Saturday, 11 May 2013

Saving money on gardening

One of the biggest financial challenges for me when I moved into my house a couple of years ago was managing the garden.  I don’t have an enormous lawn or complex plantings.  But the previous owners appear to have a love for vines, and they planted a species of grass that grows in long runners that in the space of a couple of weeks can grow up a fence!  Living in an apartment does not generally require a single gardening tool, as all the work is outsourced to an external contractor.  So I did not own as much as a single trowel.  It seemed like every weekend involved a trip to Bunnings to purchase additional implements to help me weed, prune, mow, and tame the prolific vegetation.

I’ve learned a few tips and tricks since.  Here are my top 15 hints:
  1. Do-it-yourself – It can be tempting to try to outsource all the work to a gardener.  But at $50 per hour or so in Sydney, this is an expensive option.  The start-up costs of a lawn mower and a few tools is comparatively cheap.  I find that gardening is great exercise, it gets you outside in the sun, and it’s a great opportunity to chat to your neighbours.
  2. Share with your neighbours – Gardening seems to require numerous expensive implements that you use only occasionally.  An effective strategy is to share equipment with friends and neighbours.  In addition, you could also swap plants, or buy together in bulk.