It doesn’t surprise many to learn that most of the United States was “agrarian” at the time of the Civil War that started in the 1860s. Yet, almost 100 years later, as the Second World War loomed, the majority of Americans were still living in rural settings. In fact, it was not at all unusual for people to raise a big chunk of their own food, do lots of activities such as pickling and preserving, and put to use every inch of yard or garden as a form of unrecognized income. They might grow food and herbs, raise small livestock, and so on. Knowing this might lead you to wonder if you can make money in your yard today, and the answer is a resounding yes.
Whether you have a little postage stamp of a yard in an urban area or sprawling acreage in a rural location, you can find many ways to make money in your yard starting right this moment. I am going to share some of the ways that I have turned my lawn and garden into profits, as well as looking at many other potential ways make money in your yard or gardens, too.
Let’s start with the basics…
Make Money in Your Yard by Clearing It
Do you have one or more trees that need to be removed? If so, don’t just have anyone chop them down and haul them away. Take time to find out what type of trees you have. If they are hardwood, you are likely giving away good money if you just think of them as something to eliminate. The website SellYourTrees.com should be a go-to resource for anyone with trees to be cleared as it can make the difference between paying to lose money on good hardwood trees or earning a tidy sum on the project.
If those trees you are considering eliminating are sugar maples, you may want to reconsider. Though global warming is actually driving the maple syrup industry farther north, it is still thriving in many areas. If your property is home to several sugar maples, you will want to learn how to “tap” them, gather the sap that runs early in the spring or late winter, and turn it into maple syrup. Whether you have enough just for your own use (saving you around $50 or more per year) or you can sell it, it is an easy way to make money in your yard.
Of course, if the trees in your yard are fruit trees, and even if they are worn out or neglected fruit trees, they represent another opportunity to make money in your yard. How? By recovering the trees and getting them into a more productive cycle you can eliminate the costs of buying those fruits for a season or more. This is true whether you live far north and can grow only apples and pears or in the deep south where you might be lucky enough to grow citrus, bananas and avocados.
Just think of the things that you can create with fruit grown in your yard: organic jams, jellies and sauces, fruit butters and fruit leathers, dried fruits, baked goods, specialty juices and more. You can even sell baskets of fruit when in season, or just preserve them for yourself using freezing, dehydrating and canning. One apple tree can supply you with a few seasons of fresh fruit and preserved foods. Think of what you can save with a small orchard in the yard!
Don’t overlook hedges either. Blackberries, raspberries, elderberries and high bush blueberries are only a few of the berries that yield enormous returns if sold fresh, but which can help you make money in your yard by sparing you the expense of buying them in the store.
And if you mow the lawn, you are also overlooking valuable materials if you always let the clippings just sit there after the mowing is done. This is because you can use them in a multitude of ways that can keep you from wasting money on other materials. For example, they are great when added to compost bins and piles, if piled densely they are a good mulching material, and you can also use them in specialized worm bins to generate amazing valuable liquid fertilizers.
Now, with just a quick look at trees, shrubs and grass we have found many ways to make money in your yard. Yet, there are still dozens to go!
Growing Your Own
Naturally, you might think I am referring to a lucrative cash crop, which is legal in only a handful of states and hardly worth the struggles of pursuing the licensing just yet! No, I mean growing your own food or other cash crops. For instance, just a few miles from my home is a tiny little farm on just four acres. It is an herb and catnip farm that has made arrangements with local grocery stores and farmer’s markets and pre-sells almost everything planned for upcoming seasons.
You can follow that model and look at small space crops capable of being grown on even the tiniest yards. Catnip and herbs are good, but what about those wildly popular succulents that appear everywhere? Maybe you have the climate for crocus flowers by the hundreds? If so, you can make money in your yard, a ton of it in fact, if you grow the crocus varieties that yield the spice known as saffron. Consider growing oddball crops like gourmet mushrooms, or use a north facing area to grow ginseng – which can take a few years to establish itself, but which is worth huge sums when sold in the marketplace.
