Being a serious and picky gardener with, what I think, is an attractive and successful (yes, I’m bragging) yard I hope you won’t mind if I make a couple comments on your request for gardening services. About one year ago I engaged Perfect Landscapes for mowing, trimming, insect control, and mulching. They have a smorgasbord approach in that each year they send out a contract of sorts where you can choose what services you want for the following year (all the way from only mowing to weekly maintenance). Here are the results I experienced on the services I selected: Very good job on mowing/edging/trimming, good job on insect control (they subcontract to Thrive who uses organic sprays sparingly), mulching was just OK–(I hate mulch and do not intend to use it next year). I did not care for the type of mulch they used and prefer the wide use of ground covers and spreading plants. You can check them out at www.Perfectlandscapes.com. Generally, I find them to be very professional and respond quickly to additional requests or complaints (we lost a tree to a storm in June and they came the next day to take care of it).
But here’s the thing–most good companies must rely on customers who use their services on a consistent ongoing basis. Also, by using a company regularly you will get higher quality service. Maintaining an attractive yard/garden requires regular attention and hard work. Even though I use Perfect Landscapes for some things I still must spend several hours weekly pruning, planting, fertilizing, deadheading, watering container plants etc. Trimming and weeding cannot be done once or twice during the growing season with the expectation that a garden will thrive. Please don’t take my comments as lecturing–it’s just that as someone who has maintained yards in many parts of the country (Oregon, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Loudoun County), I have come to understand both the joys and demands of gardening.
Companies that offer mowing/edging trimming services do not necessarily have the ability to weed, prune or otherwise maintain yards. Further, they cannot make a sufficient profit on “occasional” jobs to make it pay–they do better by sticking to the basics. Most people want such services at a “reasonable” price which further squeezes the company forcing the work to be done quickly by inadequately trained personnel and in a less than acceptable manner. The best work is done by an experienced, well-run company that charges market rates (meaning they can make a profit) and has developed a loyal customer base.
I realize that not everyone is going to get a thrill out of maintain an attractive yard, but believe me, it feels mighty good to look out the window or walk out on the patio early in the morning and see thriving trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables (yes, even on a small Brambleton lot I have tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and many herbs). I find that “digging in the dirt” is therapeutic, extremely rewarding and my ego is well massaged by the many passersby who stop to compliment me on my hard work (corner of Regal Wood/Highcrest Circle across from the community center where there is lots of foot traffic).
As you can see I am very free with advice (sorry for the novel).