What Does Landscape Maintenance Really Cost?Landscaper
For those of us that have the privilege of maintaining our homes landscape ourselves, there comes a time when we ponder just how enjoyable it would be to have someone else perform all those excruciating duties! To have someone else mow your lawn weekly…to have someone else keep your lawn and flower beds free of weeds…to have someone else prune your trees and shrubs…to have someone else, ultimately, maintain your homes landscape as perfect as you currently do or so desire!
Easy enough! That request is only a phone call away! Ah, but just what will having someone else perform my landscape maintenance really cost me…? Let’s take a look!
The first thing that I suggest doing is to come up with an hourly rate of what your time is worth to you and your family! And now is the time to be truthful! Be honest! Do not under estimate your true value just to prove that you are capable of performing the landscape maintenance services you desire for less than a professional landscape contractor. Frugal can come later! You know what your current pay rate is if you are still working and if you are now retired, I am sure you will recall those weekly paychecks! Naturally, the rate was never as high as you would have preferred! Of course you are worth far more!
Now, let us look at a few of the standard landscape maintenance services and what it takes to complete those tasks. While there will be variances with regards to the time it takes to complete a task, this breakdown will provide you with a guideline as to your true costs.
What we will call the typical suburban home lawn averages approximately 5000 to 5500 square feet which is about an eight of an acre. Utilizing a standard 21” walk behind mower which ideally has been tuned up and is operating well, you can expect to get your lawn mowed between three quarters to one full hour provided you are not catching the clippings and having to empty the bag very few passes. Oops, I forgot to add the trip to the gas station for fuel and hopefully, your mower starts and will not require an emergency trip to the shop! Then of course you would need to add in the cost of renting a mower unless you have an obliging neighbor who will let you use theirs!…Time spent, approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.
Now that the lawn is mowed you can wrap up with the string trimming and blowing off of your walkways, patios and such. That should only take approximately 15 to 30 minutes…A piece of cake! That was a walk in the park! Time spent, approximately .25 to .5 an hour.
So far so good with everything going well and your time expenditure has not been that great…Just do not forget that you must do this each and every week for approximately 28-32 weeks!
On to keeping your lawn green and weed free! It’s off to the Big Box store to get all your supplies and arsenal of magical potions guaranteed to wipe out every lawn pest on earth and turn your lawn the deepest, darkest green imaginable…the envy of all your neighbors! But just what to buy seems to be a complete mystery! Every bag, bottle and box guarantees to be the best! Maybe the “stuff” on sale will perform just as well and save you a few pennies…?!
Let’s see, one bag should be fine according to the label based on just how big your lawn is according to your measurements…You do remember the measurements right? Hmmm, if one bag is good than two will be even better! Your lawn will be noticed by every neighbor and passer by for the next several weeks once you get home and apply this magical bag (or is it “bags”…?) of “stuff”….Oh, did you remember to buy the new spreader because you did not properly care for your old one and it corroded shut permanently!? Please do not forget the proper sprayer for the “Best on Earth” weed control! Did you buy the broadleaf weed killer or the broadleaf weed and grass killer…? If you get the broadleaf weed and grass killer your lawn will be weed and crabgrass free all summer, right…? Best re-read that label before leaving the store! Oh, I do apologize, I did not realize that you purchased that bag (or was it two?)of something that also contains weed control…that way you can apply the weed control over the entire lawn even though you only have one small area where those prickly weeds persist. Maybe applying this stuff everywhere will make your lawn even more magnificent…? Time spent, approximately 1.5-2.5 hours.
Home at last and it only took you a few hours at the store! Not bad! Now on to applying all your magical lawn care ingredients! You don your rubber boots, your rubber gloves and googles and carefully read each and every label in order that you get it right and safely as your goggles steam up! You envision your next door neighbor patting you on the back, congratulating you on your award winning lawn in a few weeks! Your spouse will be so proud of you and your children will just love playing on the lush green grass after all those prickly weeds have been eradicated. You do have rubber boots and gloves don’t you? You only added the specified one ounce and not three glugs didn’t you?
Very good, you did it! You applied that magical greener upper and all that super killer stuff! It is probably alright that you used up that last glug of the broadleaf weed and grass killer…No reason to keep any left over in the garage until next time…You can just buy more next time! Now it’s off to your son or daughter’s soccer game and preparing for your yearly neighborhood BBQ gathering in a couple of weeks. Time spent, approximately 1-1.5 hours.
Each day you look out and anticipate your soon to be emerald green weed free lawn! Won’t your neighbor be surprised and envious!
But one day you begin to notice that your lawn just isn’t as green as it “should” be by now and it seems that some areas are greener than others…Must just need some water! Yes, that’s it!
Your neighbor comments that the browning areas must be from some kind of “bug” and that maybe you should go get some magical bug killer to remedy the issue! Back to the store to stare listlessly at the shelves filled with bottles and boxes emblazoned with pictures of gross bugs on them…Hmmm, which one do I need…? Does anyone work here or are they all at lunch…? What time is soccer practice today anyway?
You arrive back home prepared for dastardly bug battle to find your spouse and several neighbors “admiring” your sacred lawn! Several offer their condolences for your lawn and one simply smiles and wishes you the best of luck. Time spent, only another 1.5-2 hours, hopefully!
Next weekend, you awaken only to find that someone (spouses name withheld!) has placed a large sign squarely in the middle of your flag stripped ever browning lawn suggesting that you have started an entrepreneurial business in lawn care! They even provided you with your business slogan…”Lawns By My Spouse”…Your neighbor snickers and your kids run back inside! So much for playing on your lush green lawn!
Total time spent…Hmmm, we kind of lost track somewhere between the last trip to the store and all the time spent explaining your lawn care technique at your neighborhood BBQ gathering!
That’s OK, you tried and gave 110% effort…So just how much does new sod cost to install anyway?
During our next discussion of just ‘What Does Landscape Maintenance Really Cost”, we will delve into the simple, non-time consuming care of…
- Lawn core aeration
- Tree and shrub fertilization,pest control and pruning
- Sprinkler system maintenance and repair
- Caring for your spouses flower beds
- Dealing with wildlife in your landscape
- And of course, lawn care repair and replacement!
Until then, enjoy your weekend!