Recession Gardening

Even though gardening may seem like a recession-proof hobby, it still costs money, and bad habits may hurt your wallet more then you know.

| June 26, 2009

Colorful perennials keep your garden growing year after year.

Color perennials keep your garden growing year after year. Ivanovic

While many are pinching pennies amid the economic downturn, there are a number of thrifty ways to manage a garden and landscape to ensure it looks good and flourishes while also costing less to maintain.

Lawn and garden, irrigation and horticulture expert Steve Jacobs, president of San Diego-based Nature Designs Landscaping, uncovers ways to scrimp and save money, and details what can be skipped when planting and managing a yard this year.

● Plant perennials instead of annuals. Annuals are short lived, use excessive water and must be replaced, while there is a large selection of drought-tolerant perennials that can live for many years and offer plenty of beautiful color.

● Eliminate lawn where you are not using it. Lawns are one of the most intensive maintenance and water consuming plantings in a landscape, requiring weekly mowing, edging and recurrent irrigation.

● Leave lawn clippings; don’t bag. Many lawn mowers have a recycling feature that allows you to mow without bagging the clippings. Lawn clippings contain water and nutrients that can benefit your lawn. The result is a need for less water and fertilizer, and you don’t need to pay for landscape debris removal or dumping.

● Prune naturally instead of formally. When you prune for the natural growth habit of the plant you will reduce the amount of pruning needed per year, resulting in decreased costs. Hedging and balling your plants will create a need for frequent pruning, and the tools and/or professional landscape maintenance services that goes with it.

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