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The yard is often the first thing people notice about your home—specifically, how well you’ve maintained it. And the thing about curb appeal is it requires consistent care, which is why we dedicate so much time during the spring and summer months mowing the lawn. It might not seem like you’re out there long, but those hours add up over the years. A new survey from House Method reveals Americans with an average yard size of 0.15 acres will spend anywhere from seven to 48 days of their life cutting the grass. 

The time you put in largely depends on your method (those with large zero-turn mowers will shave off a lot more hours than those with small push ones). This chore is also more of a commitment for people living in the Northeast, where hardy options like Kentucky bluegrass flourish even during the winter. Before you start calculating all the vacations you could have gone on or other projects you could have completed, there are some steps you can take to get those lost days back (or at the very least not waste anymore). 

One option is to shrink your lawn and weave in a meadow of flowers, which is aesthetically pleasing and helps sustain native wildlife. It’s an investment to make the change, but it covers ground similar to a lawn, just with less trimming involved. If you’re toying with the idea of additional hardscaping but don’t want to give up your greenery entirely, consider a sedum-based, CO2-absorbing roof garden. It requires minimal upkeep and rarely needs replacing. Finally, plant more trees. Not only do they reduce temperatures, but a recent study showed that adults who live in neighborhoods that are at least 30 percent covered with canopies are less likely to develop psychological distress. With all this time we’re spending in our yards, we should be able to enjoy them. So crack open a book, sip an Aperol Spritz, and find your place in the shade.

It’s hammer time: Follow @reno_notebook for easy rental updates, clever DIYs, and tips to nail your next project.