Hiring a lawn care specialist in Begen County, NJ is a great way to ensure a green, healthy lawn year-round. Professional lawn care and maintenance will give you more free time for enjoyable activities with family and friends and provide quality care and dependable maintenance services for your lawn.
If you have never hired a professional lawn care company, you may want to ask some questions that address your lawn care needs and concerns. This will help you choose the best company for your immediate and long-term landscape needs and make sure the company you hire can handle them within your desired budget.
Where Do You Start?
First, you need to investigate a few landscape companies that provide work in your area. There may be a lot of them around, so you need to qualify them before you make a decision to hire someone. Here’s a few tips to get you started:
- Do a website search: Go online and look for landscape companies in your area. Take a look at the company’s website to gather information, review services, see photos of their work and read client testimonials.
- Get referrals: Get referrals from friends, relatives or neighbors in your area who use professional landscape services. Find out if they are satisfied with the quality of work and service commitments.
- Schedule a site visit: After you narrow down your choices, schedule a site visit at your home. This will give the lawn care specialist an opportunity to see your property size, layout and landscape needs. Make a list of questions you want to ask during the visit.
Schedule a Site Visit
The site visit will give you an opportunity to talk to your professional lawn care specialist about your landscape needs and ideas, as well as any concerns you have about schedules, prices, services and contract specifics. You can walk around your property and point out landscape concerns, problems and special requests you may have for your home. The landscape contractor will get a good feel for your property layout and landscape needs to work up a proposal for services.
If you have never worked with a professional landscape company, you may not know what to discuss. It’s helpful to make out a list of questions before the site visit and have them handy to discuss with your lawn care specialist.
1. Can You Tell Me About Your Company?
There are numerous lawn care companies in Northern NJ, but services and prices can vary between companies. It’s important to find a lawn care specialist in NJ that can handle your long-term lawn care needs within your budget. You’ll want to hire a company that offers professional landscape knowledge and experience, skilled crews and reputable, dependable services. Here are some important questions:
- How long have you been in business? – A landscape company that’s been in business for 10 to 20 years is obviously providing expert care and quality services to their clients. A lengthy business history is a good indicator of continued success.
- How large is your company? – A larger company usually has a larger landscape crew and staff to accommodate busy work loads and service issues. Make sure the company you hire has adequate staff to handle your property needs in a timely, efficient manner.
- Are you licensed and insured? – Reputable, qualified landscape companies should be professionally licensed and insured to provide professional lawn services. They should have a current business license, liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.
- Do you have referrals? – An experienced landscape company will have an established reputation in their service areas. If you live in Bergen County, ask for client referrals in the area, or check the company’s website for client reviews and testimonials.
2. What are Your Professional Qualifications?
Many professional landscape companies are owned by someone who has an educational background in horticulture or landscape architecture. In addition, their staff often includes trained landscape designers, garden designers and experienced lawn care crews with valuable skill and knowledge that will benefit you. A reputable lawn care specialist in NJ will most likely be affiliated with important national or state professional lawn care organizations and societies that promote horticulture education and ethical landscape business practices. These include:
- Professional Landscape Network (PLANET)
- New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association
- Builders & Remodelers Association of New Jersey
- American Society of Landscape Architects
- Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program
- Northeast Organic Farming Association
Top landscape companies often receive special awards, distinguished recognition and notable press releases for excellence in work, services and business practices. When checking a company’s website for helpful information on work and available services, look for special awards and recognition that indicate excellence within the landscape industry. These awards are not given to just anyone, and they say a lot about a company’s professional credibility.
3. What Lawn Care Services Do You Provide?
A professional lawn care specialist in NJ usually provides basic lawn care and maintenance on a weekly basis, as well as additional landscape services upon request. With basic lawn care service, landscape crews will come to your home and take care of your regular lawn care and maintenance as scheduled. Typical services include:
- Weekly lawn mowing
- Weed prevention
- Border edging for driveways, walkways and patio areas
- Cleaning of driveways, walkways and hardscaped surfaces
- Spring cleanup of lawn debris and dead growth
- Fall cleanup of lawn debris and winter preparation
In addition to your regular weekly lawn care services, a full-service lawn care company can also provide the following lawn care services for your home:
- New planting for small plants and flowers
- Garden designs
- Lawn renovations
- Pruning of shrubs and trees
- Irrigation repairs
4. Do You Offer Organic Lawn Care?
Many homeowners are interested in organic lawn care to provide a chemical-free outdoor environment for their family and pets. A lawn care specialist in NJ that provides organic lawn care can provide a chemical-free outdoor environment for your home. It’s a great way to take care of your lawn and landscape with natural, organic solutions and treatments. Organic lawn care will encourage strong grass root growth and healthy, green grass without any toxic chemicals. The use of organic compounds will help to establish a natural eco-system that improves the soil, prevents week growth and discourages lawn diseases.
