Over the last 20 years or so I have had the privilege of performing lawn and landscape related services at several thousand Chicago area properties. As you can imagine, there are many time consuming variables on each individual property that can either add or lessen the total number of seasonal man hours needed to properly service a lawn and/or landscape.
Here are a few ways to lower the cost of professional lawn and landscape care by reducing the labor needed to produce it.
1). Increase the width of entry into your back yard (if possible). Common commercial walk behind mowers are 36″ wide and require a clear opening that is at least 38″ wide to safely pass through. It is very common to spend 30% less labor when using a 36″ walk behind mower (or larger) over a standard 21″ push mower. In addition, a 36″ wide (or greater) commercial mower offers a far superior quality of cut and finish over a small 21″ push mower.
2). Relocate or bury any/all misdirected downspouts and sump pump outlet pipes that happen to cross into heavily traveled lawn or property passageways. Additional time is usually needed to disconnect (where applicable), work around and/or lift maintenance equipment over aluminum, PVC, plastic, etc. drain pipes to complete a routine maintenance visit.
3). Reduce watering schedules during cooler spring and/or fall rainy seasons (in particular). We highly recommend the creation of a custom watering schedule that can be routinely adjusted (+/-) throughout the course of each and every growing season. Over watering a lawn usually stimulates unwanted excess top growth and over saturates the soil which leads to poor grass plant health. Increasing levels of lawn stress and maintenance labor are normally the case when “ever-wet” conditions exist.
4). Create larger “flowing” lawn areas instead of multiple small hard to reach turf areas (wherever possible). When planning what mowing equipment will be needed to properly service your property, it is very beneficial (improved quality of finish with less labor needed) to have lawn areas that are wide enough to reach by commercial mower (36″+ wide generally preferred). As you may or may not know, a small hand held grass trimmer(aka line trimmer, weed eater, string trimmer, etc.) is a piece of equipment that is used to trim growing grass along, around or within areas that are difficult to reach by conventional lawn mower. Hand held line trimmers rarely allow for the quality of cut that a lawn mower can produce.
5). Add a layer of wood mulch across any/all open bare soil plant bed spaces. Not only will wood mulch provide beneficial moisture retention for your plants, but a decent 2″ +/- layer of shredded wood mulch will slow down unwanted weed growth and make your overall landscape look fantastic. Great amounts of landscape maintenance labor can be saved by creating an environment that lessens the possibility of weed seed germination and survival. Whether it be mulch covered plant beds or a dense lawn, the goal is the same, do not let weed seeds germinate in sun exposed open soil.
6). Mulch grass clippings. The mulching of grass clippings are a great way to add beneficial nutrients to your soil and reduce the additional labor and disposal fees generated from removing green debris off-site.
Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions, comments or service requests you may have.
Thank you for your time and have a great day!