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The cost of maintaining your backyard

Date posted:  8/10/16 09:00:00 AM

Back yards are a great place for activities and relaxation, from grilling with friends to reading a book under the summer sun. But it's not all fun and games when it comes to maintaining your back yard, even more so if you have a vast space and potentially a swimming pool.

Maintaining your property is a must for a variety of reasons, from creating a welcoming and pleasant space, to preventing issues from forming. Lawn and pool maintenance each require a time commitment that you can't avoid.

In addition to time, back yard maintenance also requires a financial investment. Here is what you can expect:

Lawn maintenance
No matter the size of your back yard and front yard or how much grass you have, you'll have to keep your lawn looking tidy, luscious and green. Front yards that are bare, or are full of dirt or weeds, are not appealing to look at and can give neighbors or those passing by the wrong impression.

If you're considering selling your home, a well-maintained lawn will be noticed by potential buyers, and they might develop a stronger interest in your property. Don't underestimate the power of curb appeal.

The cost of maintenance depends on how much work you're willing to put in, or if you'll hire professional lawn care services to do most of the maintenance. There are perks and drawbacks to both, depending on your time and budget.

A lawn mower is arguably the most important piece of equipment you'll need, and the cost will depend on what type you get. As highlighted on Lowe's site, you can get electric or corded push mowers, reel lawn mowers, gas push or even ones you can sit and ride in. Survey your back yard to see which option will work best, but you can expect to spend more than $150 on a lawn mower.

You'll then need a trimmer to help you cut grass in corners, on a steep incline or near plants. On the low end, you might be able to find one for around $50, with more expensive models being under $200.

A spreader can be  used to disperse fertilizer to encourage grass and plants to grow. According to The Home Depot, spreaders will help you avoid creating clumps of fertilizer in your yard. The two types are drop spreaders, which is essentially a bucket on top of two wheels. The other is a broadcast spreader. This device is suitable if you have a larger lawn and will help you evenly distribute the fertilizer.

Other supplies and tools you'll need will include a rake, shovels and fertilizer. Together, everything might seem like a lot, but the good news is once you purchase one piece of equipment, you won't need another until it has to be replaced.

If you don't have enough time in your schedule to always stay on top of lawn maintenance, you can hire professional services. The average cost to maintain a lawn will vary depending how often landscapers come out, where you live and large your lawn is.

Swimming pool maintenance
Maintaining your swimming pool involves more work during the summer months than when it's colder outside. These expenses don't include the upfront cost of installing the pool, which according to ImproveNet, could be anywhere from $14,961 to $21,649 for an in-ground pool. Above ground pools are cheaper, typically costing less than $5,000 for installation.

Professional pool services can visit at the start and end of summer to open and close your pool. You can also have them stop by for weekly or biweekly cleanings. However, owning a pool involves more than simply removing debris from the water—you'll also have to keep track of chemical levels to ensure the water is safe to swim in and is crystal clear.

A pool net cleaner is needed to skim the top of the water, while you'll use a vacuum to get anything that is below the surface. Luckily, these don't cost much, and you can find them for $50 or less at your local pool supplies store.

Chemicals are required to kill bacteria, and according to CNN Money, these costs may be around $85 a month. Additional expenses may come in around $1,000 for the year. But like lawn maintenance, the size and type of pool you own will factor into the price.

As a homeowner, you have a lot to take care of. Lawn maintenance is a must, as is cleaning your swimming pool if you own one. You have to invest time into taking care of everything, as well as money.

Costs will vary, but by budgeting your monthly income, you'll be prepared for the expense and will be able to enjoy relaxing in your back yard or pool.