Archive for July, 2010

Lawn Maintenance Contracts Protect You And Your Yard

Possibly the cheapest way to increase the curb appeal of your Bellingham or Ferndale Washington home, as well as maintain your home investment, is with the services of a professional lawn care company. When you hire a landscaping company they will probably ask, and you should demand, they sign a lawn or yard maintenance contract. The agreement should specify the responsibilities of the company as well as the homeowner so there are no questions as to who is responsible for what part of the lawn care.

Any Whatcom County lawn maintenance professional will have a yard maintenance contract. This contract should spell out how many times the company will visit and mow your lawn as well as being specific as to what areas will be mown, weeded, trimmed or in other ways, worked on. The contract will probably leave open some wiggle room for the weather when cutting the grass will not be possible (Bellingham and Ferndale both have this challenge in early spring and again in the deep fall). Generally, the contract estimates how many times during the season specific care will be provided, but do keep in mind, weather always plays a role in the final outcome of any lawn maintenance contract. Especially here in the Pacific Northwest!

In a basic lawn maintenance contract it will generally state how often (for example on a weekly or bimonthly) work is to be done. Most landscaping or yard maintenance companies may also offer beginning and season ending services such as yard clean ups, fertilizer applications, winterizing, aerating, weeding (etc) and if they are to be included in the work, they should be written into the lawn maintenance contract.  

A well written contract is designed to let the customer (and company) know what specific tasks will be completed so that there is no question as to the expectations of the job. For example, a fall clean up might include deadheading, cutting back dead foliage, cleaning/raking up leaves, trimming bushes and shrubbery, pruning fruit trees or  weeding etc.

Mulching flower beds is usually done by a landscaping crew but many yard and lawn maintenance companies offer the service and if available, should be included into your lawn maintenance contract so you know what type of mulch will be used and when you can expect to see it applied. It should also be noted what happens to lawn clippings and if the company picks them up, how are they disposed of.

There are many jobs that a lawn care and landscaping company can perform to help reduce your time outside and having a lawn maintenance contract can insure the jobs get done when they say they will get done at a preset cost. The best companies will create a custom contract designed to suit a customer’s specific landscaping needs and budget.

We here at Green Thumb Company really try to figure out how best we can help a customer take care of the specific needs of their yard while staying within the parameters of whatever their budget is. It really is all about customer service! A landscape contract is just a tool to spell out mutual expectations – and show exactly how well your landscape company can take care of you.

Enjoy your summer ~ Amy Harmon


Green Thumb Company is a full-service grounds maintenance company that feels confident in our ability to meet all of your expectations. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

If you would like to increase your home’s curb appeal or maintain your new or mature landscaping investment by developing a  contract that is specific to your yard & landscaping needs as well as your budget, please give us a call at 360-671-LAWN (5296).

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DIY Tip#1 – Using a Weeder in the Pacific Northwest

I don’t know about you, but weeding in the spring is a chore I don’t mind doing. It’s methodical, almost relaxing for me! and ensures that I enjoy the best part of summer looking over a (relatively) weed free yard and landscape. Here are some Do-It-Yourself Tips to using a weeder to remove unwanted plants and leave a healthy lawn or garden behind.

A weeder is a tool with a long metal spike that is used to pull weeds up from their roots. Weeds here in Bellingham and Ferndale, Washington are especially insidious and their roots run deep so that they can thrive in our climate. Chemical weed killers often kill more than the weeds they are sprayed on. Runoff and seepage may send chemicals onto other plants or into the water supply around Lake Whatcom or into nearby wells. Manually pulling weeds with a weeder gives you the assurance that the weed is out without harm to the surrounding area.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Garden hose or watering can (optional)
  • Bucket or wheel barrow
  • Knee pads (optional)
  • Garden gloves (optional)

Step 1

Wear gloves to avoid contact with irritating thistles, nettles and thorns and also to prevent blisters.

Step 2

Feel the moisture levels in the soil surrounding the weeds by attempting to press your index finger into the soil. The soil is damp enough to pull weeds if your index finger goes into the first knuckle without much effort. Water the soil and wait 30 minutes for the ground to soak up the water to soften the soil before each retest.

Step 3

Jam the sharp metal tip of the weeder straight down into the ground about an eighth of an inch away from the taproot. Shorter weeders require that you get down on the ground to press the in the point of the weeder. Knee pads make the kneeling experience easier and less painful.

Step 4

Shimmy the weeder back and forth until you have loosened the soil next to the root enough to pull the weed from the ground.

Step 5

Press the weeder down on the other side of a main root that is still holding onto the soil. Work the weeder back and forth in the ground as you pull straight up on the weed without snapping the root. Leaving large pieces of the root behind may allow the weeds to regrow.

Step 6

Pull the weeder up out of the ground and knock off any dirt stuck to it before using it to release the next weed root.

