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View Full Version : What makes a professional cut lawn...professional looking?


Dixie Pro Lawn Care
04-26-2005, 03:34 PM
Just trying to get others perspectives on this for curiosity's sake. To a customer, what makes their lawn look better with you doing it as opposed to them or someone else doing it? Give details on what steps you take to make your lawns stand out.

pagefault
04-26-2005, 03:39 PM
When I walk around handing out fliers, three things (or the lack thereof) always catch my eye:

1) A nice clean edge around driveways and walkways.

2) No clippings all over the driveway.

3) A nice even cut with no clumps of grass all over the lawn.

I went out the other day and every 15th house had edges that were done with a trimmer and about 2" back from the concrete and tons of clippings EVERYWHERE. I don't know who has those accounts, but they are about to lose them. I talked to about 100 people this weekend and immediately signed up five of them.

LawnScapers of Dayton
04-26-2005, 03:42 PM
I have never had a perspective customer ask me about stripes.....so I don't think that is it.

I think alot of it has to do with details, cleaning up any grass off the streets around the property, picking up trash, and being nice. Reliability is very important. I work hard to keep grass out of beds, I always walk behind the house to blow grass off of back porches. I also try to answer any questions the customer might have.

.02

Derek

Runner
04-26-2005, 07:39 PM
I have to agree with the last two posts. These are the elements that weigh in way before "striping". While striping is great, and it looks good and all, if the trimming looks bad, then the whole place looks bad. The same thing goes for the cleanup. you can have the finest stripes in the world - performed with the world's greatest mower. All the trimming can be even, meticulously done, and perfected on the edges. If you l;eave grass laying all over the drive, walks, or curbline, then the whole place looks bad. This is the absolute truth.

Adamma Landscape Group
04-26-2005, 07:46 PM
The cut, edging, blowing. The customer will tell you how you are doing. :cool2:

lawnranger44
04-26-2005, 07:50 PM
I think edging impresses customers most of all.

Now the things that make ME proud are:
1. Nice Stripes
2. Even cut with no skippers or clumps or visible clippings
3. Cutting when the grass is ready to be cut, no later (nothing looks crappier than grass cut down from 10")

hole in one lco
04-26-2005, 07:54 PM
trimming trimming trimming yes there is a right and wrong way to dolt

pagefault
04-26-2005, 08:18 PM
trimming trimming trimming yes there is a right and wrong way to dolt

I've actually searched for this on this site, but I always end up finding threads about edging with a trimmer. I just try to mow as close to everything as possible and trim the rest as neatly as I can. Got any tips?

hole in one lco
04-26-2005, 08:27 PM
go slow and take your time I see to many people taking it to the dirt so they don't have to trim next week. If you are just starting you can put a piece of extra plastic on the bottom of the head so you don't take it to the dirt.

pagefault
04-26-2005, 08:54 PM
I see to many people taking it to the dirt so they don't have to trim next week.

Holy crap! I feel much better. The other day I actually reached down and plucked a blade that was too close to a tree to get with the trimmer. I'm sure as hell not taking the trimmer down to the dirt.

Dixie Pro Lawn Care
04-26-2005, 11:25 PM
I see I'm not alone on my thoughts. Keep'em coming if you guys think of other good points. I'm always looking for an additional "edge" as I'm sure most that are serious are too.

Green Pastures
04-26-2005, 11:36 PM
Using sharp blades

keeping a clean edge

no culmps or visible grass anywhere

straight lines

yardsurfer
04-28-2005, 05:27 PM
I always keep the trimmed grass level with the height of the mowed grass..

I work with my best friend and he will always outline the fence line and house with the mower before I start trimming, or I always go behind him as he mows.

I think weedeating and edging are 2 of the most important things.

Laurentian
04-28-2005, 06:28 PM
Are any edgers better then others?

yardsurfer
04-28-2005, 11:29 PM
My friend just bought a new shindaiwa le261

CLICK HERE (http://www.shindaiwa.com/products/lawn_edgers/le260.html)

We were using a redmax.

The new shindaiwa is lighter with the wheel than the redmax is without its wheel, I like it more with the exception of the new shindaiwa handle.

grassrootsinab
05-02-2005, 05:00 PM
I've seen a couple of posts here wher the guys trim after it's been mowed. I trim first, throwing the clippings back into the yard to be mulched by the mower.

