When you’re ready to have someone take over your lawn care for you, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. That requires doing a little bit of research. You may know what you want but do you have any idea what a lawn care service provides? Do they trim the hedges, and mow the lawn, do they take care of the fertilizing, and do they do the edging? What comes in your yard maintenance deal? In most cases this is going to depend upon what type of package you choose. We’ll go over three different types of packages that are available for your yard care needs in Barrow County.
This is the lowest package, offering what is considered the most needed services. So what does this include? First mowing, it’s the thing everyone dreads spending their Saturday morning doing, so in the basic lawn care package, you’ll be able to skip the Saturday ritual in favor of sleeping in, or reading the comic strip. It will keep the home owners association at bay and the neighbors happy without you having to give up the weekend. Next in line in this lawn care basics is blowing away the mess from the paths. You won’t have to worry when it rains about slipping in the muck of soaked leaves because the lawn maintenance crew will have cleared them away. Twice a month they’re going to straighten up the edges of your lawn to keep it looking neat and tidy. Then five times during the course of the year they’ll make sure your lawn stays healthy by taking care of the fertilization for you, and during the winter they’ll care for the lawn with lime. Lastly, they’ll take care of the broadleaf weeds, the peskiest of the turf weeds. So even at the lowest end of the scale, having lawn maintenance can save you time and stress.
Finally, you get the whole kit and caboodle you get the basic and garden services mentioned above as well as, pruning, of shrubs after they bloom, of hedges when they need it, generally a few times a year. As the weather turns cold, the trees will need pruning as well, and just to put the cherry on top, they’ll take away your holiday tree, just make sure to leave the tinsel off. This covers the basics of what your lawn service should be providing; also, there are sometimes special services available, for instance if you’re pretty sure your yard is headed downhill you could look into one time only services.
Barrow County Lawn Care Pros Offer Tips to Refresh Summer-Damaged Lawns for Fall.
Byline: Pam Waterman Correspondent
We live in a dry Mediterranean climate, but you'd never know it. Just drive along most residential streets in Southern California and you see green lawns ooze out in front of houses as if they were growing on the East Coast with its plentiful supply of water.
No logic explains why most homeowners insist on a green lawn in this semi-arid region. We know our water has to be brought to us at great cost to the environment. And the water problem isn't likely to improve in the future, as more people crowd into the Los Angeles basin.
Some changes in our wasteful pattern of cultivating velvety, picture-perfect lawns are sure to come when water gets more expensive and California's rhythm of drought returns. Get a head start and begin planning a garden instead of a grass carpet that needs constant mowing, watering and fertilizing. Here are 10 alternatives to growing turf on your property. Each one requires less water than grass.
1. Grow drought-tolerant ground covers. Gazania, a bright, daisylike flower, grows either in clumps or as a trailing plant. If you have plenty of sun, ease into a lawn-less future by edging your grass with Gazania ``Burgundy'' or ``Copper King.''
Another choice for sunny spots is ice plant. It will soon be obvious that you get a bigger reward with ground covers than with turf.
Dwarf mondo grass is a good ground cover for a shady area. Although it takes time to become established, mondo grass spreads into an attractive mat in spaces where grass would be much more trouble.
Dozens of ground covers can serve as lawn substitutes: Dalea greggii (trailing indigo bush), Cotoneaster salicifolius ``Repens,'' Ceonathus griseus ``horizontalis,'' Arctotheca calendula, cape weed or Coprosma ``verde vista.'' These ground covers can be mixed with each other for more texture and color than any grass lawn could provide.
2. Plant a kitchen garden. OK, this kind of lawn substitute might take some getting used to. But for 20 years, Cynthia Null of Altadena has cultivated vegetables in her front yard area instead of the boring green grass of surrounding homes. Although she hasn't yet made any neighborhood converts to kitchen gardening, her neighbors all know that Null's tomatoes taste better than grass.
3. Plant a succulent garden. All you need to do is stroll through the Desert Garden at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Garden in San Marino to see thousands of interesting succulents that grow in a rainbow of colors with many leaf shapes. This is another lawn substitute that you could ease into. Plant a small succulent section in the sunniest part of your lawn and see how much better it looks and how much less care it takes than turf.
4. Leave it natural. This lawn substitute technique works best when you have a large lovely oak you want to preserve. Few homeowners would be happy with no planting at all around their oaks. You can safely locate a few natives or drought-tolerant plants like Centranthus ruber, Penstemon species, Ceonathus griseus horizontalis or Mahonia repens in the vicinity of the oak. But no grass inside the drip line. That is, if you want your oak to live a long life.
5. Plant an ivy collection. If conditions are not too difficult, you could substitute ivy for your lawn. Not the fast-growing, unattractive Algerian ivy (why plant a substitute lawn for something that doesn't look any better?), but English Ivy and perhaps some of the small- or miniature-leafed forms. This solution works best in a small area. I grow miniature ivies in pots, and I'd love to see a textured pattern on someone's former lawn with five or six different ivy cultivars.
