Posts Tagged ‘Bellingham lawn maintenance’

Green Thumb Company to offer free quotes for fall services

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BELLINGHAM- Award-winning lawn maintenance business Green Thumb Company will be offering free quotes for a multitude of services this fall.

Green Thumb Company serves both commercial properties and residential customers in the Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden area.

Services offered will include yard cleanup, leaf cleanup, pruning, hedge trimming, lawn mowing, bark spreading and more. Grounds maintenance will also be available through 12 month contracts.

Green Thumb Company has served the Bellingham area for almost three decades. While the company has evolved from what originally consisted of an old truck and a few lawnmowers to a now full-service residential and commercial grounds maintenance business, the dedication and passion of husband and wife owners Allen and Amy Harmon has never ceased.

Allen and Amy’s love for gardening and work ethic began with their parents. Each grew up surrounded by lush lawns, blooming flowers and thriving gardens. The tradition is now growing in their two sons, who show a love for dirt, as well as a desire to learn more about the family business.

The Harmons’ employees are no exception to Allen and Amy’s work ethic. The company earned the US Commerce Association Best of Bellingham award for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

For more information about Green Thumb Company, visit www.greenthumbcompany.com or call (360) 671-5296.

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Wintertime Tool Maintenance Checklist

Tool MaintenanceHabit #7 in Steve Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is called “Sharpen the Saw.” Covey uses the common story of a woodcutter who is sawing for days on end but in the process of all that cutting, is becoming less and less productive. That woodcutter, like us gardeners, should always remember this very important fact: “the better a tool works for us, the less we have to work”!
Winter is a prime time to make sure our tools are working as hard as they can for us. A quick check over your gardening tools at the end of each season before you put them to rest for the winter will help increase their usefulness (and your happiness) for years! This winter time tool maintenance checklist is easy for anyone to follow and will help save you money in the long run, not to mention, making your job easier when springtime rolls back around. Just remember, you do not have to wait until the end of the season to protect your tool investment.

Every time you finish a job, take the following steps to preserve their longevity:
  1. Rinse tools after each use, dry them thoroughly and apply a light coat of oil to all metal parts.
  2. You can use a stiff-bristle brush to clean stubborn, hard-to-remove dirt.
  3. A designated space or worktable where you can inspect your tools and perform any necessary maintenance helps to make this chore go quickly. Remember to cover the area with newspaper or plastic sheeting to both help protect the area and make it easier to clean up after you are done.

 Be sure to store your tools off the ground and somewhere away from the rain and snow – moisture is bad news for tools! Garages and basements that have direct outdoor access are great storage places – as long as they are dry. If you do not have a place to store your tools and equipment, you may want to consider building or purchasing a tool shed for this purpose.

Step 1. Blades
Before you store your equipment for the off-season, sharpen or replace blades on tools that dig or cut. Digging and cutting tools’ blades get worn down faster than any other tool surface used in the garden, but filing can easily sharpen any nicked or dull blades. Maintain the sharp edge of all cutting tools by honing them using a medium-grit sharpening stone. For faster cutting, wet the stone with water or with honing oil, depending on the type of stone you’re using.

Safety Alert! Wear heavy gloves when cleaning or sharpening sharp cutting tools. Wear goggles when using a wire brush to remove rust and dirt. Sharpen very dull hedge trimmer blades by moving a file away from and diagonally across the sharp edge, making sure you maintain the factory bevel. Then decrease the angle slightly and hone just the last 1/16” of the blade with a sharpening stone. If your trimmer has a serrated blade, do not attempt to sharpen it. Check to be sure that all blades for power equipment are balanced so they will not vibrate off during use and cause possible injury or damage. Most digging tools are not sold sharpened, so you should to sharpen them from the very start. The more you use your digging tools, the duller they get. File the working edge to a 45-degree bevel with a coarse file. Since a bow saw cuts in both directions, use a triangular file to sharpen both sides of each of the saw’s teeth to a 45- to 60-degree bevel. To keep track of where you are, file every other tooth starting at one end of the blade – then file the remaining teeth the same way, working from the opposite end. Always file toward the sharp edge and pay attention to what you are doing. This is not the time to multitask!

