Renting a house does not mean you cannot have a say in how the lawn looks.
Renters are often under the impression that landlords and property managers assume 100 percent responsibility for landscaping tasks. However, many landlords and property owners encourage tenants to assume some of the responsibility for maintaining a vibrant lawn and a beautifully sculpted garden.
Your lease will define who is responsible for monthly lawn care. According to Utopia Management, there is no specific rule of thumb, about half of landlords prefer to provide lawncare, and half require the tenant to fulfill those duties. However, in either case, landlords tend to be extremely open to additional landscape improvements by the tenant, even encouraging and preferring it. Whether you’re responsible for mowing your own lawn or not, you can still find ways to improve and participate in your landscaping, making the home feel like your own. The benefits are that you make the home feel like your own, enjoy a sense of pride in beauty of your home, and get to partake in the lifelong hobby of gardening as an expression of creativity and joy.
Here are a few landscaping tips for renters. The answer is to keep it simple and if you have a more complex landscaping project in mind, make sure to run it by the property manager for approval. You may even convince a landlord to share some of the costs with you.
Stick to a Consistent Mowing Schedule
Because of the temperate Mediterranean-like climate, San Jose’s growing season typically starts in early February and it runs until mid-December. That is more than 10 months of mowing grass. Follow a consistent mowing schedule, such as every seven days during the rainy season and around two weeks when the weather turns much drier.
Pruning for Looks
Outside of overly long grass, nothing detracts from the appearance of a home more than overgrown bushes and shrubs. You do not need the landlord’s permission to prune the bushes and shrubs that surround your rental home, and may even be required to. However, you should brush up on when it is the best time to prune different bush and shrub species.
Clean the Gutters
You might what wonder what do gutters have to do with maintaining a healthy lawn and garden. The answer is overly clogged gutters eventually spill debris across a property. The unsightly mess indicates the landlord does not do a good job of maintaining the property. Cleaning the gutters can be done twice a year around the end of growing season and during the middle of summer.
Go Greener with Low Maintenance Plants
Mowing the lawn is just one way to develop a greener lawn. Another way to get greener is by planting certain species of plants that enhance the appearance of your rental house. Cliff Bressler of Nature’s Friends Landscaping suggests boxwoods, hydrangeas, and weigela as solid options for dwarf shrubs.
Native plants in gardening are growing in popularity, and they naturally require less maintenance and offer a more organic, relaxed landscape design.
For flowers, choosing perennials instead of annuals will also cut down on maintenance, as annuals will die out and require replacing seasonally.
Using a ground cover, such as an ivy, is another way to decrease the area to be mowed and maintained.
Weed Control without Using Chemicals
Although herbicides and pesticides do a good job of killing weeds and then preventing any regrowth, you can go chemical free and still eliminate weeds by using a barrier cloth. An organic, biodegradable barrier cloth is an effective weed deterrent when placed around vulnerable plants, as well as susceptible area of the yard where weeds flourish. Using a weed barrier is an effective anti-weed strategy for protecting annuals. Since barrier cloths require frequent replacing, you can expect to spend a little money to optimize the benefits of this landscaping tip for your rental home.
Mulch Your Way to a Better Lawn and Garden
Mulching delivers a powerful one-two punch for tenants to enhance the appearance of a lawn and garden. By adding mulch around plants, you prevent soil erosion and improve the retention of moisture for thirsty plants. Mulch also presents a finely manicured appearance for the lawn. Depending on your landscaping objectives, you can go with organic mulch such as cedar and cypress, or turn to inorganic mulch like rubber. Mulching offers an affordable way to improve the appearance of the entire property, while eliminating the use of harmful chemicals to fend off weeds and pests.
Add Tasteful Lawn Art
If it does not dominate the aesthetics of a lawn and garden, lawn art can enhance the appearance of your rental home. You want to stay away from eye-cringing artifacts such as gnomes and instead utilize natural resources like the sun to project more illumination off visually appealing objects. Adding a water fountain to attract birds or a statute to provide a temporary home for squirrels can increase wildlife activity.
Displaying a symmetrical formation of rocks brings a sense of design uniformity to any landscaping project. Rocks that encircle a large tree or lead up to a walkway can improve the look of a lawn and garden. Rocks also add a high degree of functionality when placed around a garden by helping the soil retain more moisture and nutrients.
Keep Water Flowing
Installing a sprinkler system sounds like a great idea, and even your landlord agrees it makes sense. However, the high cost of most water sprinklers makes installing a sprinkler system out of the question. Instead, you can keep the lawn looking green and the garden flush with colorful plants by following a consistent watering schedule. Watering is not as important during the rainy season, which runs from late October until early April.
With these nine landscaping tips for your rental house, you will assume a level of ownership that will make your landlord happy. It will also keep you active in the daily management of the rental property.