Homeowners are spending more time beautifying their yards and gardens than ever before. The National Gardening Association reports that Americans spent $29.5 billion on outdoor lawn and garden spaces in 2012, up 1 percent from 2011. Two million more households participated in do-it-yourself lawn and garden activities in 2012 over the previous year, too.

If you plan on investing time, money and energy in an effort to upgrade your lawn and gardens, here are some trends to watch out for that can help you save money along the way.

Influences on Home Prices

One factor driving consumers to spend large amounts of time and energy on their outdoor spaces is real estate value. The quality and appearance of a lawn influences property values, selling prices and the perceived impression of the home standing on the land, according to the TruGreen Lawn Lifestyles National Survey of America.

More than 50 percent of homeowners surveyed indicated the appearance of a lawn reflects the overall home quality. Before investing in prettying up your lawn, contact your real estate agent to gauge expectations for how much improvements can be expected to impact your resale value, then budget accordingly.

Before You Buy

Research the equipment before you buy. Companies such as Husqvarna sell their products in multiple ways, through national chains, nurseries and local dealers. Although the company does not sell directly online, customers can gain access to specifications and product information, then locate a dealer nearby with zip code search tools.

By researching products with the company’s riding mower guide, for example, buyers gather more information about how to choose the right mower before visiting a dealer. Since mower prices range from $100 for a push model to more than $4,000 for a riding lawn mower with a wide-cutting deck, proper research can save homeowners hundreds.

Also, researching retailers is key to narrowing down the best prices. If you live in a small town or rural community, consider heading to a big-box retailer outside of your area for cheaper prices, though retailers closer by will be more available to answer equipment questions or help with maintenance, factors that could prove to be more valuable than saving money in the short term.

How You Beautify

Besides the time and cost you’ll be putting into the actual equipment, be aware of how improvements will affect your regular bills. Water bills depend on the size of the plot, the vegetation and the climate. The lawn management routine also influences price.

For example, homeowners who set mower blades for a three-inch cut and skip one watering a week can save 50 percent on water expense, Daily Finance reports. Don’t just look for less expensive tools—also look for ways to save on processes.

Landscaping is big business in America. Whether it is buying a lawn tractor or bedding plants, Americans invest billions of dollars on keeping outdoor spaces thriving and beautiful. Compare providers, equipment and processes to ensure you’re getting the best deals.

How have you saved on your home improvement efforts? Tell us in the comments.

George loves his kids, DIY home repair, and writing in his spare time.

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