4. Weed Out Seedy Lawn-Care Contractors
More than 25 million American households hire help to tend their lawns, with service providers running the range from the kid down the street to nationwide lawn-care companies. Since services can vary widely, make sure you get a written price quote and understand what is — and isn't — included in the price.
If applying chemical fertilizers and pesticides is part of the deal, be certain the contractor is appropriately licensed and qualified to work with toxic substances.
While you may save some money by signing an annual or seasonal lawn-care contract, it can also pay to make a shorter-term commitment in the beginning so you can be sure you're happy with the services provided. Use websites like Angie's List, the Better Business Bureau and Yelp, as well as referrals from friends and neighbors, to find a recommended lawn-care provider.
5. Rake in Big Savings With Lawn Alternatives
My father so hated mowing the grass that he was constantly threatening to "pave the whole #&%* thing over and paint it green!" A less drastic approach, like reducing the size of your lawn by mulching part of it over or planting a low-maintenance ground cover, can result in a major savings of both time and money. Consider this in areas of your yard that aren't conducive to growing grass in the first place.
The "Grow Food, Not Lawns" movement is literally taking root across the country, based on the commonsense fact that pretty much anyplace where a lawn will thrive, so will a vegetable garden. Even a small garden plot can yield hundreds of dollars worth of fresh produce, turning the money and time you would otherwise spend maintaining a lawn into a windfall for your grocery budget.
Another option: The landscaping technique called xeriscaping is a popular approach particularly in arid climates, incorporating drought-resistant plants, stones and other materials to create a lawn alternative that conserves water and looks terrific. Gee, maybe my dad was on to something.
Also of Interest
- 8 ways to snag a summer bargain
- Things you should never do again after 50
- Shopping for health insurance? The health insurance marketplace is now open
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