Joco 913

Update your landscaping on the cheap

Dig out those dusty landscaping tools and prepare for the warmer spring months. Landscaping seasonal tasks are just not fun for several reasons. For one, it’s expensive. For another, gratification is delayed because you don’t see the fruits of your labor until months later. Here are some money-saving tips to get into the right mindset to tackle annual landscaping affordably.

Mulch

Mulch looks best when it’s replenished every year, which gets expensive if you have a lot of perimeter landscaping. Many people end up leaving the store with multiple shopping carts full of mulch and an empty wallet. If you use a large supply of mulch, I suggest ordering it in bulk for delivery or filling a truck bed.

It’s much cheaper in the long run and saves you the time and energy spent hauling bags back and forth.

Lawn

Proceed with caution: self-fertilizing your lawn can actually be more expensive if you don’t already own the proper equipment. A great long-term plan can be to go in on some equipment with family or people you know nearby and then individually purchase your own fertilizer. Before you start the process, research whether your lawn needs aeration or seed, the proper amount of fertilizer to use and a watering schedule. You can actually do more harm than good if you over-fertilize.

Flowers

I purposely keep my plant selection pretty simple, and for good reason. We are on the go all the time, so less is more for us. We are a planter and basket family all the way! I have several I keep low-maintenance perennials in.

I love having curb appeal with bright pops of color in the spring, but I’m not willing to care for something that needs constant TLC. I also invest in a generic bag of planter mix to refresh my pots each year. Don’t give in to the temptation to buy planters at full price. If yours are worn out and in need of replacement, snag them at the end of the season once they hit the clearance isle.

Tree trimming and treatment

I know many people who have to trim and treat their trees every year, especially those with older trees that produce an excess of wild branches. While this is expensive, it can actually extend the life of your tree investment. If the majority of your overgrowth is below the tree, it’s cheaper to trim branches yourself with a quality pruner or saw.

If your entire tree is overgrown and sagging, it’s time to call a professional. Unless you are experienced, it’s unsafe to trim large trees on a ladder. Most neighborhoods have similarly aged trees, so you can seek a group discount. Otherwise, put it in your budget for every other year to allow time for saving.

I know landscaping updates are low on the list of fun weekend activities. But I can promise you if you take the time to prep now, you’ll be thanking yourself in late spring and early summer when everything is in full bloom. Happy spring!

Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.

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