Money Saving Green Landscaping Tips You Can Apply in Your First Home

Americans shell out an average of $267 per month on traditional lawn and garden care. In 2015 alone, we spent an estimated $29.1 billion on landscaping. That emerald-green lawn looks nice and all, but is it really worth the price of upkeep?

Then there’s the environment you’ve got to worry about. Non-native plants—the kind that tend to populate our front yards—gulp down as much as 10,000 gallons of water in the summertime. As if that weren’t bad enough, these same plants can’t survive without fertilizers and pesticides, which inevitably end up contaminating nearby water sources through storm runoff.

What gives? There’s got to be a way to keep your yard looking presentable without giving up an arm and a leg.

The solution might seem counterintuitive. Going green is supposed to be expensive, right? Wrong. With minimal start-up costs, the savings you can expect to accrue by following these eco-friendly landscaping recommendations make these small investments more than worth it.

Help preserve the environment, and your bank account, with these easy-to-implement green landscaping tips.

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Compost

Composting is a science, and as such, it can sometimes get a little complicated. But don’t let that scare you—you’ve got all the ingredients and raw materials you need right at home. Table scraps, weeds, and other bits of organic matter are all potential fertilizer and are a much less costly (not to mention more environmentally friendly) form of nutrition for your plants than that store-bought stuff.

But don’t just take our word for it. Check out what the folks over at the US Department of Agriculture have to say about composting, and check out their in-depth recommendations about how to get started, too!

Keep it local 

Native plants not only add a bit of local color to your yard, they are a more cost-effective, low-maintenance alternative to those that come from elsewhere. Plus many are drought resistant

Imagine how much you’d save on your water bill if the plants in your yard could live through a summer drought, rather than depending on pricey irrigation to survive. Consult the list below for recommendations specific to your area, or get in touch with your state university’s local extension agent for more info.

  • Northeast: Amsonia, aster, bayberry, crabapple, goldenrod, juniper, maple leaf viburnum, Northern red oak, Norway spruce, white fir
  • Northwest: Bellflower, butterfly bush, golden chain tree, Jupiter’s beard, pearly everlasting, rhododendrons, smoke tree, strawberry tree, sword fern
  • Midwest: Bur oak, coneflower, daylily, forsythia, gingko, Jerusalem artichoke, lilac, little bluestem grass, pampas grass, switchgrass
  • Southeast: American holly, American smoke tree, baby’s breath, butterfly weed, chaste tree, hydrangea, Joe Pye weed, live oak, loblolly pine, mimosa
  • Southwest: Acacia, agave, Baja passion vine, chaste tree, chuparosa, creosote bush, desert zinnia, live oak, penstemon, yucca
  • West: American plum, Apache plum, Blue Avena grass, Douglas fir, Mexican feather grass, Ponderosa pine, sage, wax currant, Western sand cherry, yarrow

Install a rainwater catchment system in your first home

With a rainwater catchment system, you can forget about irrigation altogether. If it's allowed in your area, you can harvest rainwater by hooking up your barrel or other catchment devices to the gutter on the side of your home. That way you can maximize collection during rainfall and have enough to use throughout the week, or even beyond, on the plants in your yard.

Check out this step-by-step guide on how to build your own rainwater catchment system for a hundred dollars or less.