Inflation today spares no one, not even the most evergreen and pristine of lawns.
“Inflation is coming for your lawn,” Linkedin’s Mischa Fischer warns.
Soaring gas prices, escalating labor costs and equipment shortages are helping send the price of the average lawnmower, both manual and riding, rocketing skyward with no cap ceiling in site. Even the White House and Wrigley Field lawn crews are feeling the pinch.
“All this is bad news for landscapers and homeowners,” Axios’ Pete Gannon said. “But it’s good news for companies like John Deere, Honda and The Toro Company.”
On average, U.S. households spend $503 annually on lawn care and gardens – almost $200 more than 2014, per Method.Me. The National Gardening Association estimates Americans will spend $50 billion and 73 hours caring for their lawns this year.
The Increased Cost of Seeing Green
But this summer, Americans will pay substantially more just to start their mowers’ engines. The Lawn Review reports the average battery-powered push mower retails for $300, gas mowers go for $250 on average and electric push mowers start around $150. The 2022 average lawn tractor price is $2,300. Electric lawn tractors can run over $4,000. Engine horsepower and cutting width determine the price of lawn mowers. Mowers with larger engines and larger cutting decks will run higher.
“Anything related to house and home improvement is just so expensive right now it feels aspirational,” new homeowner Evie Smith Hatmaker told The Wall Street Journal.
Still, dedicated weekly lawn care is worth both the sweat equity and cash investment thanks to the multi-faceted value it brings to your home.
“Since lawns are often the first impression a guest gets when visiting someone’s home, having a well-manicured lawn shows you care about your home,” Method.Me’s Sarah Iranca writes. “Moreover, perfectly manicured lawns tend to bring up the home’s resale value.”
How to Fight Lawn Care Inflation
With inflation running wild on your lawn, Here’s AARP’s Top Tips on how to Save Money while maintaining your lawn this summer:
- Water Wisely, Not Wastefully. Most lawns require only 1 inch of water per week – including precipitation – to stay healthy. Do not overwater and install an inexpensive rain gauge (usually $10 or less at your local hardware and garden store) to measure your weekly rainfall. Trust us, your water bill will thank you. When watering, use a sprinkler that sprays large drops close to the ground (rather than a high, fine spray) to ensure your lawn is getting its needed 1 inch weekly moisture level. Early morning watering between 5-10 a.m. allows water to soak the roots of plants, giving them the moisture they need for the day ahead.
- Mow to the Right Length. Even if you want your lawn to resemble Fenway Park or Wrigley Field’s, resist your unrealistic Major League Baseball landscape dreams and mow to a healthy height of 2 to 3 inches. A 2-3 inch cut allows plants to shade their own roots and soil, helping to retain moisture and reduce the need for watering.
- Use Natural Fertilizer. The best lawn fertilizer already lives in your lawn. By using a self-mulching lawn mower and leaving your grass clippings on your lawn to decompose naturally, your lawn will get around half the nitrogen it needs to remain healthy without you spending a dime.
- True TLC. Lawn care is true TLC for your home and property. And no matter how high inflation runs this summer, it can’t deflate the beauty and health of a well-manicured lawn.
“It takes a lot of hard work to keep a lawn healthy and vibrant,” Bob Vila’s Katie Flannery writes. “… Mowing regularly has many benefits that include a neat appearance, healthy grass and reduced risks of insects and pests.
“Regular maintenance can keep a lawn in good shape for years to come.”