There are certain things your landscaper will never tell you. Some things you probably don’t need to know. Some things you’re best off never enquiring about. But, for the interests of both your garden and your bank account, there are some things you really need to know. And whether by luck, chance, or search engine, you’ve landed in exactly the right place to find out what those things are.
1. That they’re putting your pet’s life in danger
A lot of landscapers are going green. By introducing a diverse eco-system and using all-natural pesticides like kelp spray, they’re managing to keep your grass green, your lettuce munching bugs under control, and your local wildlife protected. But despite the fact this is 2020 and we really should all be waking up and smelling the roses by now, a lot aren’t. Harmful pesticides and damaging chemicals are still in most landscaper’s arsenal – and the consequences for your pet’s health could be catastrophic. Sure, we all want a lush green lawn, but not many of us are prepared to put the lives of our four-legged friends on the line to get one. And yet that’s exactly what your landscaper is doing when they get a little trigger happy with the insecticide spray. Not only that, they could be putting your life in danger as well – as Fox News reports, some garden chemicals have been linked to all kinds of nasty things in humans too, from liver cancer and Hodgkin’s disease to Parkinson’s. Think your landscaper is going to tell you that? No. A well-kept garden and a healthy environment don’t need to be mutually exclusive, so always ask them to explain what’s in their weaponry… and think twice before using anything they recommend.
2. That weed fabric is a waste of time
Think you’re doing your garden any good by laying weed fabric? Word to the wise, you’re not. Weed fabric is nothing more than a waste of time and energy… as anyone who’s seen how weeds will simply grow on top of them will know. If you want to stop those pesky weeds blighting your garden, you’re going to need to find a better way of doing it.
3. That you’re watering too much
If you thought rain was enough to keep your garden healthy and happy, think again. But equally, you might have some thinking to do if you’re out watering the lawn every night. As Readers Digest notes, while occasionally watering will keep your grass from looking brown and patchy, an inch or so a week (or every 5 days in a drought) is more than adequate. Plants that get plenty of water without putting in the leg work won’t bother establishing the deep root system that makes them strong and hardy – after all, why go to the effort of burrowing underground for water if you’re getting it on tap from the top?
4. That they’re not qualified
It’s tempting to think your landscaper can do just about anything, providing it’s at least vaguely related to ‘gardening’. If you’ve been falling into the trap of asking them to build irrigation systems or get involved in drainage issues, stop… or at least hold fire until you’ve checked they’re properly qualified. While scrupulous landscapers will let you know exactly what they are and aren’t able to do (both legally and practically), others will do pretty much anything you ask if it means turning a dime. But the consequences of playing along could have dire repercussions for your home. Before you ask them to do anything that could end in your basement getting flooded or a city water pipe being exploited, ask to see their well-driller’s license. If they haven’t got one, find someone who has.
5. They might charge you a lot more than you think
Think you’re getting a deal when your landscaper tells you they’ll only charge you $20 for hedge pruning? You well might be, but you might also be getting yourself into a situation that’s going to cost you at least 25% more. As bobvila.com confirms, not all landscapers will be upfront about the additional charges they’ll add on to the final bill for disposal, supplies or tidying up. Before you get an unexpected demand in the post, ask them to clarify exactly what they’ll be charging for the total job, all extras included. The answer might have a lot more 000’s on the end than their first quote.
6. That they aren’t always needed
No one is going to talk themselves out of a job. Ever. But you don’t necessarily need a landscaper to get your garden looking swell. Admittedly, DIY landscapers can make a lot of potentially costly mistakes – choosing trees with root systems that undermine the foundations of the property, planting flower beds too close to the house, doing all kinds of terrible things with irrigation… but the potential for these kinds of issues doesn’t mean you have to pay over the odds for a landscaper to take care of every little thing. Hiring a landscaper to plan out the initial design and then implementing it yourself will avoid any costly mistakes while also keeping the overall expense of hiring outside help down – win-win, whichever way you look at it.
7. That they could be devaluing your home
Landscapers love trellis, not to mention all that lovely climbing ivy they can cover it with. But that charming little climber could spell out big problems down the line. While proper landscaping can pay for itself in the value it adds to your property, bad landscaping does the opposite. That climbing ivy might look nice, but it’s an open invitation to roaches and termites… and a pest problem is unlikely to add too many 000’s to your asking price when you come to sell.
8. That you don’t need to pay them to bag the leaves
If you’re paying your landscaper to bag the leaves come Fall, don’t bother. A light layer of leaves is best left where it lies – as the leaves break down, they’ll add a good helping of nutrients to the lawn and even stop any pesky weeds from springing up.
9. That you really shouldn’t be using red mulch
Red mulch might look attractive, and not many landscapers will try and dissuade you from paying them to use it. But you really shouldn’t. For all its attractiveness, red mulch is a hotbed for arsenic and other nasties – if you’ve got kids, pets, or any kind of interest in wildlife, steer clear.
10. That you don’t need a mower bag
If you want your landscaper to leave your garden in the best possible condition, ask them to leave the mower bag at home. Leaving a layer of grass clippings on the lawn might make it look a little untidy at first, but once the clippings start to break down, they’ll provide a rich food source for all those microbes and earthworms working their hardest to keep your garden lush and healthy.