Having a healthy looking lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood can be a tough challenge, but not an impossible one with the proper planning. The key to economy lawn care is to plan and know what you want out of your lawn and choosing, or removing, species of grass and plants that do not fit that vision. Creating a cohesive plan means much less maintenance later on and perhaps better results both long term and short term.
One of the biggest threats to economy lawn care is shade. Most shade-tolerant grass species also happen to be high maintenance. This presents a serious problem for those who are trying to save money on their lawns. Therefore, having large trees is generally counterproductive to having a low-maintenance, inexpensive lawn. Smaller shrubs or trees are more ideal, and may even help by taking up additional space in the lawn that would otherwise be covered with grass.
In the Northern climates, where cool season grasses dominate the landscape, varieties of fescue are often considered to be the best low-maintenance grass. In the South, lawns may require a greater deal of care, but Bermuda grass requires less maintenance than many other types. Low-maintenance lawns are drought resistant. If possible, use native grasses for your area, which are already acclimated to local climate conditions, for even easier maintenance.
Even if you plant low-maintenance species that are capable of resisting droughts, there may be times when the grass and other plants require supplemental watering. If possible, use a drilled well, instead of city water, to prevent municipal water costs. If not, remember that watering during the late evening or before sunrise is most effective at preventing evaporation, ensuring the most water gets used where it is needed.
One of the easiest ways to reduce the expenses in lawn care is to substitute other features, such as rock gardens or sandy areas, for grassy areas. Adding pavers for paths and slabs can also work to reduce expenses in the long run. A local rock quarry could provide you a great deal of rocks at a fraction of the price of your landscaping or hardware store.
Controlling weeds can be expensive, especially if you plan on using herbicide to do it. Weeding by hand takes more time, but is less expensive in the long run. Using a concentrate and mixing it yourself is a good way to find value in herbicide products, and using a pre-emergent herbicide may also provide value over the course of a season by preventing weeds and subsequent seedings.