 Helpful Tip: Clamp a pair of boards on the blade and lock it in a bench vise so you will not have to keep changing the blade position in the vise. Once the blades have all been sharpened and before you store these tools for the off-season, use that wire brush to remove surface dirt or rust. Wipe the metal down with a light oil to protect it from rust, especially if you store your tools in a damp garage or shed.

Sanding down the rough spots Step 2. Handles
Check your handles of each of your tools for any splinters, cracks or breaks. Smooth weathered, rough wooden handles with a medium-grit emery cloth – it will not tear as easily as sandpaper and it wraps around the handle easier. Tool handles should be smooth enough to slide your hand along without catching. If the wood is very rough, first sand across the grain in a “shoe-shine” fashion, then finish it up by sanding along with the grain. Of course, tools with fiberglass handles will not have these issues, so skip right past this step to number 3… 

Helpful Tip:
Wipe dry handles down with a heavy coat of linseed oil at the end of the season to rejuvenate and protect the wood over the winter months. Sometimes repairing a handle is not a safe option. In these cases, it may be worthwhile to replace the handle of a favorite, high quality tool – Use a ball-peen hammer or a block of wood with a nail hammer to knock the tool head out of the ferule on the handle. Consider fiberglass when replacing your tool handles – it is lighter and easier to maintain!

 Step 3. Mower Maintenance
Before you give your lawn mower the season off, empty out the fuel entirely by running the mower until it runs out of gas and the motor comes to a stop – don’t just dump it out. Change the oil and remove spark plugs – changing the spark plugs, if necessary. Reinstall the spark plug without connecting the ignition cable, and add a small amount of oil to the crankcase to store.

Safety Alert! Again, be sure that all blades for power equipment are balanced so they will not vibrate off during use and cause possible injury or damage

Never store a dirty mower! Not only will the care you take now help extend the life of your mower, cleaning out last season’s grass from underneath the mower is a dirty job – but SO much better than having to deal with old grass in the spring!

Thoroughly clean the engine and frame of the mower, on top and underneath, using a scraper to remove any built-up dirt and grass clippings on the underside of the mower. Rinse completely with a garden hose. Once it is clean, check the blade’s condition for wear and tear. If the blade needs sharpening, use a heavy file to remove dull edges or (better yet) simply replace it so it’s ready come spring.

Step 4. Weed Wacker Winterization
Remove all dirt, grease and debris from the trimmer using a stiff-bristle brush, then tighten all screws and hardware. Drain the fuel tank, remove the spark plug and add a small amount of oil into the cylinder. Pull the starting cord a couple of times to distribute the oil throughout. Reinstall the spark plug but do not connect the ignition cable, just leave it until spring.

That is it. Perfectly maintained tools ready for use first thing in the spring when that gardening bug hits.  Hope you enjoy your season and take the time to be grateful for all that we have, here in the Pacific Northwest. May your holiday season be filled with family, joy and peace. ~ Amy Harmon


 If you are in need of a residential or commercial yard clean up or grounds maintenance work, give us a call and tell us about your landscaping needs.  We would be happy to give you a  free estimate and work with you to give your landscaping the care it needs this season.

Our Garden and Winter Yard Clean Up services include pruning, leaf clean up, branch and debris clean up, mulching, hedge and shrub trimming, weed control, fertilizing, increasing curb appeal, yard waste removal, weeding, yard clean ups, spreading new beauty bark or gravel, planting and/or removal of plants, and much more. Remember to mulch now to protect your plants before it snows! Call Green Thumb Company at (360) 671-LAWN for a free estimate, or Request a Quote directly from our website.

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).

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.

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.