A house with a deck and a lawn.

Can You Afford a Yard?

We weigh the pros and cons of owning a home with grass to maintain, including lawn care, gardening and time.

Choosing a home that requires outside care as well as indoor care requires careful consideration. When it comes to yard work and its costs, we offer positives and negatives each potential homeowner must weigh:

Pro. A little bit of yard can offer a lot of relaxation. Plop down an Adirondack chair, set up shop with a glass of lemonade, and you have a lovely afternoon. It's hard to compete with your own spot in the sun.

Con. That little bit of yard can require a lot of care. Consider the amount of items you'll need or want to purchase and keep on hand:

  • Lawn tools – mower, trimmer, hedger, leaf blower, rake, wheelbarrow
  • Small tools – weeding, gardening, buckets, watering can
  • Miscellaneous – Gloves, weed killer, pots, seeds, hose
  • Lawn furniture – Umbrella, yard toys, dog run, BBQ, fire pit

Pro. Have a place to play. Whether it's you, your children or your fur-children, having a place to BBQ, blow bubbles or fetch a bone is priceless.

Con. You have everything for the yard – now you have to store it. Many, if not all, will need to be stored during the harsher winter weather. If you have the space, consider purchasing a tool shed that can be placed adjacent to your home, locked, and organized to easily stow items year-round.

Pro. Enjoying the fruits – and veggies – of your labor. Gardening is a wonderful activity. It's good exercise, teaches a skill and science to youth, and can be good for the environment – not to mention your taste-buds.

Con. Using your spare time to weed, mow, hedge, trim, rake, plant, power-wash … If you owned a townhome, an HOA payment would typically cover this service, and you could be doing something else.

Neutral. If you enjoy a yard and can't spend the time maintaining it, consider paying for a lawn service. It's something you'll want to roll into your budget (we have a great budget builder if you need one). Check local rates for your purchase area, and add that into your housing equation – perhaps that will help you narrow down how large of a yard you can afford (along with the house size!).

Ultimately, it all comes down to time and cost – if a yard is worth the both that time and cost, then it's worth having. If you're considering buying, and have yet to start the process, read this first. You can receive up to 20% of your real estate agent's commission when using BECU Home Rewards.