Lawn & Garden Cost Guides

The need for green, the desire for foliage, has lodged itself so deeply in our psyche that even city dwellers find themselves creating postage-stamp oases amid the concrete, symbols of our connection to the natural world. Suburbanites and country folks feel the same way. When the weather's nice, they like to live outside, tossing the ball with the kids in the back yard or tending gardens until their fingers turn black. The value of well-tended lawns and gardens can be measured in both quality of life and the resale value of your home. The costs associated with building and maintaining lawns and gardens will vary depending on your ambitions and desires for these outdoor spaces as well as the square footage involved.

Size of Lawns and Gardens

Whether you're pricing sod or garden plants, trees and shrubs, your numbers go up as square footage gets larger. Consequently, if you have a tiny property, you can probably splurge on expensive gardens and landscaping without blowing your budget. If you have a large property, you might need to scale down your ambitions, or, as you can afford it, tackle one area at a time. But there's no getting around the fact that - unless you live in wild land area that allows you to keep your yard natural - you're going to pay more in both installation and maintenance for a big yard than a small one.  Continue Reading

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Types of Plants

Take a stroll down the aisles of a plant nursery and it's easy to get sticker shock. Plants can be expensive. One way to save is by planting from seed. Yes, it can be tricky. Even with good soils, proper sun and regular water, there are no guarantees that your ornamental plants, vegetables, shrubs or trees will survive. It can be challenging and frustrating, but it could save you hundreds of dollars. Similarly, if you're buying trees, you'll pay much less for seedlings than full-grown varieties. If you want to go a more conventional route with your plants, you can save money by leaning toward perennials, plants that will come back every year, and those requiring less water and maintenance.
For lawns, Kentucky bluegrass is the most commonly used variety. It greens up easily, is fairly easy to maintain and it's nice and soft when football or soccer players fall on it. It also sucks up water like Shamu. If you live in an area prone to droughts, you might consider Canada bluegrass, crested wheatgrass, fine fescues, perennial wildryes, tall fescue, western wheatgrass, blue grama or buffalo grass.

Sprinkler Systems

OK, you've spent a lot of money and/or sweat on your lawn and garden. Don't kill it. The easiest step you can take to ensure the proper maintenance of your lawns and gardens (aside from hiring somebody to take care of it for you) is installing sprinkler systems. Yes, the one-time investment can be daunting. But you'll save money on your water bills and in replacement plants. Even regions of the country that have water restrictions can usually continue to water with drip-irrigation systems.

Additional Features

Your yard is your family's play area and your garden party venue. It can adapt to many needs and uses. As you're installing new landscaping or updating your existing space, you might consider and make room for a playground, trampoline, swimming pool, hot tub, patio.
An experienced landscape designer can help you in the placing the right features where want them as well as plan the cost.
Be aware that some play features, such as trampolines, may increase your insurance premiums, and that others, such as swimming pools, will not only cost a lot to install but might require enclosures and expensive regular maintenance.