A good landscaper is like a good mechanic: Once you find one who you trust, you don’t let him go. Like working on cars, sculpting and maintaining a yard can be deceptively difficult to the average, mostly ignorant consumer, and some landscapers who aren’t worthy of your trust may keep a few things from you in order to continue to get your money. Look out for these three things that you’re landscaper probably won’t tell you.
Toxic Chemicals and Pesticides
This may not come as a shock to you, but there are certain chemicals that you can put on your lawn that may do the trick as far as killing bugs or keeping things green, but they’re harmful to your health and your animals. But your landscaper would never use these chemicals… right? Landscapers buy these chemicals in bulk, and – kind of like buying food – the cheaper it is (usually), the worse it is for you. It’s not their yard, so why would they care? Have a simple conversation with your landscaper about what he uses to keep bugs away, to keep things green and growing strong.
Do a little research to be sure it’s not one of those that are known for containing toxic chemicals that are linked to cancer, birth defects, reproductive issues, and neurotoxicity. Your landscaper may confirm that he uses one of these harmful chemicals, but that it’s safe when it dries, after just a day or so. Truthfully, most lawn chemicals remain active (even if dry) from a month to over a year. During this time, they can release toxic vapors that you and your family breathe in. Opt for landscapers who use organic materials for their jobs – compost materials and corn gluten are two great tools for a healthy yard.
Cutting It Longer Keeps It Healthy
In the summer months, grass grows quickly, some people have to cut their lawns multiple times a week. A good landscaper will let you know ahead of time that cutting it longer in the hot months will keep it healthier for longer. Many landscapers will cut it entirely too short, which scorches your yard in the heat of the summer. Intentional scorching means it must be nurtured and brought back to life, which usually happens with some rather costly chemical care. Though it may mean more frequent cuts, make sure that your landscaper isn’t intentionally scorching your yard to give himself more work.
Less is More
If you have your landscaper planting a natural area for you, don’t let him talk you into more than either of you can handle. What may sound appealing as far as the layout can actually turn into a hassle for you if you’re not careful. There are two options: over-seed to reap a plentiful harvest of blooms and have the time of your life pulling weeds that way outnumber them, or strategically plant in a manner that will take more time but that will eliminate weed production. While it may mean a little less work for him, you’ll be thankful that you don’t have a weed-filled natural area to deal with when Spring rolls around.
If you notice your landscaper may not be acting in accordance with what you feel is best given these few things to look out for, have a simple conversation with him. If he’s willing to address your concerns, keep him around. However, failure to compromise on any one of these things may indicate that he’s sneaking around your lawn to get more bang for his buck.