Why would anyone spend a great deal of time and energy, not to mention thousands, or even tens-of-thousands of dollars creating a beautiful landscape and then cheap out on its maintenance?
FYI: plants don’t look after themselves, gardeners do.
All of those stately homes of England, like Highclere Castle, the actual name of the estate in the PBS series, “Downton Abbey,” which I mentioned in February’s edition of my newsletter, “Eva’s Notes & News,” were or are maintained by a staffs of gardeners and horticulturists.
And while your home may be your castle, I understand that it doesn’t necessarily present the horticultural challenges equal to one of the stately homes. But maintaining a garden is more that just cutting the lawn, trimming the hedge and blowing away the debris (a/k/a “mow, blow & go”). So here are some things you might want to consider when contemplating the care and feeding of your garden.
How To Select The Right Landscape Maintenance Company?
Research & References
If you were selecting a contractor I’m sure you would do a little due diligence before you hired someone to rip out your bathroom or put on a new roof. The same diligence should apply in selecting a landscape maintenance company.
- Interview at least 3 potential companies
- Ask you friends or neighbors, whose landscape you admire, who does their maintenance
- Check them out on Yelp, Google+ or, if you’re a member, Amy’s List to see what’s been said about their work
- Ask to speak to at least two current employers and ask about the following:
- Are your plants health and long lasting?
- Is there a specialist in the company who has knowledge of horticulture, including plant selection and maintenance, evaluation and treatment of plant problems (insects, diseases, weeds, nutritional deficits); proper chemical usage; mowing, pruning and edging methods; and other detailed maintenance requirements.
- Do they have the all the requisite equipment to do the job, including mowers, edging equipment, spreaders, sprayers, and specialized hand tools that are needed to properly maintain planted beds and turf areas? Do they understand the capabilities of the equipment and will plan schedules to ensure optimum performance?
- Are they easy to work with and come up with suggestions that will improve your garden?
Benefits of using a Landscape Maintenance Professional:
While hiring a knowledgeable landscape maintenance company with specially trained staff may be more expensive at first, the additional cost is a small price to pay compared to the cost of replacing turf and plants damaged by disease and insects. Additionally, a company with a certified arborist available can identify hazardous trees on the property that represent a potential liability.
The improved survival rate of plants is another benefit. If a contract is to be used to define the maintenance company’s responsibility, a clause may be included to obligate the company to warrant newly planted shrubs and trees. A company that enters into an agreement in which plants are guaranteed will make an effort to ensure their survival.