You may just have a patch of lawn that needs only a mower and a blower to keep it tidy. You can likely do that yourself every couple of weeks, or hire the kid down the street.
But if you have a landscape that needs more than just mowing and blowing – you have shrubs that need tending and garden beds that need regular maintenance — and if you can’t or don’t want to do the heavy lifting yourself, you can ship that work out to a landscape maintenance company.
“Many gardeners just want us to come out and do the heavy lifting,” says Chloe Barrett, a maintenance specialist on Gardens of Babylon’s design team. “We make sure our clients don’t miss the flowers for the weeds.”
Here’s what you need to know to find the maintenance company that suits your landscape.
Decide what services you need
Different companies may specialize in different services, so a homeowner with a sprawling landscape and multiple beds of shrubs, perennials and annuals may prefer a company that offers a variety of specialties. A homeowner with a small yard will require fewer services. Others may need the service to include seasonal irrigation system maintenance; still others may be in need of someone to address problem spots in the landscape.
Recommendations from friends and neighbors are certainly a valid first step, but as you research maintenance companies, find out what services they offer, and consider whether they meet your needs.
- Think about how often maintenance is needed. Are you looking for mowing and blowing every couple of weeks? Or do you only need once-every-season or twice-a-year visits?
- Does your landscape feature plantings that require special knowledge or attention? You want to make sure the maintenance person or crew knows the difference between a weed and a field of wildflowers you’ve been nurturing.
- Make sure you and the company are in clear agreement about what maintenance is to be done, and how often. A service contract that spells out the agreement is in your best interest.
- Ask about a company’s use of pesticides and herbicides – especially if you are committed to maintaining a chemical-free landscape. If chemicals are to be used, make sure you know what they are and when they will be applied.
- Ask about other special services: mosquito control, tree pruning, fertilization, pond cleanup and other services may be part of a company’s offerings.
What we do at Gardens of Babylon
Landscape maintenance by Gardens of Babylon begins with a free phone consultation. “We set up a 30-minute window to talk through needs and expectations,” says maintenance specialist Chloe Barrett. “Then we come to your home for an on-site evaluation.”
The focus is on sustainable practices to maintain a landscape using a three-pronged approach: “Using organic materials, appropriate maintenance and paying attention to what’s successful in the landscape,” Barrett explains.
A typical regular maintenance plan includes two large cleanups each year, in February or March ahead of the growing season, and again in the fall to prepare the landscape for winter. Spring tasks may include pruning ornamental or fruit trees, cutting back roses, maintaining boxwoods, removing cool-weather weeds, and a spring mulching to prevent soil moisture evaporation and germination of weed seeds in garden beds. Throughout the growing season, regular maintenance includes a visit every couple of weeks.
Fall tasks would include cutting back perennials and putting beds to rest for the season, adding a secondary layer of mulch if requested.
Other services include mosquito control, using organic methods; eco-friendly leaf services, with leaves mulched on-site to return organic material to the soil; application of compost tea to improve soil health and reduce the need for additional fertilizers; lawn aeration, lawn seeding and overseeding; planting of annual flowers for color in spring and fall; and other specialty services.
Clients can begin a maintenance program at any time. To schedule a consultation for a Landscape Maintenance Program, visit the Gardens of Babylon website here.