There is no denying that natural grass can look great. It can also feel wonderful when it’s properly managed. Many, no doubt, pass by luscious green lawns and look with envy. However, attaining that look with naturally grown grass will cost money – a lot of money.
Many don’t realize how much they spend on their lawn, but the total is likely in the thousands every year. That is especially true for those living in Arizona where grass is hard to grow anyway. In this article we will review the real cost of a natural lawn by analyzing the average costs of many tasks associated with lawn maintenance. Some of these costs may not apply to your situation or may be cheaper, so please feel free to use a calculator and estimate your own cost as you go through the article. Once you analyze the real costs of natural grass, you may start to reconsider if it’s worth having a natural lawn.
Costs of Creating a Lawn
There are several items you need to even create a natural grass lawn. You will need to buy the following items just to get grass seeded and growing.
· Pesticide, ant killer, other products
There are only a few grasses that grow in the Arizona climate. Those grasses are Midtron and Bermuda, according to grass experts. A good quality of grass seed for either one of those will cost around $16 for 1,000 square feet. A solid high-grade fertilizer for new grass will cost around $30 a bag and you may need a couple of bags for you lawn. You will also need a pesticide to keep insects at bay while the grass is growing. That will likely cost around $100 for the growing season. Ant killer and other products generally cost around $15 per bottle.
Other costs associated with creating a lawn include things like water and herbicide to tame weeds that will try to grow through the grass as it takes root. According to those living in Arizona, ongoing water rates for most residents in the high water use bracket is around $50 per month. Herbicides cost around $20 per bottle and that will likely only last one season.
The total so far for having a lawn of average size in the first month: $261
Costs of Maintaining a Lawn
There are additional costs beyond all the herbicides, pesticides and ongoing water use you will need to maintain a beautiful lawn, You will need to mow it, trim it and maintain it. That means you are going to need some lawn equipment to do the job.
Here is a list of basic equipment you will need and the cost:
· Riding lawnmower with aerator and spreader : price range between $800 with attachments up to $3,000 or more for name brand.
· Edger: average price $75
· Leaf blower: average price $150
· Weed whip: average price $80
· Rakes, spades, hoes, wheelbarrow: average price $10 per item so lets estimate $50
· Disposable bags to haul away cut grass: $25 for enough for season
Additionally, you power lawn equipment will need gasoline, oil or electricity to operate. Typically, it will take around $4 in gasoline to cut grass one time. One oil fill may last a season if you have a small lawn. All of these things will need to be maintained also.
All of this is what it would cost if you maintain your own lawn. A lawn care service in Arizona will charge an average of $285 per month to care for your lawn, although the range is from $40 up to $900 per month, according to HomeAdvisor.com. You have to also consider your own time, if you maintain your lawn yourself. In that calculation, figure how much you get paid per hour on your job and multiply that by the number of hours you plan to spend in the yard.
Total minimum cost so far in owning a natural grass lawn the first summer season: $1,829
There are several ongoing costs of owning a natural lawn. You have to add new seed and fertilizer every spring to get the lush lawn you desire, totaling around $50 or more every spring, along with the weed control products, costing around $135 every spring. You will also need to add lime and herbicide every fall, which will cost around $50. These will have to be spread on the lawn using a spreader and possibly your lawn mower, so there will be some extra gas and time involved with that task. You will need to aerate the lawn, even if you use a spreader for fertilizing and weeding products.
Total minimum cost after one full year of owning a top notch lawn: $2,268
There are other costs you may not think about until they happen. Lawn equipment will need to be maintained, typically routinely checked every fall at the end of growing season. The average cost of maintaining a riding lawnmower over one growing season is between $170 to $250 in the average situation where only a tune up is required, according to CostHowMuch.com. A repair could cost much more than that with the mechanic picking up your mower, charging on average of $60 an hour and any necessary parts that would need to be purchased.
Also, if you ever have to reseed your lawn because it failed or a drought killed it, the cost of a reseed is an average of $2,300, according to HomeAdvisor.com.
Maintaining a lawn can also mean some extra work inside the home also. Children and pets are likely to bring in loose grass and mud after they enjoy the outdoors. Pets will have to be brushed and bathed more regularly and there will be more laundry to do for children coming in with grass stains. Floors will require more care to sweep up grass and mop up mud after a day outside. While these costs are hard to calculate, you can figure more water, detergent, soap for bathing, indoor cleaning supplies like brooms, mops, and floor cleaner.
Alternatives to Natural Grass
You can have the look and positive aspects of naturally grown grass without all the expense and time it takes to get it. Artificial grass is a wonderful option that offers homeowners more time and less upkeep than natural grass. Newer technology in the past few decades has resulted in a high-quality product that looks beautiful and is durable enough for children, dogs, and other pets to play on without the dirt, smell, or stains that natural grass leaves. While artificial turf is an investment, the cost could very well be lower over a decade than maintaining naturally grown grass and that may be worth considering.