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How low to moderate income families can reduce home landscaping costs.

It is costly to maintain a property and/or do any landscaping type work. This can be even more difficult for a low to moderate income family or a household facing a short term financial challenge. Many retirees often have a home to their name, but they may live on a fixed income after retiring, so paying for lawn maintenance and landscaping is a challenge. There are things that any family can to do save money on, and reduce their landscaping costs. Find our list of suggestions below.

The fact is that whether you want to beautify your home or increase its value, you cannot go wrong with landscape improvements. Many people all need to maintain their property due to homeowner association rules, which are even more common in newer home developments and well as here in the southern US. Enhancing the landscape and lawn is costly, but it will make your home look its best, and those upgrades could even increase its resale value and help you build principal in your home.

Unfortunately, those upgrades to your outdoor landscape can come with a high price, and those bills can quickly get out of control. Low income families, single moms or dads, or the under employed may struggle with their property. If you want to make your home look its best and still have money left over to pay the other bills (mortgage, utilities, food, etc.) or maybe even a few dollars for indoor decorating, you need to be smart about your actions. Here are 12 things you can do to reduce the cost of your landscape improvements.

1. Make your own compost. You can spend a fortune on prepackaged potting soil at the local nursery or big box retailers, or you can make your own compost at home. Not only is it safe and organic, but making your own backyard compost is easier than you think, and it could save you a lot of money.

2. Choose drought resistant and native plant species. Shrubs, trees and flowers that are native to your area will need less fertilizer and less care, and that could save you a lot of money. find plants that are drought resistant so they do not require as much water. Ask for native species recommendations when you shop, and follow the care recommendations carefully.

3. Use a drip irrigation system. Watering your outdoor landscape on a daily or even weekly basis can get pretty expensive, but you can limit your costs by choosing the most efficient options you can. But ideally, if you follow step 2 above (drought resistant) then you may barely need to water. Drip irrigation will help your landscape grow green without draining the green out of your wallet.




4. Look into charitable home repair programs. These are mostly focused on low income senior citizens, the disabled or homebound. Non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity may help with landscaping or there could be support from the Salvation Army, Volunteers of America and others

5. Do the yard work yourself! Don't be lazy! Hiring a professional landscaper or lawn care service may be convenient, but it is also expensive. It can cost a couple to few grand per year. The more you can do on your own, the more money you can save.

6. Stick to local products. Getting your mulch and other products locally can reduce your costs and make your life easier. Be sure to shop around for the best prices at nurseries, big box stores such as Home Depot and others. Save money on the landscape essentials you need.

7. Aim to reduce erosion. If your property suffers from erosion or excessive water run-off, the money you spend could literally be going down the drain. Look at the lay of your land and use terraces and other landscaping elements to reduce erosion and runoff.

8. Keep your property and landscaping simple. A simple landscape design will be easier, and cheaper, to maintain. Do not go with the fancy set ups to try to "keep up" with the Jones. Stick to the basics and create a landscape you can be proud of.

9. Bring in a pro only when you need to. The DIY approach can save you a lot of money, but so can the judicious use of low cost professionals. Or even better, ask a friend or neighbor for help. Things like tree care and pest control demand the professional touch, and hiring the right pro could save you money in the long run.

10. Government assistance for landscaping. While not common, some groups of individuals such as veterans may be able to get additional help. The VA or volunteer groups often provide help with the yard. Or government funds from the VA may help pay landscaping costs. If you are in a "special" group, check with a local social services department.





11. Plant small and let it grow. You may be dying to have large trees in your landscape, but buying large specimens or partly grown trees or shrubs could really take a bite out of your wallet. If you want to save money and improve your landscape, buy smaller and cheaper trees and let mother nature do the rest.

12. Plant perennials. If you choose annuals for your flower garden, you will need to replant the flowers every year. Perennials will give you more bang for your buck and they are often even cheaper, so choose your flowers accordingly.

Your outdoor landscape is an integral part of your home. No matter whether low income or wealthy, you want it to look as good as possible. If you want to enjoy a wonderful landscape and still have money left over, the 10 tips listed above can get you started.

By Jon McNamara











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