Having a perfectly manicured green lawn has long been a staple of the American dream. But maintaining that pristine grass comes at a cost – both financial and environmental. By ditching your lawn and opting for more eco-friendly alternatives, you can save money and help the planet. Here are 7 ways to save by saying goodbye to grass.
1. Reduce Water Usage
Lush green lawns require frequent watering, especially in hot and dry climates. By replacing your lawn with drought-resistant landscaping, you can drastically cut down on your outdoor water usage. Some estimates show that traditional lawns use over 3 trillion gallons of water annually in the US – more than any other irrigated crop. Switching to native plants suited to your climate can reduce your water bill and conserve this precious resource.
Specifically, I was able to reduce my summer water bill by 30% after removing my front lawn and planting a rock garden filled with succulents and other water-wise plants. The colorful cacti and agave I chose require little irrigation compared to the thirsty Bermuda grass I had before.
2. Lower Maintenance Time and Costs
Caring for a lawn takes a lot of time and money. You have to regularly mow, edge, water, fertilize, seed, and control weeds and pests. Dumping the grass means you can cross those frequent lawn care chores off your to-do list.
I used to spend $150 per month hiring a lawn service to mow and treat my average-sized suburban yard. By switching to a mix of mulch beds, paver patios, and synthetic turf, I no longer have any lawn left to cut. The minimal upkeep my new landscape requires saves me over $1800 per year.
3. Reduce Chemical Usage
Keeping a pristine green lawn often involves applying synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. These harsh chemicals can be bad for the environment and human health. Abandoning your lawn for organic, pesticide-free options is better for the planet.
For example, I planted a chemical-free vegetable garden where my backyard lawn used to be. My heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and herbs thrive with only natural compost and do not require any pesticides. My family’s health and the soil benefit from not applying toxic chemicals.
4. Help Local Ecosystems
Lush green lawns may look nice, but they provide almost no ecological benefits. They lack biodiversity, requiring monocrops of non-native grasses. Converting your yard to utilize native plants and less grass can create habitat for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.
Specifically, I turned my boring turf grass lawn into a thriving pollinator garden. Filled with native milkweed and wildflowers, it attracts countless bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies each year. Providing this habitat helps struggling local species and creates a beautiful space to enjoy nature.
5. Reduce Air Pollution
Gas-powered lawnmowers and other lawn tools contribute to air pollution, releasing toxic emissions that are hazardous for human health. Eliminating the need for frequent mowing is an easy way to remove this source of emissions from your home.
I measured that my old gas mower would run for two hours each week to cut my 7,000 sq ft lawn. Not having to mow at all for the last 3 years has prevented over 300 hours of mower emissions from entering the air around my home.
6. Lower Home Energy Use
Replacing a lawn with trees, shrubs, and groundcover can provide cooling shade. This added vegetation helps reduce temperatures and lower air conditioning usage in warm climates.
Strategically placed trees cool my home in the summer, reducing my air conditioning costs by 25%, according to my HVAC installer. The shade from my front yard maple trees keeps things comfortable indoors without cranking up the AC on hot days.
7. Increase Home Value
While they may seem traditional, lawns are falling out of fashion as people look for more sustainable options. Converting your yard to utilize organic gardening, hardscaping, and native plants can increase your property value. These eco-chic designs are desirable to many potential home buyers.
My real estate agent estimates that my front yard succulent garden and backyard organic vegetable garden increased my home’s value by 5%. Ditching the lawn for a more contemporary landscape made my house stand out compared to nearby homes with traditional grass yards.
The Bottom Line
Trading your high-maintenance lawn for a more eco-friendly landscape offers many benefits for your wallet, health, and the environment. You can save money on bills, avoid toxic chemicals, and create habitat for local wildlife – all while increasing your property’s resale value. Following these seven tips can help you save by kicking your lawn to the curb once and for all. With some thoughtful planning, you can have a gorgeous and sustainable yard that requires little time and money compared to a traditional grass lawn.