We all look at lawn care and lawn maintenance differently. There are two main reasons people schedule a regular lawn program; pride and/or obligation. Since the early 20th Century, having a well-kept lawn was a marker of success. This holds true for many people today. Not only can a well-maintained lawn increase the value of your home, but it can also fill us up with pride. For others, lawn care is simply an obligation. You need your lawn to look nice either because you don't want people to look negatively towards you or your HOA requires it. At any rate, whatever your motivation may be, here are some helpful tidbits to help you in your quest to find the best lawn care program that fits your needs and budget.
What condition is your lawn in?
On a scale from 1-10 (1 being lots of bare spots and weeds and 10 being a thick carpet-like lawn that's weed-free), how would you rate your lawn? If your lawn is a 9 or 10, then a basic maintenance program will suffice to keep your lawn in excellent condition. But, if you gave your lawn a low rating, you're going to need to provide your lawn with more help to get your lawn in better condition.
What are you wanting to get out of a lawn care program?
What is your end goal? Are you just wanting to keep your HOA off your back? Do you need to have the best lawn in the neighborhood? Or maybe you're looking to keep up with the Jones. Basically, what you want to get out of your lawn is vital in determining what lawn care program is best for you. This concept simply means, the more you want from your lawn care program, the more in-depth your lawn care program will need to be.
How much time and money do you want to put into your lawn?
Let's face it. It doesn't matter what we want our lawns to look like if we can't afford to maintain them properly. So knowing how much money is in your lawn care budget or how much money you're willing to put into your lawn is another important factor when planning your lawn care program. We all want to get the most bang for our buck. However, some homeowners have more "bucks" to contribute. Remember, if your goal is to improve your "fair" lawn to an "excellent" lawn and you have a very small budget, that doesn't mean that you can't obtain your goal. It may take a little longer to achieve and more time and effort on your part, but it is achievable!
Pros & Cons of DIY Fertilizers
If you don't include the initial equipment cost, the DIY method can be less expensive. So if your top priority is cost, this may be the way to go.
Good source of exercise
Yard work can be a great source of exercise. If you are looking to increase your step count, this will certainly help! Not to mention, an average bag of fertilizer weighs 50lbs, so why not swap out your dumbbell for a bag of fertilizer.
We're all guilty of too much screen time. Fertilizing your lawn is a perfect excuse to unplug and soak up some sun. Just don't forget the sunscreen!
When starting your DIY lawn care journey, you will need to invest in the proper equipment needed to apply your fertilizer.
It can be very time-consuming to fertilize your lawn. In today's "go...go...go..." society, time is precious.
Without proper knowledge and expertise, you run the risk of over-fertilizing your lawn, causing fertilizer burn, which is costly to repair. If you don't apply the right products at the correct time, you may not get good results.
Pros & Cons of Professional Fertilizer Services
Choosing a professional lawn care company is more convenient. Instead of spending your time working in the yard, you can have more time for hobbies, relaxing, or spending time with family and friends.
A professional lawn care company understands the anatomy of plants and what they need to grow, as well as what your lawn needs to look its best. Fertilizer labels can be extremely confusing. Professional lawn care companies understand the components of fertilizer and what the best mix of fertilizer is best for your lawn. Local lawn care companies can customize the application to best fit your lawns' needs and when they should be applied.
The pros do this for a living; they pretty much live and breathe lawn care. Hiring a professionally trained technician reduces the risk of damage to your lawn from over-fertilizing. Using a professional fertilizing service also can help you get the best results out of your applications.
It can be more expensive
Some professional lawn care companies can be more expensive than the overall cost of the DIY option. However, as we all know, cheapest isn't always best.
Need to research companies
You'll need to do some necessary research to make sure you are choosing a reputable lawn care company.
Average Price of Lawn Care Services in Central Indiana
The price of most lawn care services is based on the size and location of the property. Your lawn condition can also affect the overall cost, this being due to needing additional services. Here are the average costs of common lawn services for lawns that range from 1,000 to 10,000 square feet:
- Fertilization $45 - $70 per application
- Aeration: $90 - $140
- Aeration and Seeding: $150 - $460
Cost of fertilizing
For a lawn to look its best and help the grass grow strong and healthy, it needs proper nutrients. Unfortunately, nature doesn't provide turf grass with everything it needs to look its best. This is where lawn fertilization treatments come in. DIY fertilizer costs vary depending on the amount needed and the quality of the product. Naturally, the bigger the lawn, the more your need, and the better the product, the more it will cost.
