When you’re working to improve the appearance and value of your property, you’re likely to spend most of your energy and money on sprucing up the interior of your home. Thankfully, with a few basic tips at your disposal, you won’t need a lot of spare cash to achieve some great results in the backyard – just some spare time, energy, and enthusiasm. Put these golden rules into practice and watch your garden grow like never before.
Give your garden enough sun
The right amount of sun will do wonders for your garden, whereas too much (or not enough) could wither it. Different plants need different levels of sunlight, so it pays to do some research before investing in any new flora, particularly if you live in an especially harsh climate. The same goes for your lawn – healthy grass needs plenty of sunlight, so excess shade can be a problem, and not an uncommon one; in fact, according to a Jim’s Group study, one in eight Australians put their lawn troubles down to a lack of sunlight – a surprising result, considering the location.
If giving your grass more sun exposure isn’t an option, it could be worth considering an alternative like natural turf.
Water when needed
It’s common knowledge that plants need water to grow healthy, but knowing how much water they need is important. Overwatering your plants can be just as disastrous for your garden as neglecting them in the hot sun. When you buy a new plant, you’ll probably receive care instructions, but you may not have considered that your lawn is a plant like any other, and needs similar maintenance and care.
As a general rule, your lawn needs around one inch of water each week to grow properly, and by the time your grass is looking dull or brown, the trouble has already set in. If you’re unsure when the soil should be watered, use the screwdriver test as a basic indicator of moisture. Push the blade of a screwdriver into the soil, and if it comes out clean, it’s a good idea to bring out the hose.
The old adage “less is more” is true when it comes to fertilizing your garden. You shouldn’t need to administer fertilizer any more than twice a year in order to encourage plant growth, and if you’re serious about budgeting, you can make a batch out of ingredients lying around the home, like composted kitchen scraps and yard debris.
Try distributing the clippings from your mower over the freshly cut blades of grass instead – this helps to deposit natural nutrients back into the soil, while also shielding your lawn from harsh sunlight.
Mow with care
Growing a healthy, green lawn requires more than just time and effort – you also need a basic understanding of your grass and your mower. Unfortunately, it’s not enough just to whip out the mower on a semi-regular basis if you expect the grass to be greener on your side.
Servicing your mower regularly is important, particularly sharpening the blades, as this will prevent your grass from tearing and potentially becoming infected. You should also take care when adjusting your mower settings to avoid cutting your grass too low. As a general rule, it’s best to trim off no more than one-third of the initial height of the grass, as any more than this can damage the root and leave you with an unhealthy, brown lawn.
Opt for cheap plants
A small budget may not stretch to include fancy, well-established plants, as these are typically more expensive than the alternative, so if your budget is tight, you’ll have to be prepared to spend more time and elbow grease on growing a healthy garden.
The good news is that garden-boosting plants can come from almost anywhere and cost you nothing. You could invest in long-lasting perennial plant varieties, or ask your succulent-savvy friends for some cuttings from their stash.
These hardy plants grow surprisingly well from pieces of other plants, as long as you have a small pot, water, and plenty of patience. You can also save on plant pots by avoiding expensive ceramic varieties and instead using whatever containers you can find around the house. Anything from used ice-cream tubs to old car tires can make a great home for your new additions.
Growing a beautiful garden doesn’t have to cost the earth, and if you have the time and the desire to improve your surrounds, it is a sure way to add value to your home and your lifestyle.