I really love mowing the lawn, but with so much to do in the yard it can get hard staying on top of all the lawn care – so we’re considering using a lawn care specialist to help. But are they worth it?
If you want a perfectly green, manicured lawn, then employing a lawn care expert is a wise investment. With prices ranging from $60 for lawn mowing, up to $125 for a full care package, a professional lawn care specialist can make your lawn look amazing and add value to your property.
Let’s dive down into this subject in more detail, and discover whether lawn care services are value for money, how much these experts actually charge – and also consider the pros and cons of hiring a lawn care guy or gal…
Is it Worth it To Pay For Lawn Care?
In general, we’d say yes, it’s worth it to pay for lawn care. Obviously, it’s not an essential household service, so you may decide against it if you’re watching the dollars at the moment. However, if you can budget for it and you care about your lawn, it’s a great idea.
Why is this? Well, looking after a lawn can be more work than you think. If you want a flawless, green garden, lawn care involves more than simply getting out the mower every Sunday. A healthy lawn requires feeding, watering, patching, and occasionally treating. That’s a lot of work to fit around everything else you have on.
You also need to look at the bigger picture – landscaping services can add up to 20% to the price of your property, and a manicured lawn is a large part of this.
Are Lawn Services a Waste of Money?
We’ll look at general lawn care costs shortly; however, if you want a pristine lawn, hiring in a pro isn’t a waste of money.
This is because you’re paying for expertise. Lawn care services aren’t just a guy turning up with a mower to get the grass down. It’s about really nurturing your lawn to ensure it stays healthy and always looks at its best.
However… If you have a very small lawn, you may decide to spend your hard-0earned dollars elsewhere. Conversely, if you have a large plot and your garden is more like a pasture than a suburban lawn, this may also not be the right route for you.
Also, think about the life cycle of your household and how you all use the garden. If your lawn is currently a soccer pitch or the place the kids go to play with the dogs, you may want to wait a while before investing in lawn care.
Of course, you may be willing to pay for constant damage limitation, in which case, you might decide that there’s even more reason to hire in expert help.
How Much Should I Pay For Lawn Care?
There are different services involved with lawn care, so costs vary from yard to yard and between different regions. Of course, the bill also depends on the size of your lawn.
We’ve done some research and found a few ballpark figures for you. These vary quite a bit, but should give you some idea:
- Lawn mowing: up to $60 per hour
- Lawn fertilizing : $80 – $400
- Weed management: $40 – 120
- Full yard clean up (fall and spring): $100 – $250
- Full lawn care service: $125 – $430
Is it Cheaper To Fertilize Your Own Lawn?
In theory, yes, it’s cheaper to fertilize your lawn yourself than to hire an expert to do it for you. We had a look at a decent-quality 15-pound bag of lawn fertilizer in Home Depot, and they cost somewhere around $25.
As we’ve just read, a one-off treatment from a pro can cost between $80 and $400 dollars, depending on how much grass there is.
So, DIY looks like a bargain so far, and you could also cut costs by going for a cheaper product. But how much coverage will that 15 pound bag get you? The average American lawn measures around 10,000 square feet, and as the 15-pound bag provides 5,000 square feet of treatment, you’re going to need a bigger bag…
The bigger the bag, the less it costs per square foot. A 35-pound bag can cost somewhere in the mid-forties; however, you may not want to drag a heavy sack around on your own!
On top of the cost of the fertilizer, you’ll maybe have the one-off payment for your spreader. A typical broadcast spreader costs between $40 and $120, depending on the size, brand, and quality. Of course, this is a single payment, so that figure needs to be spread out (excuse the pun) over a few years’ worth of treatments.
On the whole, like most things, DIY is the cheaper option, but it will take up your time, and you may not get such good results. A lawn expert will find the perfect treatment for your lawn type, as different grasses need subtly different nutrients.
Watch this short clip from The Lawn Care Nut to see what’s involved in fertilizing your own lawn.
How Do You Price Cutting Grass?
Grass cutting can cost between $25 and $60 per hour. This is simply for mowing. A complete lawn care service costs considerably more, starting at $125 per session (and this can reach over $400), but for that, you’ll end up with a smooth, weed-free, perfectly edged lawn.
Contact a few local companies or landscapers for a quote. They may charge by size or by time, or by the complexity of the job (a slope, flower beds, shrubs and so on make mowing harder). If your garden works out cheap, it may work out better than buying and maintaining a mower, especially if you don’t have much grass.
Want to check the quote you’ve been given? Try this lawn mowing cost calculator.
Lawn Services: Pros & Cons
As ever, the best way to decide whether to use a service is to list the pros and cons. Here are the reasons why you should, or shouldn’t, go with a lawn care service:
Pros For Using A Lawn Care Service
- Brilliant, professional finish, including edges
- Saves you time (which can mean money if you’re self employed)
- You’d rather spend Sunday grilling in your yard than tending to it
- You’ll have a healthy lawn that’s treated when it needs it
- Your lawn will survive droughts, infestations, pets and so on, because it’s being expertly cared for
- They’ll know which are the perfect products for your lawn
- Pests will be spotted and dealt with
- You don’t need to buy and store the kit yourself
- There are always hidden costs to DIY project! Your old spreader may collapse, or you may have to dash to Lowe’s for another bag of seed or fertilizer
- The professional will clear up after themselves, so you won’t be faced with piles of clippings and dead weeds to dispose of
- There’s someone to help with /carry out the big lawn jobs, such as reseeding and winterizing
- Great kerb appeal if your house is on the market
- If you can’t care for your lawn yourself, you know it’s in safe hands and will always be healthy and attractive
- Can add value to your property
Cons For Using A Lawn Care Service
- It costs more than tending to the lawn yourself
- You already have the kit so why waste it?
- You enjoy looking after your own lawn and like the satisfaction of seeing the job done
- Mowing and weeding are good exercise!
- You prefer not to fit in around someone else’s timeframes
- You can act on a problem immediately
- A small yard doesn’t necessarily need extra help
- A large yard may be better off with a ride-on mower and no “fancy stuff”
- You may feel like you haven’t found the right contractor, and you feel uncomfortable switching
- You’ve decided to go for a more natural garden to support wildlife, so you’re mowing and tidying less
You may have other pros and cons to add to this list. Many people simply don’t have the hiring-in-help mindset, while others believe in delegating to make time for other tasks.
Although I love mowing the lawn myself, I know that to get a really green, flat, and manicured lawn you do need to use the services of a professional lawn care expert.
These things can always seem expensive – until you try and do it all yourself – and I also know that when you reach middle age it can be especially hard to stay on top of everything in the garden on your own (that’s what my wife keeps telling me anyway!).
The way I’d do this would be to go with word of mouth – if you know someone locally who has been recommended by a friend you trust – then giving them a chance will come with a lot less risk. 🙂