When my wife and I moved into our new home a year ago, it marked the first time I had to take care of my own lawn. Before this, I had always lived in apartments, or in a town home, both of which included lawn care and other landscaping. When we bought our house I was actually looking forward to mowing the lawn and taking care of it. Call me strange, but I find mowing the lawn a nice break and a chance to have some alone time where I can get lost in thought. Some people like running, I like mowing.
Even though I enjoy the general lawn care, I realized there were a few things I couldn’t do as well on my own. For example, when we moved into our house, the lawn was in desperate need of weed control, fertilizer, and other lawn care goodies.
So being the frugal homeowner, I drove to our neighborhood Lowe’s and bought 3 bottles of weed & feed (for approximately $45), and proceeded to follow the directions. I attached the weed spray to my hose and sprayed it evenly on my lawn. Then I waited a few days. Nothing. We were still running a dandelion farm.
So off to Lowe’s I went again, and bought some more weed control and repeated the process. The results this time were slightly better, but still not great. And this was after spending a small fortune on weed control and allocating the better part of two Saturday mornings to drive to the store, buy the spray, apply it, and clean up.
About two weeks after the second application, I saw a landscaping truck at our neighbor’s house across the street. I flagged down the guy in charge (Bill) and asked him for a quote and some advice for my lawn. He was extremely knowledgeable about the types of grass, problems with my lawn, how to control the weeds, and other things my lawn needed that I didn’t know about (like aeration and crabgrass pre-emergent). He also gave me information about dethatching, but told me that to hold off a year or so and see if the aeration, fertilizer and weed control would be enough to help resuscitate my lawn. (I loved that he had a chance to sell me anything, but instead chose to educate me about how to better take care of my lawn, what to do, and what not to do).
It was early spring when we bought our home, and only a few weeks after we moved in when I met Bill. I signed a summer care contract with his landscaping company, and they took care to apply the right weed control, fertilizer, and other applications at the right times of the year, based on weather, experience, and other factors. They also had access to fertilizers and weed control you can’t buy without a license.
These are things I wouldn’t have known about myself. They were also much more effective than I could do on my own. As for the cost, it was comparable to what I would have paid on my own, if not cheaper in some cases (especially for things such as aeration or dethatching, which require specialized equipment). Most applications for fertilizer and weed control are around $45, which is what I paid on my own for something that wasn’t effective, and took over two hours of my time, including the shopping and cleanup.
When I factored in the cost of equipment and materials, the time it takes to apply it, and my own lack of knowledge when it comes to lawn care, it was a no-brainer to sign up for the service.
I still mow my own lawn, and I enjoy it. But the fertilizer, weed control, and other aspects are best left to the pros.
What are your thoughts? Do you use a lawn care service, or DIY?
Photo credit: Theophilus Photography