Organic care is also available for your shrubs and trees. Organic fertilizers will promote stronger, year-round foliage growth with more protection against insects, pests and fungal diseases that often attack tress and shrubs. Shrubs and trees will grow faster and withstand the stress of Northern NJ temperature and climate changes much better. Talk to a qualified, Bergen County lawn care professional about the many benefits of organic lawn care and maintenance for your home. Applications are typically done in the spring, summer and fall.
5. Can You Help Me With Landscape Projects?
A licensed, full-service lawn care company can help you with a variety of landscape projects for your home. With knowledgeable, trained staff and skilled crews, a full service landscape and design firm in NJ can create new landscape designs, colorful flower gardens, exotic Koi ponds, as well as great outdoor features that enhance your home and landscape. These services include:
- Landscape Design-Build – Design-build streamlines your landscaping process because one company provides both landscape design and installation for a cohesive project, rather than splitting these services among separate companies. Our design-build professionals are licensed landscape contractors with many years of experience designing and installing landscape features. They use the most efficient and up to date construction and building processes and work in bulk with the knowledge to choose and install plants most suited to your landscaping needs.
- Land Clearing and Cleanup – Land clearing and cleanup can get rid of dead trees, decayed stumps and debris like fallen trees limbs, branches and dead leaves.
- Garden Design – Trust your garden design to our expert landscape architects, landscape designers and garden designers who have the experience and horticultural training to create well-thought out, stunning plans for layout and planting of your garden.
6. What Lawn Care Services Do I Need?
Your lawn care and maintenance services will depend on your existing property size and layout, the current condition of your lawn and landscape and your landscape goals. Every property is different, so services usually vary from home to home, even in the same neighborhood. If your lawn is healthy and well-maintained, basic weekly landscape services may be enough, but if you have bad soil, unhealthy grass or a damaged lawn from lawn diseases or outdoor insects and pests, special services and treatments may be required. Your lawn care specialist in NJ can give you a better idea of the exact services you need after seeing your property and discussing your needs. Here are some important things to consider for long-term landscaping goals:
- Do you want to change your landscape design?
- Do you want to add new plants and shrubs?
- Would you like to have a flower or specialty garden?
- Do you want a low-maintenance lawn?
- Do you want a chemical-free landscape?
- Would you like to add a new patio with an outdoor kitchen?
- Would you like to add a swimming pool or spa?
7. What Areas of My Lawn Need Improvement?
After a walk-through of your property, your lawn care specialist in NJ can give you an accurate assessment of your property and offer suggestions for improvement. A healthy lawn requires regular lawn care and maintenance, as well as good soil, proper irrigation, fertilization and pest control to establish green, healthy turf year-round. If you have existing lawn or landscape problems, proper treatments can eliminate them and prevent future problems. Common lawn problems include:
- Too Much Sun – Heat and sun rob your soil and grass of water and nutrients, creating a less healthy lawn that’s more susceptible to drought, weeds, insects and diseases. Sunny lawns need proper irrigation, extra nutrients from plant food or fertilizers, as well as weed and pest maintenance controls.
- Too Much Shade – Lawns rarely do well in dense shade. Most grass types need at least four to six hours of full sun each day to stay thick and green. Without sunlight, grass becomes thin, less resilient and more susceptible to lawn diseases. If your lawn is shaded most of the day, it’s important to choose a shade-tolerant grass that grows well without sunlight.
- Thatch – If you have a heavy layer of thatch, it may be necessary to dethatch your lawn so your grass can get proper air, water and nutrients for healthy growth. Dethatching is a big job and it’s best left to a professional lawn care specialist in NJ with proper knowledge and equipment.
- Weeds – There are hundreds of varieties of broadleaf and grassy weeds that grow in Northern NJ. It’s important to include a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring since weeds grow most abundantly in the spring and summer. Talk to your lawn care specialist in NJ about proper weed control.
- Brown Patches – Brown patches in your lawn can be caused by certain lawn diseases, as well as dog urine. They can often recover and turn green again with proper irrigation and fertilizer, but if they are caused by insects and pests, the culprits will need to be eliminated first.
8. How Can I Control Outdoor Insects and Pests?
Professional lawn care and regular maintenance will keep your lawn looking well-maintained, but without regular pest control your lawn is susceptible to numerous outdoor insects and pests. Not all insects and pests cause lawn damage, but those that do can quickly destroy your entire lawn. Small insects like fire ants, aphids, caterpillars, mealybugs and beetles can invade your lawn, and hard-to-see insects that live underground like sodworms, grubs, wire worms, webworms and slugs can invade your soil. Once this happens, it’s difficult to get rid of them without the use of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. To keep your lawn green and healthy year-round, pest control should be a part of your regular lawn care.
