Living Well on Less series-saving money on your lawn and garden

It's another month, and another opportunity to share with you 
a few ways that our family is able to live well on less.
In case you missed the previous posts in this series, you can find them here:
Saving money on travel and entertainment
Save money on clothes for the whole family
15 tips to save money on your food bill
saving money on your cell phone
how to survive without cable
I've had a few blog readers suggest that I offer up some tips for ways to save money on your lawn and garden, and I am happy to oblige!
My husband and I bought our first house when I was 22 and we have learned a lot through the years!
There are lots of extra expenses of home ownership that are inevitable, but over time, we have found some tips and tricks to keep the costs low.
Yard waste container
I don't know if the yard waste bin is a west coast trend or if it happens all over the country, but every month our trash collection agency charges us an extra $10 for our yard waste bin.  We usually only fill up our yard waste bin in the summer when we are weeding and putting in grass clippings, so around October every year, I call our trash collection agency and tell them to cancel our yard waste service.  I just recently restarted the service this month, so from October-April we save $70.  Many people don't realize they can do this.  Look into it if you aren't using your bin.
While we are talking about garbage collection, when we bought our first house, our trash service already had a large 60 gallon container that we were being charged for.  I quickly learned that we could get a smaller can and a lower garbage bill {we saved $10 a month switching to a smaller can}.  We rarely filled our garbage bin full and our family of five can easily make do with a 30 gallon container.  

When we bought our first house, the homeowners were downsizing to a condo and didn't need their nearly new lawnmower.  We purchased it from them for $100.  It served us well until my husband mowed over a boulder, and a replacement lawnmower was found at a garage sale {again, a nearly new lawnmower in great condition}.  That said, garage sales and second hand are a great place to buy like new lawn equipment.   Mowing your own grass can save you upwards of $100 a month or more!
The only lawn maintenance I hire out is once a year {usually in March or April}, I ask the lawn service that is already in the neighborhood servicing our neighbors lawn, if they can edge my lawn for me.  I pay them $20 cash.  My husband hates doing it, and it's important to me to have it done.  I know some people edge their lawn every time they mow it.  I bought my husband a commercial grade lawn edger {at a garage sale of course!}, and he promptly broke it {coincidence?  I think not!} so it continues to sit broken in my father in law's garage {he's waiting for help to fix the problem...or something}, even though an edged nicely cut green lawn makes his wife happy.  $20 once a year to get my lawn edged keeps me happy...ish.
Lawn Care Services
Several of our neighbors hire out their lawn care maintenance.  You know, the guys who come along in their official looking trucks, reel out their long hoses and start spraying chemicals all over the lawn.  When we first moved in, I had the neighborhood service give me a quote.  I was appalled at how much it was!  After I got that quote, I quickly rationalized that I could get a lawn fertilizer spreader {at a garage sale for $3} and pick up a bag of the best fertilizer in spring, summer and fall, and still not even come close to one lawn application!  So that is what I did!  I spend around $20 on fertilizer each year by looking for sales and rebates and I spread on fertilizer in the spring, summer and fall.
I shared with you a few years ago how we hired a landscape designer at our old house when we re did our yard.  For around $100 a plant expert drew out a plan for our yard and gave us a plant by number version for us to use.  Since I had tried and failed, this advice was priceless.  It gave me the confidence to try my hand at landscape design at our new house.
So with favorite plant names in hand, I headed over to Wal-Mart.  Not my favorite store, but cheap plants with a year long guarantee had me sold.  If you are buying plants, check with the store or nursery that you are buying them at and see what their guarantee is.  Sometimes you buy a plant and it just doesn't like it's new home.  It's nice to know that you can return it for the full price {just keep your receipts}.  Speaking of which, I have a few that need to head back this year!
I know a lot of people like to plant annuals each year.
Annuals can get pretty pricey, so I like to keep the area that I plant them contained to just a small front pot.
If you plant perennials, over time they grow and then can be divided.
You can even find a friend or neighbor and ask them if you can divide their plants for them.
Most people are happy to oblige, especially if you do the dirty work!
 
If you have the space, you can also save money by planting and growing your own vegetables in a garden.
At our old house we had room for a raised bed, at our current house, I'm pretty sure the dog would dig up anything she thought was food or might turn into food in about five seconds!
I love my fresh produce though, so I visit my local farmers market, fruit and veggie stands, my cousins grocery store {Harbor Greens shout out!} and I join in buying bountiful baskets.  I don't think fresh local produce has to be expensive.  You just have to know where to buy it.
Speaking of gardening, you can also compost your lawn clippings, and fruit and vegetable scraps. Compost makes a great addition to any garden and will help those plants grow like wild fire!
Planting trees or making the most of the trees that are in your lawn is another way to save on your utility bill.
Most houses in our area don't have air conditioning, so if you have the shade from trees your are quite lucky!
Plant a tree and in the first few years you can already start to reap the savings on your energy bill.
source
Patio furniture can get pricey.  It goes quickly at yard sales, but if you are persistent you can find it.
Nearly 10 years ago, I bought a set for 75% off in late summer from Fred Meyer.
Stores don't want to keep patio furniture around in the winter {unless you are in a warm state}, so keep your eyes open for sales.
And speaking of seasonal sales, you can also find seasonal sales on plants.
Most nurseries or garden centers don't want to carry plants through the winter, so they deeply discount them.
If you don't have a green thumb, stick with the hardy plants and as always, keep your receipt just in case your plant doesn't make it through the winter!
Those are a few of my tips to save some money on your lawn and garden.
Do you have any tips you can share with me?

6 comments

MCatherine said...

Great post. I picked up some good tips. You mention Fred Meyer...are you from the Northwest?

MCatherine said...

PS I pinned this post to my Cleverness board.

Wanda Baarman said...

Thanks so much for some really great tips. I picked up quite a few ways I can cut down on expenses. Visiting from A -Z. Blessings!

Cerise Wade said...

Great tips! Since we live in Texas we try and plant drought friendly plants. We still need to water, but not quite as much.

the cape on the corner said...

i have such a brown thumb, that i am always looking for gardening tips. thanks!

Shannon Madigan said...

Great tips! I'm always on the lookout for discounted plants when I'm shopping, too. (thanks for sharing on Project Inspire{d} this week!)

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