6 tips for trimming yard care costs

If you're an average American, you may be spending 70 hours every year on yard care. And altogether, our country spends about $29.1 billion per year on lawn care. The good news is that you can save some of that time and money - and even reduce water usage - with six simple steps.

1. Assess your irrigation system.
Sprinklers and other irrigation systems make it easy to use too much water. And not keeping up on hardware maintenance can cost you money. A professional irrigation audit can help you improve your system and provide advice on ideal watering practices. Check with your local water department to schedule an audit, which could be free of charge.

2. Change your mowing technique.
Put your mower setting on high to maintain taller grass, which requires less water, saving you money. Have the mower tuned up and the blade sharpened once or twice every summer. Mowing will be easier, and you'll get a cleaner cut, helping to prevent grass disease and sun damage.

3. Scatter new seed.
For a heartier, less thirsty yard, don't dig out what you have. Just overseed - sprinkle new, drought-tolerant grass seed over your existing lawn. You can use the same approach to give a healthier, fuller look to brown patches and thinning grass.

4. Incorporate xeriscaping.
Xeriscaping is a landscape style that requires little to no irrigation. You can replace water-greedy turf grass with low-maintenance groundcover, native perennials, shrubs, trees, and rock beds to create a mixed landscape that reduces water use, minimizes runoff, and requires less time and attention to maintain.

5. Go organic with compost.
Turn organic waste, such as grass clippings and vegetable scraps, into nutrient-rich compost. Then use your homemade compost in place of traditional fertilizers, which tend to increase your lawn's water requirements and lead to chemical runoff. You can also use compost as mulch around trees to improve soil in garden beds.

6. Aerate in the autumn.
Aeration punches small holes in your lawn, loosening compacted soil and creating a better grassgrowing environment. It can also help your lawn absorb nutrients and water, enhance water distribution and reduce runoff. You can hire a pro or DIY by renting a commercial-grade aerator from a local lawn and garden store.

We're not lawn experts, but we can help you manage money! Visit your local Westfield Bank branch or call 800.368.8930 for a personal discussion on how we can help you create a blooming financial picture.