The first season will be the most expensive for a do-it-yourselfer. This is because of the initial cost of equipment. Once you have your equipment, you only need to figure out the cost of the fertilizer you are needing. A bag of Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed ranges from $20 to $60, depending on the size of the bag you purchase. If you want to add a pre-emergent in the spring to protect against crabgrass, that will cost extra. For those of you leaning towards the DIY approach, keep in mind that timing is crucial. Take some time and research the best time to treat your lawn, and make sure to follow the recommended application rate according to the product you are using.
If this process seems too overwhelming to you, you're not alone. There is nothing wrong with leaving it to the professionals. In today's society, many Hoosiers just don't have the time to research, shop, and apply their own lawn applications. The average homeowner can have their lawn professionally treated for about $45 to $100 per application. There are many additional benefits to hiring a professional lawn care company, like access to superior products, free service calls, and experts to answer any questions you may have. The only question you have to ask yourself is, how much are your time and energy worth to you?
Cost of Aerating
Aerating your lawn breaks up soil compaction, allowing air, water, and nutrients to reach the lawn's root system more easily. Giving the root system proper access to air, water, and nutrients will promote grass growth and improve the lawn's overall health. The cost of aerating is mainly based on the size of your yard. This is primarily because the bigger the lawn, the more time it will take to aerate. For an average home in Central Indiana, a do-it-yourselfer will be looking at spending at least $60 to $180 if you rent an aerator. However, that is not including the cost of gas.
In many cases, you can hire a pro to aerate your lawn for close to the same price. Many professional lawn care companies can keep the prices competitive because of the value of operations they do each season. Also, most lawn companies will guarantee their work. So if your lawn is really dry and they can't get good plugs pulled, they will come out and redo your aeration. Not to mention they typically have higher quality aerators than the average person can rent. Central Indiana homeowners can have a professionally aerated lawn for around $90 to $140, depending on the lawn's size.
Cost of Aerating and seeding
Seeding is one of the best ways to improve the overall health of your lawn. Turfgrass doesn't live forever and does need to be replenished. One of the biggest misconceptions homeowners have is that their lawn will reseed its self. While some turf grasses can reseed themselves, they will never get the opportunity to do so. This is why; turfgrass won't produce viable seed if mowed regularly. The grass must be allowed to grow to its maximum height. Kentucky Bluegrass, for example, will grow up to 18 to 24 inches tall. This is a huge problem for most Hoosiers.
The cost of seeding your lawn deepens on the lawn size (obviously) and the quality of the seed you choose. With the dramatically changing weather in Central Indiana, a durable seed such as Turf-Type Tall Fescue (TTTF) will be your best bet. Also, it is important to take into consideration that to get the best result out of your seed; you should aerate your lawn prior to putting the seed down. A 7lb bag of Pennington Tall Fescue Smart Seed that will cover 1,750 Square feet will run you about $40. You can get a 50lb bag of the same seed that will cover 10,000 square feet cast ruffly $135. Don't forget that the price of aerating your lawn will be an additional $60 to $180.
Letting a professional company take care of this task can give you peace of mind knowing that most companies will guarantee a proper amount of seed is applied. Are you familiar with the old phrase, "too much of a good thing"? Well, when it comes to seeding, this holds true! Not to mention that most reputable companies use seed that doesn't contain fillers. In Central Indiana, you can get your lawn seeded for about $140 to $500, depending on the size of your lawn. This may seem like a big difference between the DIY and Pro options. However, keep in mind that this "pro" price includes aeration!
Lawn Pride's Recommendations
The cost of fertilizing your lawn will vary based on the size of the lawn being treated. This is true whether you choose to use a professional company or to do-it-yourself. All lawns in Central Indiana need proper amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium to stay healthy. Stressful seasonal conditions affect how much of these nutrients your lawn needs. The chart below shows how your lawn's starting ranking directly determines the time and effort it takes to get your lawn in excellent condition. Just like exercising or losing weight, the more time and effort you can invest into this process can get you to your end goal faster. I wish I could say that there is a magic wand you can buy to give you a lush green lawn instantly, but sadly like all good things, it will take time.
Lawn Care is an Investment!
One of the biggest purchases you'll make in your life is your home. Making sure your lawn is well maintained and healthy is a great way to increase the value of your home. According to L. Listanski with Coldwell Bankers Real Estate, a well-maintained lawn can increase a home's overall value by up to 15%. A 2020 article from Fool.com states that the median single-family home in Indiana is $161,291. That would mean you could potentially increase your home's value by $24,193.
Contact a Lawn Pride Representative today and let our experts help you design the best lawn care program that fits your needs and budget.