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What to Know Before Hiring a Lawn and Garden Service

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Whether you're hiring the neighbor kid to mow your grass or paying a professional operation to landscape and maintain the entirety of your lawn and garden, there are some important questions you should ask. Here's the run down.

Sure you're going to ask a lawn and garden service how much they charge, but that shouldn't be the end all and be all of your questions. Here are a few of the other questions you should make sure to ask before hiring lawn and garden help.

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Question #1 - Will You Test My Soil?

Any lawn and garden service can plunk some fertilizer or some lime on your lawn. But will it be the right fertilizer? And does your lawn even need lime? Soils differ, and the only way to be sure of what yours needs is a soil test.

You can have one done for free yourself at your local extension office (a service typically run by your county government or by your local land grand university). But if you're paying someone to care for your yard, make sure they don't skip this step. The wrong chemical treatments can wind up doing serious damage.

Question #2 - Are the Herbicides and Pesticides You Use Safe?

All herbicides and pesticides are not alike. If you have small children or pets or are just generally concerned about safety, make sure to ask the lawn and garden service you're considering about the products they use, about their application methods, and about the steps they plan to take to minimize negative environmental effects of the chemicals they use.

Question #3 - Who Will Be Taking Care of My Yard?

Some lawn and garden service companies will send the same person to care for your lawn every time. Others are large enough that you'll see a steady rotation. Ask about who the landscapers are, and if you're more comfortable with one person instead of a stream of strangers, ask if the company can make arrangements for that.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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