6. Plant a garden of grasses. Many kinds of ornamental grasses are now available at local nurseries. An arrangement of feathery festucas, Muhlenbergia capillaris (pink hair grass), Miscanthus sinensis (Japanese silver grass), Pennisetum setaceum ``Rubrum'' or red fountain grass and smaller varieties such as common blue fescue will allow you to create a magical landscape that moves with the wind where a still, monotonous lawn used to be.
7. Plant a perennial garden. This type of garden also looks best when there's a smallish area of lawn to give up. But a small area doesn't mean you have to furnish with small plants. Think big. One homeowner I know loves cannas and allows these tall beauties to grow right up to the sidewalk.
8. Plant an herb garden. Dozens of wonderful herbs grow in our climate. Even if you don't use them for cooking, many herbs look good as ornamental plants. One place to get ideas is at the herb garden at the Huntington. On weekends, a representative from the local herb society has a table under the oaks and hands out information.
9. Create a serene oasis with trees, box and gravel. Although this kind of garden will take time to get established, your ultimate reward will be an unusual and lovely space - a space that will be at least one thousand times more interesting than a green lawn.
10. Install a dramatic hardscape and garden in pots. A garden floor of Mexican paver tiles is not maintenance-free but it's certainly less work than a lawn. The biggest expense comes from the materials.
This type of garden is especially appropriate for people who enjoy entertaining instead of growing grass.
There you are - 10 ideas for easing out of the green-lawn straitjacket. The advantage of most of these suggestions is that you can install them on a gradual basis. And you might find that a small patch of green lawn sets off the beauty of the perennials in the large surrounding beds.
Check your Sunset Western Garden Book for more suggestions. Visit local public gardens and your local nursery.
Professionals in horticulture know a drought is just around the corner. They're familiar with plants to use as grass substitutes. They're just waiting for the public to ask.
(1 -- cover -- color) 10 Ways to avoid mowing your lawn
Low-maintenance alternatives that simplify your life - and save water
(2 -- color) Growing a garden of succulents - including the wide variety of native California cactuses - is a handy substitute for a needy lawn.
(3 -- color) This lawn is not a lawn at all, just ground cover bracketed by trimmed hedgerows.
(4 -- color) Dwarf mondo grass is a good lawn substitute, growing well in shady areas where grass would be trouble.
Photos by Pam Waterman
The Best Landscaping for a Yard With Dogs
HOLMDEL, N.J. -- Summer lawns take a beating, with scorching temperatures and outdoor games causing bare patches and brown spots, and fall is the optimal time to get it back in shape so it can be enjoyed for another season.
According an EPA national home and garden survey, homeowners spend about $40 billion to improve damaged lawns and maintain a lush appearance. Lawn Doctor, the nation's leading expert in lawn care since 1967, says homeowners can enjoy a healthier fall lawn and lay the groundwork for next summer's lawn by following a few simple steps now to save money, time and energy in the spring.
* Fertilize - This critical step feeds your lawn and helps it grow. Fertilizing also allows your lawn to store as much food as possible before going dormant for the winter. A properly fed lawn will recover more easily the following spring.
* Seed - To fill in a thin lawn or bare spots, add seed. Use a professional power seeding service for faster results and spend your personal time enjoying the cooler temperatures.
* Aerate - Aeration allows your lawn to increase its uptake of nutrients and oxygen. This is essential to revive your lawn after common summer stresses such as high temperatures and lack of moisture. Aerating also combats compaction that may have occurred from all that summer foot traffic.
* Apply grub control and check for pests - Treating for pests now is essential because they can cause damage all winter long that you won't notice until spring.
* Remove leaves at least once a week - Raking or blowing your lawn clean is vital because leaves block sunlight. A leaf-free lawn can store more food for its winter dormancy, resulting in a healthier lawn in the spring.
Fall is also a good time to pay attention to trees, shrubs and lawn equipment.
* Winterize trees and shrubs - Before temperatures drop, protect your evergreens from moisture loss by treating them with anti-desiccant material.
* Winterize your lawn mower - To store your mower safely and guarantee that it will be ready to go in the spring, winterize it. The end of mowing season is a great time to address routine maintenance and repairs.
"Lawn maintenance is easier, cheaper and more effective than repair," said Scott Frith, Lawn Doctor's Vice President of Marketing and Franchise Development. "Homeowners will thank themselves in the spring for taking these steps now."
About Lawn Doctor
For 40 years, Lawn Doctor has pioneered the nation's lawn care service industry with innovative equipment, scientifically proven fertilization and horticultural methods and personal attention to each customer's lawn through locally owned and operated franchises. Through its comprehensive website, Lawn Doctor is a top resource for lawn care information in the country. For additional care tips or franchise information, call (800) 4-LAWN-DR or visit them online at www.lawndoctor.com and www.lawndoctorfranchise.com.