How To Spot a Top Notch Landscape Maintenance Contractor
The rolling landscape of Northern Virginia provides a setting for extraordinary properties. Many McLean homeowners invest in landscaping and gardens that require exceptional care.
How do you identify the right type of landscape maintenance contractor to take on the task? What should you look for? That’s a tough question because it’s what you DON’T see that makes all the difference in what you DO see.
The Best Garden Care Results In the Best Gardens
You can’t see the detailed workmanship and horticultural expertise that goes into top-notch garden care. But you can see the results of it. So, look for the best garden on the street. Most likely it’s the one that is getting the attention it needs to produce at maximum potential.
Top-notch garden care makes the difference between a garden that flourishes in all seasons and one that doesn’t live up to its potential. This is how Barry Schneider of Surrounds describes top level landscape maintenance in action:
The moment our foreman steps onto the property he is going to say “hello” to the landscape. His mind is in scan mode. He is looking for the right green color, for blooms and buds that are full and healthy. When he sees something that doesn’t look right, he is going to zero in on it and check for insects and disease. He will ask, is there too much moisture or not enough?
We aren’t just there to do a maintenance task and leave. We want to make sure the plants are happy. And if they are are not, we are going to do something about it.
Proactive Garden Management
Here’s an example of how proactive garden management can provide a great benefit: During a service visit, a Surrounds foreman noticed something odd about a cluster of apricot drift roses. They were covered with buds—but the plants had poor color and none of the buds had bloomed. They discovered a disease on the rose plant that was taking energy away from the buds. So they treated the roses. A week later they were flourishing. They corrected the problem before the homeowner noticed it.
This example also demonstrates the benefit of having a landscape maintenance foreman who knows what he is looking at. Surrounds foremen are Landscape Industry Certified or have a College degree in horticulture—or both. This high standard of care, diagnosis and treatment is built into the monthly garden management contract.
Beyond Basic “Mow, Blow & Go”
For basic yard maintenance, you have many good choices and the stakes are low if you choose poorly. Many Northern Virginia landscaping contractors reliably provide mowing, trimming and weeding services.
A more complex landscape will likely include exotic plants, water features, irrigation and lighting systems. That type of landscape requires a maintenance contractor with a broader knowledge base and skills set. A specialty landscape contractor will provide holistic garden management services that include plant care and turf care, as well as mechanical and electrical systems maintenance.
Choosing a Landscape Maintenance Provider
It’s important to ask good questions before signing a contract for landscape maintenance services. If your property needs more than basic mowing and trimming you will want to know:
- Who will be in charge of my account?
Communication should be easy. One point of contact is best. That’s why Surrounds has combined the roles of account manager and site foreman. This eliminates a layer of separation between client and company.
- Will the same crew come to my property on each visit?
Yes is the answer you’ll want to hear. A dedicated crew “learns” your property and will always take care of it exactly as you wish. They will know how it should look when it is at its best; and will notice if something is amiss.
- What services will be performed at each visit?
Your service contract should clearly list all details, exceptions and pricing. In addition, you should request a written report after each service visit. The report should list tasks completed and observations about the condition of plants and garden systems.
- What about pesticide and insecticide use?
All plants should be inspected on each visit and treated if necessary. Surrounds employs an “integrated pest management” (IPM) system. That is, we spot treat individual plants or defined areas rather than blanket the property. We do only what is necessary based observation and horticultural expertise.
- Will irrigation systems be inspected on each visit?
The answer should be yes. Regular inspections ensure that your turf and plants are getting the correct amount of moisture throughout the growing season as weather conditions change.
Garden Management Is Specialty Landscape Maintenance
Bad things happen to gardens all the time. There are soil issues, changing moisture conditions, insect infestations and disease. Without regular inspection, any of these issues could damage or even kill beautiful trees and plants.
Hiring a specialty landscape maintenance provider is worth it to the person who wants to get all the beauty and value out of their property. It’s for the person who truly enjoys a healthy, thriving outdoor environment. A well maintained garden is a pleasure and worth the investment because it’s something that enriches your life.
If you aren’t sure that your garden and landscape systems are receiving the level of care and attention you think they deserve, feel free to contact one of our garden management specialists. We’d be happy to speak with you about finding ways to make your gardens thrive.