Each spring Consumer Reports publishes a turf care feature targeting the proper equipment and supplies required to nurture a lawn. The magazine is geared toward consumers, mind you, not professionals. Yet after reading the story, I came away thinking that it offered the most compelling case I’ve read for hiring a professional to not only take care of your larger design-and-build projects, but your lawn and turf care as well.
Unintentionally, the article makes comprehensive landscaping sound dangerous and complicated. Topics covered include soil testing, chemical applications, resodding high traffic areas and how to mow at the proper height – but to the layman, it comes across as daunting, costly and time consuming.
To counter the do-it-yourself piece, this issue offered an analysis of national lawn care service providers. The magazine rated the companies by cost, homeowner impression, “what our experts said,” and “chemical check.” Some companies did great, some did not so well, and some unfortunately, are plain awful.
The most valuable information included statistics regarding homeowners’ impressions of using professional landscapers: 39 percent say that a perfect lawn increases property value or boosts curb appeal – a number that seems too low to me. Interestingly, 64 percent say a neighbor has the best lawn on their street – a telling statistic, in my opinion.
Other consumer behavior was noted as well: 26 percent of respondents say they would prefer less grass and more flowers, rocks or native landscaping in their yards. Another 38 percent say they never water their lawns. The real tell-tale figure was the 23 percent of respondents who say they spend at least five hours per week doing yard work.
While working in the yard remains a favorite past-time for a few diehards, there is a growing number of homeowners who are finding that a professional can do it faster and cost effectively. It’s also the best way I know of to establish a yard their neighbors will envy.