Backyarding on a budget: Six money-saving hacks for fall

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Fall is an opportune time to set up your backyard for year-round success. Work put into landscaping in the fall determines the quality of the space for all of your family’s backyarding activities, from family football games at Thanksgiving and Easter egg hunts in the spring, to taking your office to the back patio and meditation in a backyard hammock.
“Work in your yard, and it will work for you. That’s always been our motto, but it’s particularly important to follow this credo in the fall when we can make the most impact in our yards,” said Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the TurfMutt Foundation, which encourages people to care for and use the green space around them. “You don’t have to break the bank to create a backyard that will serve many purposes for your family year-round.”
Here are six money-saving hacks for creating the backyard of your dreams from the TurfMutt Foundation:

  1. Clean out flower beds & add mulch. Simply cleaning out your flower beds (use a leaf blower to make quick work of the task) and adding a fresh layer of mulch works wonders. New mulch not only holds weeds at bay, it also helps retain moisture around plants, trees, and shrubs.
  2. Prune bushes & trees. Trimming bushes, shrubs, and trees is another inexpensive way to make a big impact in your yard’s aesthetic. Use a chainsaw, trimmer, or hedger to remove dead or dying branches and stems. This preserves the health of the main branch and improves the shape of the plant. Pruning also encourages plants to flower later.
  3. Keep grass mowed and weeded. Regular lawn mowing helps your grass stay healthy and strong and improves the overall appearance of your yardscape without spending much money. In the fall, cut your lawn shorter than during the rest of the growing season and continue to mow until your grass goes into hibernation for the winter.
  4. Pick perennials. Perennials–those cold-hardy plant species that will return again in the spring–are a smart money choice because you only have to buy them once to enjoy them for years to come.
  5. Plant climate-appropriate species. Native plants–those that occur naturally in your region–are a smart buy any time of the year. They are more likely to thrive in your micro-climate without much maintenance or watering. They are also better for local wildlife and pollinators and help preserve the balance of the natural ecosystem.
  6. Look for deals. Many nurseries and home improvement stores offer end-of-season sales on landscaping essentials from plants to outdoor power equipment (mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, etc.) that make even big backyarding tasks easier.
    For more information, sign up for Mutt Mail, a monthly e-newsletter with backyarding tips and all the news from the TurfMutt Foundation. To learn more about creating the yard of your dreams, visit

TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) TurfMutt Foundation and has reached more than 70 million children, educators, and families since 2009. Through education partners such as Weekly Reader, Discovery Education, and Scholastic, TurfMutt has taught students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.”

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