Don’t forget that you don’t even have to sell plants raised in the yard but can instead sell the seeds that those plants produce. Go for non-GMO, organic and heirloom plants and then raise them strictly for seeds. You can easily sell them for good sums at farmer’s markets and even online on sites like eBay. You can also make your own website or blog and use it to sell your small batch plants or seeds while merging it with all kinds of affiliate marketing activities oriented around gardening, garden gear and more. You can also specialize in seedlings alone, planting heirloom varieties and getting them good and hearty before selling them at a local farmer’s market. Even at around $1 each you can make an enormous profit.
And growing your own fruits and veggies has always been a great way to save and make money in your yard. You can put a small stand by the roadside to sell the food you grow, set up a tent at the farmer’s market, or just use it for your own needs.
If you don’t have a green thumb or the startup funds to put in a functional garden, you can turn to popular nonprofits that will do it all for you. Their goal is to eliminate the waste created by lawns that are fertilized and consume lots of water. Instead, they send out groups of volunteer gardeners who turn your lawn into a productive food source and share the crops with you while also dispersing them to those in need in the community.
One of the most famous of them is Fleet Farming but there are other urban farming projects in many areas, and you will want to dig around in your neck of the woods to see if there are groups eager to get their shovels, spades and other gear into the soil around your home. Consider YardSharing.org, FoodisFree and FoodNotLawns.com, among others.
And if you are going for the full-on farmer effect, you can also save and make money in your yard by raising laying hens and/or raising bees. You will need to first be sure that your area is zoned for hens and bees, and then determine the best way to go about raising them. Hens are not as easy to tend to as many think, but they can be a real joy as well as a money saving part of the family. They are great at keeping unwanted insects at bay (by eating them, of course) and even do a bit of weeding and lawn clipping if allowed.
Bees are a wonderful way to support the environment, the struggling bee colonies and your bottom line. After all, even if you just give a corner of your yard to the hives (and have someone else take care of the bees and structures they inhabit), you are still going to make money in your yard. Honey in return for a bit of green space is a good deal for you, especially if you also plant specialty crops for the bees to use – such as lavender or clover.
Beyond the Green Stuff
So, you may not be all that eager to dedicate time and resources to activities like gardening, mini farms, or tending to fruit trees. That can leave you wondering whether or not there are any other ways for you to make money in your yard. In a word: Yes.
In an earlier article entitled “Super Monetize Your Home and Home Office”, I took you through the ways you can monetize your home from the top down and inside and out. In that article I mentioned that your driveway and spare parking areas can actually be used to generate quite a bit of unexpected, and gladly welcome, income. For instance, you can make money on the driveway using:
- ParkOnMyDrive– This is a website that lets you register your space and users can then login and seek any available sites in your area. They can book it for a brief, one day gig or pay you to leave their car or truck there for a longer-term arrangement.
- JustPark – This is an app that lets users search for any available parking spaces in a specific range, and then book it through the app. This too is a long or short-term option.
- Spot – This app is all about monetizing unused parking spaces and you can make any of your space available at will, ensuring you always have the best spot but letting someone else rent it when you don’t need it. For instance, you can make your space available from the moment you leave for work to 30 minutes before you return home.
- DIY – You can also simply use lawn signage or sites like Craigslist to let people know that you have an empty garage bay or parking area for larger items like boats, RVs and trailers. You will want to research prices in the area and come in at a point just a bit less than the average price (but keep any insurance premiums in mind to be certain you make a good profit).
And what if parking or garage spaces are not in great abundance? You can still make money from your yard in a few other ways. You can consider offering up your fully secure and fenced in yard as a spot for dog sitting. If you are home all day, would like the company of a few friendly and socialized dogs and have the yard suited to it, you can use a site like Rover to let dog owners know who and where you are and that you are open for dog-sitting business!
Finally, if you have a little used but safe and secure backyard pool, you can do as one of my neighbors has been doing for a few years – offer private swimming lessons. She got her Red Cross lifeguard, swimming instruction and water safety training and certification and then began offering parents in the neighborhood a more affordable way to get their kids trained in swimming. Word of mouth spread, and she now has a waiting list. That’s definitely a good way to make money in the yard!
I hope you can find a few ways to generate cash from the yard around you, and even cut down on the time, cost and hassles of traditional yard maintenance and upkeep!