I had grand plans for our front yard. I was going to redo the flower beds and have a whole row of Boxwood bushes, roses, and Crepe Myrtles added along our right-side property line. Then I would have an automatic sprinkler system added to keep me from having to move the sprinkler all the dang time. Best of all, I was getting a quote to have all of this done for me by our lawn guy.
The Quote That Hurt
Yeah, that’s not going to happen anymore. The landscaping idea itself included 25 new plants and totaled $750 for just plants and soil. He added in $250 of labor to give me an even $1000 quote. That’s not completely nuts for the scope of the project, but I rather not spend $1000 on pretty stuff out front right now. He also quoted $1900 for just an automatic front yard system or $2700 for a front yard and back yard system. I don’t want to spend that right now either. In short, I’ll be putting $3000-$3700 of quotes aside and have made other plans.
Okay, so the landscaping is paused until I have some time to buy some Double Knock-Out Roses to replace the Boxwood in the front flower bed. Then we’ll also start to add plants along the property line as we have time. I may go out and spend $20-$40 right now on some more colorful yet temporary plants to brighten the flower beds with, but the grand landscaping plans can be put aside for a little while for sure.
As for the automatic sprinkler system, I took some advice from my mom and a few other readers and bought an automatic digital faucet timer from Amazon.
It was easy to program and screwed onto the right-yard’s faucet with no problems. It has 3 different “stations” to screw hoses into, and two of those stations are programmable. Station 1 is set to start at 5:10am for 28 minutes and then Station 2 starts up at 5:40am and waters that section for another 28 minutes. I have it set to start daily but will probably change it to every other day when the yard is taking off. I have also simply set it to “Off” a couple of days ago since it was going to rain that evening. I remembered to change it back to “Automatic” a day later when the weather went back to hot and dry.
Overall, I am super happy. I will be buying two more of these timers – one for the faucet on the left side of the front yard and one for the backyard. According to Amazon, their batteries will need to be changed every couple of months, but it’s still a cheap alternative. I also spent $31 on two longer hoses (one 50 foot and one 100 foot) for the backyard so I can use our four existing, shorter hoses for the front yard sections. Next time I’m out and about, I’ll also pick up two more sprinkler heads for large sections of lawn since our backyard is so big and I only have two big-section sprinklers right now (and they are in my front yard).
Cost-wise, this new plan will cost us less than $300 total (so about 10% of the original plan):
- First digital timer – $40
- Second digital timer – waiting for $45 or less deal again
- Third digital timer – waiting for $45 or less deal again
- Two new hoses – $31
- Two new sprinkler heads – $40
- Some rose bushes and some perennials – less than $100
Eventually, I’ll even do a good job of hiding the hoses along the edges of my home and flower beds so it will not even look intrusive. I will also be winding up the hoses on one of our hose reels or storing them in the garage every two weeks so the lawn guys can mow like normal. So this new plan will give me back most of the lawn-watering time (about 30 minutes a day of going outside and manually switching the locations around to water different sections), but isn’t quite as low maintenance daily as a built-in system. But I also won’t ever need to worry about unseen leaks or broken pop-up sprinkler heads.
I’m satisfied. How about you? What sort of yard plans or maintenance do you have or what are you planning for?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!