Among the many responsibilities a home-owner can have is a lawn. For us, we’ve been pushing that responsibility on a landscaper who comes by once a week to mow the lawn, trim the edges, and weed the garden. But this will be the last week he comes because next week we’re going DIY – We’re going to do our lawn and garden ourselves!
Why take care of the lawn ourselves?
When we started with the landscaper we had just moved in and it was enough that we knew which way was up no less take care of a lawn. I was still working on the best way to water the darn thing! We didn’t have the time or energy to shop for equipment and do it ourselves (in our co-op there was a maintenance team that took care of the grass and when we rented it just didn’t apply so we own zero equipment). Now that we’re settled in we think we’re ready to handle this ourselves.
And of course it will save us money in the long run. Let’s face it, if someone would take care of our lawn for free we would probably take them up on it but things just aren’t like that. So in order to save money we decided to take care of the lawn ourselves.
Here’s the estimated breakdown of equipment costs:
|Reel Mower (the kind you have to push)||$140|
|Weed Trimmer (battery operated)||$120|
The cost to have a landscaper take care of everything: $80/month.
You can see that it will take about four and a half months to break even. That’s not too bad considering we’ll be living here well past that amount of time! We could save some by getting different equipment but I want to make sure I have the best pieces for the work that will last. Keep in mind too that the prices are for new equipment. If we looked around we could possibly find used equipment.
And did I mention the gift cards? We usually use our American Express Blue card when we need to use credit (which we pay off every month). This earns up points. We’ll we’ve racked up enough points to get about $200 in gift cards to use towards the lawn equipment. You can say that with the gift cards our equipment costs drop to $160 which makes our break even point only two months.
There are other costs though, the biggest of which is time. I’ll have to take time out every week to learn the equipment and take care of the lawn (and take care of the equipment). It will take me much more work and effort for me to do the lawn than it will for the landscaper, who finishes the job in less than an hour. There will also be upkeep for the equipment (one of the reasons we’re going with a manual mower – no gas, oil, tune-ups, etc…). I understand this. I’m actually pretty psyched to do the work myself and take care of my land with my own two hands (let’s hope I feel this way in a few weeks!).
There are some added benefits (or savings) to doing the yardwork myself. The blower I’ve been looking at is also a vacuum that can pick up and mulch the leaves. Come Fall this will be handy and will also save from having someone else do this work. You can argue that this will be a good workout too. And when the kids are older you can be sure I’m getting them involved (our oldest is ten already).
There’s a part of my back that isn’t looking forward to this but the rest of me is gung-ho to doing the lawn myself! Once I get the hang of things I think it will be fun taking care of the yard. And it will save us money down the line, which always feels good.