is probably already
under control and broadleaf weeds shouldn't need anything more than
spot treatments. Catch any developing insect problems early with
spot treatments. Reduce your fertilization schedule to twice a year
(May and September in the Northeastern U.S.)
#6 Downgrade - Instead of using dyed mulch, or a triple
shredded grade, get back to basics with un-dyed mulch that is only
ground once. Chunkier mulch lasts longer too. It could save you as much as $10 to $15 per cubic yard.
Instead of using high end fertilizers with slow release nitrogen,
look for less expensive products with quick release nitrogen like
you will find at a farm store.
#7 Water less
- Most lawns don't need as much water as they receive. In the
northeastern US, it is usually adequate to water thoroughly once a
week using the equivalent of one-inch of rainfall. Water is most
cost-efficient applied in early morning. For
those who pay sewer fees based on water usage, install a second
water meter to eliminate sewerage fees for water used on your lawn. The
extra water meter usually pays for itself in the first year or two.
Special meaning of
trees on Memorial Day
your new trees