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Saving Money on Your Lawn this Spring

by Joe Cooper, All About Lawns Columnist

Already dreading the landscaping costs that await you as soon as the temperature changes? Take a look at some of the tips below to help reduce your springtime spend (and your carbon footprint, too).

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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  • Conserve water and cash.
    • Water is expensive! Water only in the early morning or evenings and for shorter periods of time, maximizing your resources and minimizing your water bill.
    • If you live in a warm climate, check with your local water authority for a list of desert-friendly plants. Some groups will even pay homeowners for the removal of existing plants/trees and the installation of more dry weather options.
    • Textured elements like gravel, mulch, and bark can add great accents to your lawn. Why crowd your yard with a huge variety of water-hungry plants? A little gravel or mulch goes a long way for your yard's aesthetics and your water budget.
  • Fertilizer and mulch are expensive. So don't buy them.
    There is a variety of simple recipes for homemade fertilizer and mulch, alleviating the need to purchase these products from your local greenhouse or hardware store.
    • For plants, mixing 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt with 1 gallon of water makes great fertilizer.
    • Wood chips make great mulch. Green clippings from your lawn and shrubs also help. Coffee grounds and vegetable scraps add nitrogen and moisture, great elements for the plants in your yard.
  • Trees? Make them work for your home's interior too.
    A well placed tree can reduce energy costs by blocking heat during warmer months.
    • City ordinances maintain limits on how close trees can stand near or hang over homes, so check first, but a large tree or series of small ones can make a dramatic statement to your yard and help preserve your home's temperature during the summer.
    • The air underneath a tree can be as much as 25 degrees cooler than the air above a blacktop driveway or street.
    • Wondering how trees help you during the winter? If you live in a windy region, trees can act as "windbreaks," letting your heater work a little less hard during cooler months. Some landscapers have found that placing trees as a border around a home can reduce energy costs by as much as one third.

You get a bonus from following the cash-conserving tips above: you also conserve the environment. Conserving energy, water, and creating your own reusable landscaping supplies are all great ideas for the season that's right around the corner.

About the Author
Joe Cooper writes education, home services, and design articles, and manages corporate communications. He holds a bachelor's in American Literature from UCLA.

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