Problems with insects and lawn diseases can cause extensive damage to your lawn and landscape. It’s important to get the problems under control as quickly as possible to prevent more damage, so identifying the specific cause is essential. Pest maintenance and professional lawn service through a qualified, professional landscape company is advised for best, long-term results.
All lawns are subject to disease, especially when they’re malnourished and ill-maintained. Most lawn diseases are caused by some type of fungi that invades the grass and soil. Fungal spores are often spread by rain, wind, insects and contaminated soil. Here are some common fungal diseases and insects that can invade your Bergen County lawn:
- Dollar Spot – This fungus looks like patches of silver dollars in the lawn and thrives on malnourished, dry lawns.
- Rust – Typically in late summer, rust fungus appears on grass blades turning grass a rust-like color.
- Plythium Blight – Invading mostly newly seeded lawns in spring or fall, this fungus causes patches of black, flattened or soggy grass that can get up to 2 feet wide.
- Fusarium Patch – Appearing mainly in late winter and early spring, this fungus causes 1-3 inch circular patches of dead grass.
- Fairy Ring – Usually seen in spring or fall, fairy rind causes areas in the lawn to turn bright-green. These rings can get up to 50 feet wide.
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms are a common fungus growth in rainy weather. They won’t harm your lawn, and can be easily knocked down with a rake or lawn mower.
- Army Worms – In the fall, army worms that resemble caterpillars can cause brown spots in your lawn. They usually feed at night and can eat the grass right down to the soil.
- Chinch Bugs – In August and early September, you may see large, circular patches in the sunny areas of your lawn that turn yellow, then brown and then die. These yellowish spots that will spread throughout the lawn are caused by chinch bugs.
- Grubs – In June or early July, grubs can cause brown patches that will become extensive by fall. If your grass looks scorched and sod lifts up easily around patches, you probably have a grub problem.
- Getting disease and insect problems under control can take some time. Regular treatments and professional lawn service care will be necessary to eliminate the problems and prevent recurring ones.
An Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) focuses on safe, gentle pest control solutions that keep your lawn and landscape insect and pest free. If you have existing insect and pest problems, a professional lawn care specialist in NJ can identify the pests and offer the right pest control solutions to clear up the problems. An Integrated Pest Management Program usually includes:
- Property visit from an IPM specialist throughout the year.
- Inspections during each visit to check your lawn, shrubs and trees for harmful insects and pests.
- Reports after each inspection detailing insect and pest problems that were located and the treatments that were used.
9. When is the Best Time to Fertilize My Lawn ?
The best times to fertilize your lawn is in the spring and fall. It’s best to choose a light, slow-release or organic type fertilizer that won’t burn your lawn. In Bergen County, early fall is also an important time to fertilize. It will help protect your lawn during the winter by allowing grass roots to store essential nutrients.
When fertilizing, our process is broken into five applications throughout the season to ensure your lawn is able to promote the best result to your lawn.
- Early Spring: Fertilizing your lawn in early spring strengthens the root system that is essential to healthy, stable leaf growth during warm weather.
- Late Spring: As your grass is using up stored energy to grow and weeds are actively growing as well, fertilizing with the right products will provide nutrients for continued lawn growth and essential weed control.
- Summer: Heat, drought, foot traffic and insects put stress on your lawn. Fertilizers offer added protection from summer insects and encourage fall growth.
- Fall: To ensure your grass is strong enough to survive the upcoming winter, fall is an important feeding time. Additionally, fall brings warm days, cool nights and morning dew, all ideal growing conditions for your lawn.
Cool-season grasses, like fine and tall fescue, bentgrass, perennial ryegrass, wheat grass and Kentucky bluegrass, are common in Northern NJ lawns. These types of grasses grow most vigorously during the winter months when temperatures are cool and air is moist. Cool-season grasses should be fertilized in the fall to promote strong growth through the winter. Cool-season grasses need a complete fertilizer as opposed to one that’s only high in nitrogen. Based on your grass type and existing soil conditions, your lawn care specialist in NJ can schedule proper fertilization times for your lawn.
