I was recently asked to look over a few landscape bids for a friend of mine. The project was mostly a large stretch of lawn. I was a bit taken back by some of the practices that they listed.
Bagged lawn clippings: All that specified how to do lawn care maintenance mentioned that they would bag and take away all the lawn clippings. It was stated like this was a good thing, preferable to other methods. Oh my. Basic good garden techniques: leave the clippings. They basically add the equivalent of a pound of nitrogen a year. As long as you are cutting the lawn regularly and using a good mulching mower they aren’t a mess. Even then, they disintegrate within a couple days. If anyone out there is still bagging, please stop. Your lawn will thank you.
Lawn spray program: This is included a four step fertilizer program, complete with weed killers, pre-emergent, grub killers, etc. Never mind that there isn’t actually any crabgrass or other annual weed problem in the lawn to necessitate a pre-emergent, or any widespread grub or insect problems. As mentioned earlier, bagging clippings would add a pound of nitrogen, meaning one less fertlizer application is necessary. I still thing four step fertilizer programs (as seen advertised by fertilizer companies) is excessive. We’re not talking about a sports turf or heavily used lawn. Most of the lawn is hardly used. Two, maybe three applications a year would be sufficient to maintain a green healthy lawn. And wouldn’t it be great if one of those applications was actually a layer of compost? I also don’t like that the chemicals are going to be poured on, without monitoring for possible weed or insect problems that might be present first.
Those were my two main problems. I wish all companies would include more detail on their bids. Saying that the lawn will be maintained doesn’t give me much confidence that the company will actually be there no less than once a week making it look great. It was also interesting to see the bidding price. Anywhere from $8,000 to $1,500. The lowest was underbid, I’m wondering how they stay in business charging so little.
If you are thinking of doing landscaping, seriously consider looking into buying this software. It makes the whole bidding process a lot more manageable, and includes information on sustainable practices.