Winter Maintenance: Saving Cash On Your Garden And Home Repairs

Petar Gazivodaby:

Garden

The weather has turned in many parts of Europe and the UK. This has left most of our gardens in a state of dis-repair.

Do you have outstanding jobs around the garden? Now is the perfect time to get them done before the big freeze hits us.

Maintaining a garden or small garden through the Winter doesn’t need to cost you a fortune or cause you a headache. With a few simple steps planned out, your garden will be brimming with the benefits.

Plan your strategy

When you know exactly what you need you can shop for it and not waste money on extras you may never use.

Then do some research on your local area. What plants grow well in your region? What grows naturally there? Which ones fit with your lifestyle? Can you handle high maintenance plantings or not? Which pests do you need to watch for and can you plant something that deters them?

“If you have a big project in mind like building a deck or patio, an hour-long consultation with a professional might keep you from making some costly mistakes.”

Look for free and low-cost plants

You can get no-cost items for your garden by asking to take cuttings from plantings friends, relatives and neighbours have. This also works for trees and bushes. Be sure to offer the giver something in return from your yard.

For very little money, you can invest in seeds. Sow them in the ground or in containers as soon as the last frost of the season is history. Ones that do well in most growing zones include Bachelor’s Buttons, Calendula, and Nasturtiums.

Plant sales hosted by arboretums, botanical centres and garden clubs are another treasure trove for healthy flowers and greenery.

When the spring planting season dwindles, you can often find a clearance table at your local nursery.

Check Off the Beaten Path for Supplies

Instead of browsing garden centres for pots, accessories or whatever you need to refresh your yard, you can save money by looking at pound shops, car boot sales, and 2nd hand shops. These places often have fetching containers, decorative items and gloves.

Or take that weekly coupon sent out by Michael’s, Jo-Ann Store’s or Bed Bath & Beyond and search their shelves for something to make your landscaping sparkle.

  • Visit the “farm + garden” section of gumtree.com and look on Freecycle.org to see if you can use any of those offers.
  • Don’t neglect what you already have in your garage or basement, either. You can plant in all types of containers including wheelbarrows, tires, buckets, shoes, etc.
  • Some cities offer free or low-cost mulch, compost or fertilizer like zoo-do.
  • Construction sites where demolition is taking place can be a good source for bricks or stones.

Chat Up Your Neighbours

On those walks, you take for inspiration, say “hi” to anyone who is working in their yards. Get to know them.

In the future, you can ask to borrow a specialized tool they have. Or if you want to rent some big equipment, maybe you and a few neighbours can all use it and share the cost.

Buy topsoil or gravel in bulk and split it with your newfound friends.

If they have some healthy beautiful trees or bushes you’d like to replicate in your landscape, ask if you can take cuttings. Cut a few woody stems on an angle, take them home and dip it in rooting hormone powder. Place in good soil in a small pot. They should sprout roots in a few weeks, and you can plant them in a few months.

Soon, people will flock to you asking for advice on how to make their landscaping as beautiful as yours.

Repairs for the Winter

Many of our expenses occur on a regular schedule. The seasonal maintenance required on our home is one such regularly occurring expense.

Using loans or credit is often tempting for these small costs. The website Simplepayday.co.uk is offering loans just for these emergency scenarios. The loans do carry higher than normal interest rates, however, so borrowers are often warned to avoid using these loans unless they have no other choice.

However, small repairs needn’t cost a lot of money, and that is why small loans make the most sense. If you only need say £50 to fix something in your home, there is the little point being laden with a loan for a few years.

Cheap repair jobs around the home for little to no money

Air Conditioner

Air conditioners are expensive to purchase and repair, but a little routine maintenance will increase its life. First, a vacuum or garden hose goes a long way. Unplug the power to the unit and remove all debris.

Purchase an air conditioner cover to keep debris from building up during the fall and winter months. Covers start at £20 and may save you from paying a costly repair bill later. Finally, some heating and air conditioning companies have fall and winter maintenance packages for your furnace and air conditioning at a reasonable price.

Gutters

During the fall and winter, gutters fill with leaves and other debris from surrounding trees. Although cleaning the gutters after the leaves fall in September and October is advised, Oak trees, as well as many others, may continue dropping leave through the winter.

Start the Spring and Summer out right with clean gutters and for homes with a lot of trees, gutter guards are an easy project for many DIY’ers.

Garage Door Opener

You might have noticed the large springs attached to your garage door. These springs counterbalance the weight of the door making it easier for your garage door opener to open and shut the door. Unbalanced garage doors significantly reduce the life of the opener. Disengage the door from the opener and lift it to about waist height. The door should stay in place or fall slowly. If it is out of balance, hire a pro to balance the spring. This is a modest cost compared to replacing the opener, but because these springs are dangerous, the DIY’ersare best advised to steer clear of this repair.

Trees

The weight of snow and ice can produce dangerous situations. Cut tree branches away from your home to reduce the number of insects and debris reaching your roof. Examine the trees for major cracks and if you see that the tree is leaning or appears dead, hire a tree service to take it down.

You’ll get the best prices if you get the work done while the temperatures are still cold but remember to get multiple estimates. Finally, if you neglect a dangerous tree and it damages your neighbours’ property, you may have to pay for repairs to their property. Take care of any dangerous branches that could cause damage if it falls.

Things to remember

  1. The single most important thing to remember is “Aim for a multiyear project” and accept that what you do won’t be all done in a weekend. It requires some patience, of which I don’t think I have in much abundance, but when you’re talking about things that grow (slowly) there’s not much you can do. If you focus on incrementally beautifying your foliage, you can save a little money and some sanity.
  2. A tip I didn’t even think about was planting trees to help save on heating and cooling costs. Evergreen trees to the north and leafy green trees to the south. One will block wind and the other some sun, and you’ll save somewhere in the neighbourhood of 25% they claim. Remember, we’re talking trees here so it’ll take a few years for this to bear fruit.
  3. Finally, good mulch is key and something you shouldn’t scrimp on because it can diminish the value you’ve just spent your hard-earned money on. Planting some bulbs in malnourished dirt means you’ll get small, sad flowers when you could’ve popped it in some good mulch and gotten more value out of it.

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