In an effort to continue adding value to my home I looked at my DIY to-do list. I use the Wunderlist app to track all the things I want to do. This past month I made a small improvement to the front garden.
Zero Grass, Zero Effort.
I had previously gotten rid of the lawn. What? I thought you wanted to add value, not take it away. Yes, I did consider this because my area is very popular with families (cul-de-sac near three schools). Families with kids like lawns. But single guys with better things to do with their time don’t. My own selfishness won in the end. I was all too happy to kill off the grass and replace it with Clonard Gold stones. Shortly after that I sold the lawn mower I had too. This freed up my time and space in my shed. If I ever rented the entire house I would also be reducing my obligations because landlords in Ireland are responsible for the maintenance of lawns and gardens.
Raised Beds from Salvaged Wood
I had salvaged some long pressure treated boards from a skip. They were originally used as the framing supports for a deck. I use these to construct a raised bed. Last Autumn I had filled two crates with leaves I had collected from the ground around my estate. This had turned into a rich, dark compost that I used to fill my new raised bed. I topped it with some more rotting organic material from my back garden and covered it in a layer of topsoil. I don’t consider this improvement a very significant way of adding value to a house because all wood rots. Pressure treated boards of this thickness (2 inches) will last a few years though.
What to Plant – Flowers and Shrubs or Grow my Own?
I will probably let the raised bed fallow until early spring to make sure everything has broken down fully and see if there is any settling. If so, I can top it up with more leave mould or compost. After that, I may use the space to grow some vegetables. While I am very keen to get more into growing my own, the time commitment doesn’t always suit me because I travel. With this in mind I will be looking into perennial vegetables and fruits. The apple tree I have in my back garden has been more than worth the €5 it cost me. Around this time of year I can walk into my garden and pull a fresh apple from the tree which tastes sweeter than any shop-bought one. Mature fruit bearing trees are another way of adding value to your property.
What are the advantages of Getting rid of your lawn and building raised beds?
- I don’t cut grass – The biggest advantage is lower maintenance. I no longer spend lots of time maintaining my lawn
- I own less stuff – I was able to get rid of my lawn mower. I sold it for €20 on adverts.ie and the guy who bought it from me was a hilarious Del Boy!
- Almost no weeding – I put down Mypex under the stones which block weeds but you can use any weed-block membrane. I get the occasional small sprouting weed that grows in the stones but because the roots have no real grip in soil they come up so easily.
- I started growing food – since building he raised bed I have planted garlic, strawberries and apple trees to experiment more with subsidising the grocery bill.
Give it a try...
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