Managing Your Property

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Paolo Ertreo
  • Homeowner
  • California
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Reducing lawn landscaping costs

Paolo Ertreo
  • Homeowner
  • California
Posted Jun 21 2022, 00:17

Hi all, I'm a new owner of a multi family in Cleveland and am wondering how you all go about lawn maintenance. I've heard that the city if Cleveland has hefty fines for lawns that are overgrown. I'm thinking of reducing overhead and costs by removing my grassy lawn entirely in favor of low maintenance ground coverings. Has anyone done this? 

Furthermore, would the city give me grief for replacing grass with pebbles in the smaller plot of dirt adjacent to the street? I see it done often here in NorCal. Thanks!

Cleveland, Ohio

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Rodney Sums
  • Laveen, AZ
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Rodney Sums
  • Laveen, AZ
Replied Jun 21 2022, 00:46
Quote from @Paolo Ertreo:

Hi all, I'm a new owner of a multi family in Cleveland and am wondering how you all go about lawn maintenance. I've heard that the city if Cleveland has hefty fines for lawns that are overgrown. I'm thinking of reducing overhead and costs by removing my grassy lawn entirely in favor of low maintenance ground coverings. Has anyone done this? 

Furthermore, would the city give me grief for replacing grass with pebbles in the smaller plot of dirt adjacent to the street? I see it done often here in NorCal. Thanks!


 What's your lawn care been running? How often are they out there? 

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James Wise
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Cleveland, OH
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James Wise
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Cleveland, OH
Replied Jun 21 2022, 05:25
Quote from @Paolo Ertreo:

Hi all, I'm a new owner of a multi family in Cleveland and am wondering how you all go about lawn maintenance. I've heard that the city if Cleveland has hefty fines for lawns that are overgrown. I'm thinking of reducing overhead and costs by removing my grassy lawn entirely in favor of low maintenance ground coverings. Has anyone done this? 

Furthermore, would the city give me grief for replacing grass with pebbles in the smaller plot of dirt adjacent to the street? I see it done often here in NorCal. Thanks!


 Gonna be nothing but weeds if not maintained.

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Replied Jun 21 2022, 06:32

Why not include lawn maintenance as part of the rent (ie add in the cost of lawn care and hire someone to do it)?  So if a comparable place goes for $1000 and cutting the lawn costs $100 a month (and it is done for a max of 6 months), then charge $1050 and advertize it saying the price includes cutting grass.

Drive around and see what others have done or call the city and ask about other options. I can't see any city preventing you from doing a low maintenance yard.  But remember low maintenance isn't the same as no maintenance.  Also will it affect your ability to rent the property?

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Paolo Ertreo
  • Homeowner
  • California
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Paolo Ertreo
  • Homeowner
  • California
Replied Jun 21 2022, 17:38
Quote from @Rodney Sums:
Quote from @Paolo Ertreo:

Hi all, I'm a new owner of a multi family in Cleveland and am wondering how you all go about lawn maintenance. I've heard that the city if Cleveland has hefty fines for lawns that are overgrown. I'm thinking of reducing overhead and costs by removing my grassy lawn entirely in favor of low maintenance ground coverings. Has anyone done this? 

Furthermore, would the city give me grief for replacing grass with pebbles in the smaller plot of dirt adjacent to the street? I see it done often here in NorCal. Thanks!


 What's your lawn care been running? How often are they out there? 


 I just closed on this property and have no record of past lawn care costs. Being my first property I didn’t know to ask. I’ve gotten quotes for weekly lawn cuts ranging $35-$50/cut.

The lawn is quite small (unders 250 sq ft) and not really of any use so might replace with hardscaping or artificial turf. I was more concerned with the strip of grass between the sidewalk and street (dunno if I can alter that)

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Henry T.
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Replied Jul 6 2022, 13:07

Gravel, or tree bark, and smother it every 6 months with Roundup. Not as nice as grass though.

