8 Mindless Things Around the Yard That Are Costing You Money

published Jun 19, 2020
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Front view portrait of mature mother with adult daughter outdoors at home, gardening.
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When it comes to honing in on your budget, you’re probably quick to look around the house for ways to save. Just as important, however, are the things costing you money outside your door. Needless expenses around the yard add up, causing your wallet to take a hit. Some are avoidable money-sucks. Others are small investments that’ll save more money later. 

Ahead, Karen Kostiw, a real estate agent with Warburg Realty, shares common avoidable expenses when it comes to your yard—and what to do about them.

Leaving your lights on 

Forgetting to shut off your outdoor lights, which don’t need to be on in the middle of the day or the middle of the night, significantly bumps up your electricity bill. If you have wired lights, install a timer set to a reasonable schedule. “Ensure they only go on when the sun sets and automatically shut off around 10 p.m.,” says Kostiw. Or, try solar lights—they charge during the day and turn on when it gets dark so there are no bills involved. 

Wasteful watering

Watering your lawn at the wrong time will only add to your water bill. Water rates change throughout the day, so Kostiw advises to “have your sprinklers on early in the morning or later in the evening when water rates are lower.” Avoiding the direct midday sun also means water will not evaporate as quickly. 

Letting weeds grow

“Some weeds and trees are invasive and if not controlled will cost you a lot of money to eradicate,” says Kostiw. Try to identify the species in your yard and if any pose a potential threat to other plants, make sure to pull them out while they’re small and manageable.  

Leaving trash or food out

Simply put, this attracts insects and vermin. “Very quickly they will overrun the property and it will be difficult for you to control,” says Kostiw.

Failing to add topsoil and mulch

There are some things worth an up-front expense that’ll save you money later. Investing in keeping your soil healthy by adding topsoil and mulch is one of them. For topsoil, which Kostiw says “adds appeal to your property and improves the soil and makes the grass grow better,” make sure to choose the right kind for your region, and then spread a thin layer over aerated grass with the back of a rake. Spreading mulch on your plant beds helps keep plants hydrated and discourages weeds. 

Not planting a mix of annuals and perennials

Although perennials are a better value, since they “return for many seasons from the same root system,” says Kostiw, they typically only bloom for a few weeks of the year. To boost curb appeal, it’s worth it to buy some annuals every year—though more expensive, they bloom all season long and will pull their weight when it’s time to sell.

Forgetting to trim your trees

If your trees are small enough to trim yourself with a lopper every year, that’s great. But call in a professional for larger trees that are unhealthy looking or overhang your house or any wires. This avoids having to fix costly damage caused by falling branches. 

Neglecting to power wash your roof and home every few years 

“This is a good investment in the long run as it removes mold and dirt, making the home appear fresh as well as keeps it in good shape,” Kostiw says.