10. How Often will You Perform Services?
Basic Lawn Care and Maintenance
Regular lawn care and maintenance is essential for a green, healthy, well-maintained lawn. Without regular services, your Bergen County lawn can quickly become overgrown and full of weeds. Most landscape companies provide basic professional lawn service care on a weekly basis to keep growth and weeds under control. Professional crews who are trained, experienced and well-equipped will provide basic lawn care and maintenance services that typically include:
- Regularly scheduled weekly lawn mowing
- Edging for sidewalks, walkways and driveways
- Regular weed control
- Cleaning of pathways, walkways and driveways
- Spring yard cleanup of dead growth and debris
- Fall yard cleanup to remove leaves and prepare for winter
In addition to basic lawn care and maintenance services, there are other important services available that can be scheduled as needed throughout the year. These services include:
- New planting and foliage
- Lawn renovations
- Tree and shrub pruning
- Irrigation repairs
- Garden design
- Organic lawn care
A healthy, green lawn uses a lot of energy to produce new growth, but most soil doesn’t have adequate nutrients to feed the grass and build healthy root systems throughout the year. Fertilization helps your lawn to combat cold, heat, drought, mowing, foot traffic and other outdoor stresses. Your professional lawn service plan will probably include regular feeding schedules to keep your lawn green and healthy year-round. Fertilization is typically done four times a year as described above.
Mulching helps to promote rich, fertile soil that nourishes your lawn and promotes healthy grass growth. As the mulch decomposes, natural matter is absorbed into the soil keeping it loose and aerated. This process naturally increases moisture in the soil and promotes strong root growth for grass and plants. Typically, mid-spring is the best time to put down mulch to promote spring and summer growth, but often a layer of winter mulch can help retain soil moisture and provide insulation from the cold. As part of your professional lawn service, mulching provides many benefits:
- Retains moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering.
- Maintains an even soil temperature.
- Protects the soil from erosion.
- Reduces soil compaction from heavy rains and foot traffic.
- Prevents weed growth.
- Provides a well-manicured appearance for your lawn and garden.
It’s important to hire a qualified and experienced landscape company that you trust for your professional lawn service needs. Their landscape knowledge and expertise will be a valuable asset to you and your lawn. You should feel comfortable relying on their advice and feel free to ask questions and address specific concerns about your landscape wants and needs. Open communication and trust is key to a good working relationship, so make sure you hire a professional landscape company who’s a good fit for you and your property needs.
11. How are Costs for Services Determined?
Professional lawn service costs will vary based on your location, property size, terrain and the services you choose for your home. It’s important to discuss your immediate and long-term lawn care goals with your professional lawn care provider, so they can give you an accurate assessment of costs.
What Services Do You Need?
First, take a good look at your front and back lawns and think about your wants and needs. Even if you’re not sure what really needs to be done, you probably know what you like and don’t like about your yard, so you can discuss those things with your professional lawn service provider.
If you just want basic services, your cost will be relatively low and comparable to other landscape services in your area. If you have more complex goals, the costs will be higher based on your specific needs. If you have budget restrictions or requirements for your professional lawn service needs, be sure to discuss that with your lawn care provider.
To help determine your landscaping needs, ask yourself some simple questions about what you’re trying to accomplish with your landscape plan:
- Do you want picture postcard beauty?
- Do you need more privacy and security?
- Do you want a low-maintenance lawn?
- Do you want a landscape that will conserve water and costs?
- Do you want a safe chemical-free landscape?
- Do you want to add color with blooming plants?
- Would you like to add decorative walkways or pathways?
- Would you like to include a swimming pool, pond or outdoor spa?
- Would you like to add an outdoor waterfall or fountain with water sounds?
12. Do I need to be home when you come?
Since the majority of homeowners work, your lawn care specialist will make arrangements with you on scheduled service days to access your property. If you live in a gated community or have privacy gates around your home, you can work out the details before your lawn service begins. If you have pets that stay outdoors while you’re at work, you need to discuss that with the landscape company. You’ll want to make sure your pets are safely secured on lawn care days, but it isn’t necessary for you to be at home.
13. Do I need to sign a contract?
Most professional landscape companies do have a contract for services. Before you sign it, make sure you fully understand the services and costs that are outlined in your contract. Review scheduling, services, products and labor that’s included in the costs. Check to see if the contract has a cancelation clause and how problems will be resolved if they should occur. Carefully review the contract terms and the length of the contract and scheduled services.
14. Do I need to pay a deposit or retainer?
Services and contract terms can vary between landscape providers, but most companies will require some sort of deposit or retainer. Talk to your lawn care specialist in Bergen County about the required deposit and any financial concerns you may have. Some landscape companies offer payment options for services.
15. Do you provide any design/build services?
Many homeowners in Bergen County and Passaic County, NJ are interested in adding outdoor features to their homes. Special features add outdoor ambiance, extra space for entertaining add value to any home. A professional landscape company can help you with great outdoor features such as:
- Swimming pools, hot tubs and spas
- Waterfalls, fountains and ponds
- Irrigation systems and French drains
- Patios and terraces
- Walkways, pathways and driveways
- Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits
- Fully-equipped outdoor kitchens
- Privacy fences and retaining walls
- Outdoor lighting