TaDah! Done. Is hand weeding really worth the effort? Only you can answer that question. Weeding IS time consuming, but when you can look out over your lawn and landscape and see a weed-free (ish) yard, I sure think it is!

Enjoy your summer ~ Amy


Green Thumb Company is a full-service grounds maintenance company that feels confident in our ability to meet all of your expectations. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

Three critical LANDSCAPING MAINTENANCE tips for your lawn.

We often have a “do it and forget it” mentality. Once a task is completed, we don’t give it a second thought. Instead, we move on to whatever is next in line. That attitude may work in some areas, but it certainly is not appropriate for the care and nurturing of your Bellingham or Ferndale home landscaping.

Great Whatcom County landscaping does not stem exclusively from those days of planning and planting. Your property is a growing, living thing. You can set something beautiful into motion, but in order to get the most out of your landscaping, you will need to conduct regular landscaping and lawn maintenance. You will need to address the yard’s needs and to be proactive in order to prevent the development of problems that could completely derail your plans.

The lawn is a important part of many Whatcom County’s landscape plans, in most cases. Grass frequently forms the basis from which the rest of our landscaping efforts emerge. A good looking, healthy lawn is a necessity for those seeking landscaping success. The lawn is the canvas upon which landscapers paint.

Understanding the importance of great grass and the need for regular landscaping maintenance let us look at three things you can do to keep your property attractive and in line with your landscaping vision. These three lawn care tips are all “out of season” activities you can do to improve your landscape’s health and beauty.

FALL FERTILIZATION

Fertilization is a perfect example of maintenance for landscapes. It is one of those regular things that you simply cannot afford to neglect. Every year, as the end of autumn approaches, you should apply a final dose of fertilizer to your grass. The lawn will absorb those nutrients and they will help to keep it strong, healthy throughout the winter, and ready to explode into growth when things warm up again.

WINTER CLEANING

If your lawn is smothered in any location, it can do a great deal of harm. Before the really cold weather sits in, walk your property and carefully remove any debris from the lawn. Things like tree branches, an old hose, your children’s toys or that tool you have been meaning to put back into the garage can do serious damage if left in place through the winter. Smothered grass is less disease resilient and may even die completely. You certainly do not want to bring in spring with a brown ring in the middle of the yard!

AERATION

Aerate the grassy area before the year’s first freeze. As winter comes, thatch will accumulate and your lawn can be “choked off.” A serious aeration and that aforementioned fall fertilization will prepare your lawn to last out the cold and will position in for maximum spring performance. You can rent an aerator at any hardware store, if you do not own your own. Some people claim to get more than satisfactory results from manual aeration strategies, including special slip-on shoe cleats. Give your lawn a chance to breathe through the winter and it will thank you in the spring.

These are only three of literally thousands of potential landscaping maintenance tasks you can perform. These three means of improving your lawn’s health however, do reveal why maintenance activity is necessary. If you simply “let things go,” you run the risk of undoing all of your hard work. Last year’s landscaping accomplishment can become next year’s embarrassment if maintenance is not taken seriously.

Remember, your Bellingham landscaping and lawn maintenance is not a pretty picture that, once painted, remains in place forever. It is a constantly growing and changing collection of living things. It is, in many ways, an organism unto itself. In order to nurture it effectively, you will need to revisit it frequently. That is what yard maintenance and landscaping is really all about.

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Green Thumb Company is a full-service grounds maintenance company that feels confident in our ability to meet all of your expectations. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

If you would like to maintain your home’s investment by talking to us about landscaping maintenance, please give us a call at 360-671-LAWN (5296).

Landscape Maintenance Tips

After going to the expense of landscaping your Bellingham or Ferndale home, you should take steps to preserve your investment. The lawn must receive proper care and routine lawn maintenance is necessary to keep your landscape and yard looking it’s best!

Yard Maintenance

  1. Grass needs mowing as well as fertilizing. This is often done in the late fall. Flowering shrubs and perennials need pruning annually. A healthy lawn should also be aerated once a year. Mulching your flower beds helps keep moisture in as well as forming a barrier for keeping weeds out. A seasonal yard clean-up in both the fall and again in the spring keeps leaves from piling up in the yard, keeping it free from developing any fungus or mold.

Irrigation System Maintenance

  1. To operate an irrigation system so that it is most effective at watering, the system must operate properly. Timers must water the grass efficiently, and there must not be any overlapping watering zones.

Benefits

  1. The prime benefit of a well-maintained lawn is its natural beauty and the pleasure it gives the homeowner on a daily basis. Green grass and healthy shrubs also add to your home’s worth.

Considerations

  1. The weather can affect the lawn’s appearance. If a homeowner doesn’t have the time or physical ability to take care of routine yard and landscaping maintenance, Green Thumb Company can! We are able to set up an affordable season-long contract for yard maintenance or feel free to call us as needed.

Warning

  1. It is necessary to wear personal protective equipment when doing lawn or yard maintenance. Turn off all electrical systems for the irrigation system before performing routine maintenance to avoid the danger of electrocution.

