Published May 31. 2013 4:00AM
There's no doubt that Americans spend a fortune on lawn care annually. But you can trim your costs without sacrificing your beautiful yard.
And if you need more motivation than saving money, remember that many of the lawn care practices that are good for your pocketbook are great for the planet.WHY GREEN MATTERS
Sure, green lawns are a pleasure to look at…but there's much more to it than that! Consider this:
• Environmental Benefits: Trees, shrubs and grass remove smoke, dust and other pollutants from the air.
• Lifestyle Benefits:
Well-placed plantings offer privacy and tranquility by screening out busy street noises. Do you have children or pets? Turf is necessary for play space.
• Economic Benefits: EFFICIENT IRRIGATION
A green lawn can improve property value.
When you're standing out there with a hose, it can be hard to gauge when to stop. Without efficient water distribution, you're liable to waste water and harm your lawn and plants. However, an irrigation system can help remove that guesswork.
And opt for a licensed contractor with an established reputation for your installation. They can help avoid common do-it-yourself pitfalls, such as uneven sprinkler coverage and poor water pressure.SMART TECHNOLOGY
Consider investing in a smart system that uses sensors to measure moisture levels in soil. Professionally installed, properly maintained sensors can potentially save a household more than 11,000 gallons of irrigation water annually, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
A good soil sensor will also have extra capabilities, such as the ability to detect soil type and adjust calculations accordingly.
Don't let the initial installation costs of an irrigation system dissuade you. Not only will you recoup the cost over time, but many municipalities and water districts nationwide offer homeowner rebates for installing water conserving irrigation products. Check with your local water district or municipality for rebates in your area.OPTIMIZE
Don't be afraid to upgrade your motorized lawn care equipment or parts when necessary. From lawn mowers and electric hedge trimmers to the controller, valves and sprinklers of your irrigation system, efficient alternatives may entail upfront costs, but will optimize savings over time.
For example, leaking valves are a major source of water loss, so check them annually for issues. Also, a simple immediate upgrade you may want to consider is replacing your spray nozzles with more efficient ones designed to eliminate runoff and reduce water bills. With a few eco-friendly tweaks to the way you care for your lawn, you can save some green from your wallet and some time.