Reader's lawn and landscaping opinions
The pros & cons of hiring a professional
I can think of a lot of reasons to use a professional lawn care company, but not too many reasons not to hire one.
Cost probably comes to mind first for not hiring a professional. Obviously, hiring someone is going to cost something. There's not too many companies that don't want to feed their families. Owning a home has certain costs involved. For example, if you don't maintain your house, it falls into disrepair. You saved money by not keeping it in good working order, but at what cost. That leaking roof that got neglected has now ruined your plaster ceiling. That clogged gutter that overflows with every rain has now caused cracks in the basement wall.
None of these items are in themselves catastrophic, but they do start to add up financially. The home that should have been gaining in appreciation has now declined in value for lack of maintenance.
Maintenance of your property-- a matter of time and expense
Good lawn maintenance is just as important as keeping the roof fixed and the gutters cleaned. A well-kept lawn is a good indicator of the care the homeowner takes with the rest of a house's maintenance. Seldom do you see a beautiful landscape surrounding a home with peeling paint.
Advantages of hiring a pro
When a lawn care company becomes involved with your lawn, you don't have to worry about a lot of things, like when to treat your lawn they do it for you. Regular treatments are key to great lawns.
Licensed professional lawn care providers are very aware of environmental concerns. They understand all the fine print you'll see on the back of a label, including all the warning precautions.
Many professional lawn care providers are unfairly criticized for harming the water quality of our rivers and streams by putting down too much fertilizer that runs off into our streams. The fact is, that professionals are more likely to apply a lawn care product correctly than the average homeowner. Most of us think that if a little bit is good, more is even better, which is not true. When applied properly, lawn fertilizers do not run off as many environmentalists suggest or leach into our aquifers. They are gradually absorbed into the soil and used up by the plants they are intended to help.
You don't have to worry about which application should be applied and at what rate. You don't have to store nasty chemicals around the house that could possibly harm someone they do that for you, and they apply only the amount of any particular treatment necessary to do the job. Studies have shown that homeowners typically over-treat their lawns by as much as 50%, which is not only wasteful, but can be harmful to the environment.
You don't have to worry about identifying harmful lawn diseases and which treatment best controls them before they also turn your lawn into a patch of dead spots.
The cost of lawn care can be looked at from several different viewpoints.
The value you place on your time if you do-it-yourself. The cost of materials to put on your lawn. The cost of equipment to apply the materials. And, the cost of your peace of mind wondering if you are doing the right thing at the right time. Compared with the relatively minor cost of regular care from a professional lawn care company, the answer seems obvious.
Does cost equate with quality?
Lawn care companies offer agronomic expertise and a convenient, time-saving service at a most reasonable cost. In a competitive market, prices for similar lawn care programs may differ little from company to company. A company that appears more expensive that the other may offer some services as part of its "standard" program which are designated as optional (extra-cost) services (see Table 1) with the less expensive companies. Be wary of that company that claims to offer services similar to those of other companies at a much lower price and seems "too good to be true"-it probably is! Also avoid companies that do not furnish a contract detailing their services and your obligations as a customer.
A list of desirable services offered as options by many lawn service companies:
Save your peace of mind and contact a local lawn care provider to help you make your lawn the best lawn possible.