Green Thumb Company is a full-service grounds maintenance company that feels confident in our ability to meet all of your expectations. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

If you would like to increase your home’s investment or simply have a desire to have your yard looking it’s best, please give us a call at 360-671-LAWN (5296). We would love to talk to you about your Bellingham or Ferndale or Lynden landscaping or yard maintenance.

Succesful Bellingham Do-It-Yourself Landscape Maintenance

Success in home landscape design is very attainable for do-it-yourselfers in the Pacific Northwest but there are some pitfalls that should be avoided for maximum satisfaction. We’ve put together a list of 10 mistakes to be avoided in do-it-yourself landscape design – especially in the Bellingham, Washington area. The mistakes covered range from miscalculations with basic “whoops” factors to more subtle errors that negatively impact your enjoyment of your landscape Bellingham landscape maintenance.

1. Piecemeal Planting: Failure to Have a Plan

Many Bellingham and Ferndale landscape designs evolve very helter-skelter-like. A plant is planted somewhere in the yard simply because there is room for it there at the time. Ideally, it’s best to start from scratch, draw a plan for the whole yard, and stick to it. Short of that, try at least to sketch a rough plan for one large area of your yard, and put all your energy into implementing that plan this year.

2. Having a Lawn Just Because…

Many homeowners in the Pacific Northwest assume that having a grassy area in the yard designated as “the lawn” is somehow an obligatory part of home landscape design. But historically speaking, the lawn as we know it is a relatively recent introduction to landscaping. For those not attracted to that rather monotonous “green carpet” look or who dislike having to mow grass every week, it’s important to know that other acceptable options exist, especially for small spaces. Whose yard is it, anyhow?

3. Insufficient Fall Color

Spring and summer receive most of our attention when it comes to planting. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget to plant for fall. Yet the fall season holds enormous promise for those landscaping enthusiasts willing to plan for it. Don’t allow your landscape design to miss out on the colors offered by autumn’s bounty!

4. Lack of Winter Interest

If the fall season is often neglected in home landscape design, matters stand twice as bad with the winter season. Yet in the Pacific Northwest, it is precisely in wintertime that we most need a yard decor that will bring us cheer.

5. Failure to Irrigate

Many of us face a dilemma: we enjoy having plants in our yards, but we also like to travel during the summer. So how do the plants get watered while we’re gone? Sometimes a friend or relative can come to the rescue, but why chance it? There’s a lot tied up in your Bellingham Landscape Maintenance, both in terms of money and sentimental value. But don’t ditch your travel plans! Just install an automatic irrigation system in your home landscape design.

6. Planting on a Hillside Prone to Erosion

Do you have a steep slope in your yard? Is it tough to retain your topsoil there during a heavy rain? Have you tried growing your favorite plants there to no avail? The problem is that you failed to fix your erosion problem prior to planting. Build a retaining wall first, then do your planting afterwards.

7. Failure to Work With What You Have

Do you have a rocky yard? A yard with a lot of shade? Or perhaps your yard’s problem is a punishing summertime heat that scorches all in its path? Sometimes you can successfully fight the terrain you inherit in your yard, as in the case of building retaining walls for slopes to fight erosion. Other times, instead of fighting it, it’s better to go with the flow and work with what you have. The key is to know what you’re up against and what options you have.

8. Failure to Incorporate Deer-Resistant Plants in Your Home Landscape Design

You may think you’ve arrived at the ideal home landscape design for your Whatcom County abode. You meticulously drew up a plan and stuck to it. The soil is fertile, you’ve installed automatic irrigation, you’ve followed directions faithfully in planting your specimens, and you’ve applied a generous layer of mulch around them. But you come out of the house one day — and find your plants in shreds! What happened? You forgot one thing: deer can make a snack of your plants quicker than you can say, “Bambi was here.”

9. You Never Get Anything Done in the Yard Because Tools Are Never Handy

The surest way to get little done in the yard is to realize you need a tool — only to find that you can’t find it! If you don’t have enough storage space, chances are your tools will all be jammed into one small area (perhaps a corner of the garage), making it tough to keep the area accessible and the tools organized. What you need is a storage shed. The longer you put off getting adequate storage, the longer you’ll be disorganized — and the further you’ll fall behind in your yard work.

10. Forgetting Functionality

When one thinks about their landscape design, it is aesthetic considerations that immediately come to mind. Functionality, however, takes precedence over aesthetics. There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to have both; but when push comes to shove, one needs to be more concerned that a home landscape design is safe, convenient and usable.

Green Thumb Company is a full-service grounds maintenance company that feels confident in our ability to meet all of your expectations. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

If you would like to increase your home’s investment or simply have a desire to have your yard looking it’s best, please give us a call at 360-671-LAWN (5296). We would love to talk to you about your Bellingham Ferndale or Lynden landscaping or yard maintenance needs.