(BPT) You love your space and freedom. It’s your pride and joy. Acres of land surround your home in the country offering peace and quiet from the worries of the world. But, what you may not necessarily love is all the time it takes to care for it. After all, you’d rather be fishing, hunting, going off-road with your ATV, or watching professional bull riding.
With a little planning, and the right tools, you can make your land work for you, rather than you spending loads of time working it. Here are 10 tips by the yardcare experts at Toro, America’s number one mower brand, on how to cut your time mowing, and at the same time, enhance the value of your land.
1) Get your land surveyed. Before you make any big changes to your land, get your land surveyed to make sure you know exactly what the boundaries of your land are, including the location of trees, structures such as walls or sheds, and the location of power lines and underground utilities.
2) Get rid of the junk. Increase your land’s value by getting rid of any junk that’s creating an eyesore - old cars and trucks, garbage heaps, crumbling sheds, etc. Decluttering your land of junk removes habitat for snakes and rodents, and opens your land to more possibilities.
3) Create a master plan for your land. Whether you own a couple of acres or 250 acres, use your survey to develop a long-term plan for your land. Your plan can help you reduce maintenance time, create more beautiful views, build areas where you can work and play, improve access to your land, and better define boundaries with your neighbors. Consider hiring a professional landscaper to provide ideas for your plan on how to use your land better.
4) Use the right tools to get the job done right the first time. If you’re mowing an acre or more, it’s time to ditch the slow-moving garden tractor or even the push-behind mower. Cut your mowing time in half by upgrading to an easy-to-maneuver Titan zero-turn mower, specifically designed for mowing large acreage. With cutting decks up to 60 inches and an 8 mph engine, zero-turn mowers from Toro with the MyRIDE suspension system reduce riding vibration so you don’t have to slow down for bumps, roots and holes, allowing you to mow faster.
5) Update your fences. If you’re keeping dogs and other livestock on your land, update your fences (or install new fencing) to keep your animals safe, and your neighbors happy.
6) Invite nature into your land. As part of your master plan, create habitat that is inviting for certain types of wildlife, such as wild turkeys, songbirds, pollinating insects and deer. Seed and plant areas with plants and shrubs that naturally occur in your area to create areas where wildlife can live and eat, giving you the joy of watching animals while reducing your mowing area.
7) Vitamins for your lawn. When you cut your lawn too short, you can stress your grass. Instead, raise your mower and trim the top of your grass, say the lawn care experts at Toro. This is especially important during periods of the season with little precipitation. Allow those trimmings to stay in your lawn, where they will decompose naturally and provide valuable nutrients to your grass and soil.
8) Replace struggling lawn areas. Shady areas. Low soil pH. Compacted soil. Heavy traffic areas. There may be parts of your land that are simply not suited for a green lawn. Instead of fighting it, consider mulching those areas, building raised gardens, or planting other types of groundcovers.
9) Reduce water use. One of the biggest expenses of maintaining a big yard is the cost of water. And even if you’re not on a municipal water system, it’s important to reduce the use of precious well water. Change your watering habits by extending the periods between watering, water at night (instead of the daytime) to reduce evaporation and aerate your lawn to allow water and nutrients to strengthen your lawn’s root network.
10) Install buffer areas. If your land is located on a lake, pond, river, creek or marshland, create buffer areas between your lawn and the water. A buffer is a strip of land that you don’t mow. It captures runoff water and filters it before it enters a water area. Let your buffer grow long by not mowing it anymore, or you can plant perennial flowers, ornamental grasses and shrubs to beautify your yard. Either way, it means less mowing, and cleaner water.
For more ideas and tips on how to spend less time mowing and more time living, visit www.yardcare.toro.com.