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JD Martin
  • Rock Star Extraordinaire
  • Northeast, TN
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JD Martin
  • Rock Star Extraordinaire
  • Northeast, TN
ModeratorReplied Jul 6 2022, 13:21

Lets say you have 30 weeks of cuts in Cleveland (I think it's less but let's give climate change a nod) and you pay the most expensive, $50 per cut. That's $1500 per year.

My guess is that if you find a landscaper to do the work you're talking about you'll spend a couple of grand on the work. Then you will need to spend at least a few hundred - let's call it $500 - per year maintaining what you've done - pulling weeds, putting in mulch, replacing the occasional dead plant, etc.

I'd say your break even is at best 3 years away, at the risk of your place looking like a craphole because no one is maintaining the landscape. I love a nice landscape - planting beds, etc - but in virtually all of my rentals we take them out and replace with sod. Why? Because no one will maintain the garden beds. Cutting the grass is cheaper and easier than anything else you can do in the long run. 

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Nicholas Misch
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Cleveland, OH
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Nicholas Misch
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Cleveland, OH
Replied Jul 6 2022, 18:24

Artificial turf looks.....artificial. :) Also can get really jacked up with the heavy ice and snow here. 

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Bruce Woodruff#3 All Forums Contributor
  • Contractor
  • Arizona
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Bruce Woodruff#3 All Forums Contributor
  • Contractor
  • Arizona
Replied Jul 6 2022, 19:28

Rip it out and replace with DG (decomposed granite). Spray a weed killer and pre-emergent as required to control weeds. Put in some low water plants that are native to your area....

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Andrew Weiner
  • Property Manager
  • Cleveland, Oh
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Andrew Weiner
  • Property Manager
  • Cleveland, Oh
Replied Jul 7 2022, 10:06

Is it a single family or a multi family?  If its a single family and you self manage you could try to get the tenant to do it for less or give them a small credit.  I'm not a fan of doing this because if they mess up and you get a fine then your in a fight with the tenant and trying to get back that money is never a good situation. 

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Alexander Szikla
  • Real Estate Agent
  • New York City
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Alexander Szikla
  • Real Estate Agent
  • New York City
Replied Jul 7 2022, 14:34

Why not deputize a tenant to take care of it and give them some special perk (i.e. BBQ area)? 

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Erin Dorsey Robinson
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Cleveland, OH
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Erin Dorsey Robinson
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Cleveland, OH
Replied Jul 13 2022, 08:10

I actually agree with the others who have cautioned you about the weeds. I think you're probably asking for trouble with putting pebbles in the lawn. We have had great success with having tenants take care of the lawn. They get a credit and we've had no problems. Feel free to reach out if you want to discuss further. I can give you some more pointers from our experience about how to get the tenants to be part of the solution.

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Caroline Gerardo
  • Lender
  • Laguna Niguel, CA
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Caroline Gerardo
  • Lender
  • Laguna Niguel, CA
Replied Jul 13 2022, 08:17

@Henry T. not roundup please.

Remove grass replace with clover only needs mowing monthly.

Remove grass replace with heuchera or creeping phlox which need no mowing but are colorful.

Replace with something native. Add some stepping stones to reduce the amount of dirt.

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Henry T.
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Replied Jul 13 2022, 09:24
Quote from @Caroline Gerardo:

@Henry T. not roundup please.

Remove grass replace with clover only needs mowing monthly.

Remove grass replace with heuchera or creeping phlox which need no mowing but are colorful.

Replace with something native. Add some stepping stones to reduce the amount of dirt.


 Yeah, I'm not a big fan either.

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Jill F.
  • Investor
  • Akron, OH
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Jill F.
  • Investor
  • Akron, OH
Replied Jul 13 2022, 09:59
 Most of the good lawn companies are pricey. Most tenants suck at lawn care. I still have tenant lawn care though because right now we are still growing and spending so much time on reno that I suck at lawn care too. <looking out window at my house> yup, my lawn needs cut too. On the bright side at least we can still have pretty lawns in Ohio usually without having to water.