For anyone who values the appearance of their yard and garden, traveling regularly or for long periods can bring an additional level of stress. If landscaping tasks are your means of performing self-care and reaping the mental health benefits of the routine that comes with it, the thought of leaving it unattended can be stressful.
Luckily, there are myriad options for ensuring your garden is taken care of while you’re away — ranging anywhere from asking a neighbor for help, or hiring professionals to perform upkeep, to letting it grow wild to promote local biodiversity.
Ask a Neighbor for Help
Neighbors can be valuable connections for a myriad of reasons, one of which could include keeping an eye on your lawn and garden while you are away. Depending on the space, you may need to ask your neighbor to make sure the sprinklers run properly, your garden beds are watered, or pests like squirrels or other pests aren’t damaging your property.
When asking neighbors to keep an eye on your lawn, consider providing the tools they may need in case something comes up, or if you’ve asked for something specific to be addressed. Fellow gardeners will likely have whatever they need, but the willingness to provide more is a courtesy that should be considered beforehand. This way, your neighbor isn’t put in an awkward position if they have to purchase a tool they don’t already own to address something in your yard.
Garden Before You Go
If you are unsure how much your neighbors will be able to help in keeping an eye on your yard, consider doing all of the heavy lifting and prep work before you leave. This includes weeding, sprinkler scheduling, fertilizing, and anything else that could help your garden settle for a few days without additional work being done.
Naturally, gardening before you go will require some pre-planning depending on the size and complexity of your yard. While some chores, such as watering and general cleanup, can be done the day before you leave, others should be considered further in advance.
For example, Almanac suggests lining your garden rows with wood or stones to collect rainwater and help the soil remain damp for longer. They also suggest investing in soaker hoses and irrigation tubes in the garden. By practicing and prioritizing good landscaping habits in general, these preparations may not be much different from your regular day-to-day upkeep.
Hire Lawncare Professionals
If you have the resources available, it may be more reliable for you to hire a lawn care service to tend to your yard and garden while you’re gone. Especially if you regularly maintain your garden well, the price of professionals coming by while you are away will likely not be nearly as costly as if they had to perform more in-depth work.
Luckily, with the advancement of landscaping technology, scheduling regular visits from lawn care specialists is less of a hassle if the professionals you choose are utilizing quality scheduling software. This makes it easy to work with them on a regular and recurring basis depending on how often you are away from home, without the additional hassle of having to call and schedule individual appointments.
Consider Pest Control for Longer Trips
If you are worried about unwelcome squirrels, moles, or other insect-related pests wreaking havoc on your garden, hiring a pest control company can help ease your mind while you are away.
Depending on the amount of time you will be away, you may consider hiring them to visit multiple times. A reputable company will also be able to send you updates on your yard and the work they did. This is especially true if the pest control professionals you hire are taking advantage of advances in pest control tech, which extends far beyond merely placing traps or searching manually.
Mulch Grass Clippings
Any savvy gardener knows the value of mulching grass. This natural fertilizer is highly valuable to gardens, and can be gathered easily if you also have a grass lawn you mow regularly. Applying a layer of grass mulch over your garden before you leave on vacation can help provide nutrients to your plants while you are away.
Allowing grass clippings to dry out before applying them to a vegetable garden can be more beneficial than using fresh cuttings. However, fresh cuttings can still provide a level of benefit to all plants and garden spaces, so long as you’re careful not to apply a layer that’s too thick and leads to rot.
Let the Yard Grow
If you don’t have the resources to take care of your yard while on vacation, you may consider simply letting it grow. There are benefits to letting a garden grow out —even temporarily. Allowing it to “run wild” for a short amount of time may even help to improve local biodiversity and show areas where improvements could be made to foster healthy biodiversity in the future. Before making this decision, however, just be sure to check with your local Homeowners Association (HOA) to see if this growth is permitted, as many HOAs may have certain restrictions regarding your landscaping choices.
As a compromise to this, you may also consider the environmental benefits of xeriscaping, which consists of allowing local flora to grow in your lawn that generally can fend for themselves when it comes to watering and climate control. By xeriscaping your yard, not only do you help to improve local biodiversity for both flora and fauna, it makes difficult yard work easier to manage in the long term.