The guy I first worked with said "the difference between a good trim job and a bad trim job is the good trim job doesn't look like it's been trimmed"...sounds counter intuitive but what he was getting at was that the timming is at the same height as the mower, you don't "scalp" the edges with your trimmer. I think trimming is really what sets a good cut apart. Just my 2 cents.

pagefault
05-02-2005, 05:30 PM
I've seen a couple of posts here wher the guys trim after it's been mowed. I trim first, throwing the clippings back into the yard to be mulched by the mower.


If it's really tall, I've been going over it with the mower after I trim and edge, to mulch it up like you said. After I have been there once, the trimming is light enough that you don't really see the clippings.

Mo Green
05-02-2005, 06:07 PM
Cutting certain grasses at the right height can make a huge difference in how the lawn looks. Also, cutting in straight lines can help give a lawn a more professional look.

I have to agree with those who posted already that said nice clean edges make a considerable difference in how professional the finished product looks.

kc2006
05-02-2005, 06:33 PM
Just to show that different areas prefer different things. I only know of probably 2 companies that edge on a regular basis. It is one of those things that just aren't wanted around here. I offer edging (i dont do it regularly but if someone wants it i'll come and do it) and in the past 2 years i've had to edge 2 lawns, the one wanted it one time the other two times.

as for what customers want, no ruts/tire marks from being too wet and mowing, don't want the yard torn up, trimming, everything blown off. I've had some people that were picky and wanted the yard cut a certain way, but stripes aren't ever mentioned. Cutting height is another thing here, everyone wants it short (think they're trying to get their moneys worth), had one customer when i worked for a company that always wanted the mower on the lowest setting, or she would yell for 15 mins about it and the owner wanted us to do it, so we'd lower them to.... 1.5" and go to it, looked good but would cut into the dirt in some spots, she loved it though? i hated that lawn.

Eddie B
05-03-2005, 09:14 PM
The main thing is the stripes. They can really catch your eye and can mean all the difference between a "Cut" and a "Professional Cut".

ALarsh
05-03-2005, 09:31 PM
I am surprised stripes do not get mentioned in your areas. Stripes get mentioned all the time here.

nobagger
05-03-2005, 09:38 PM
Its the small details, Nice straight lines, no clippings left over, a nice clean edge on sidewalks and driveways, clean up after you leave. Its a whole bunch of things that makes the difference. Another is equipment, is it in good working order (blades sharp?) etc.

Doster's L & L
05-04-2005, 01:04 AM
go slow and take your time I see to many people taking it to the dirt so they don't have to trim next week. If you are just starting you can put a piece of extra plastic on the bottom of the head so you don't take it to the dirt.


HAHAHA.... Around here, you used to see people taking the blades all the way down to the dirt so they would'nt have to MOW the next week. :laugh: This was back in the day though.

Sammy
05-04-2005, 10:56 AM
Nice trimming, don't try and mow close to trees and leave a scar. Blow all walks, steps and porchs off. Don't leave grass in the street.

ChadA
05-05-2005, 01:02 AM
I would also have to say edging and trimming to. I do a neighborhood where I have seven houses on one street. I've got the first three and the last four, there's one in the middle that mows his own yard. He has a nice green yard, cuts it every week. Even puts down decent stripes with his murray. But no trimming or edging. The grass is overgrown six inches onto the sidewalk. Theres a light pole by the curb that the grass is probably ten inches tall. Even though he cuts it good it still looks like crap because of this. I've offered to edge it for him once a month for ten bucks. But no dice. What can you do.

CrewCutEnterprises
05-05-2005, 10:48 PM
This year Edging has become very important to me. No grass in the road. or walks. A CLEAN EDGE

I started into a sub development that I have 6 accounts in. My prices start

weekly Mow Trim Edge and blow clean.( includes cornerlots and center lots) 27.00
Biweekly mow trim and edge and blow clean $35,00
We now have 17 houses in this neighborhood and average 3 lawns an hour
with a 62 inch z and a 36 inch belt. This is close to my man hour goal of 35,00 an hour

Anyone else do this?? Its almost like having a home owners association when i do 8 houses on a street. we dont even load up, we just ride on the mowers. it takes us from 8 to about 1 or 2 do do all 18 accounts.

pagefault
05-05-2005, 11:12 PM
Anyone else do this?? Its almost like having a home owners association when i do 8 houses on a street. we dont even load up, we just ride on the mowers. it takes us from 8 to about 1 or 2 do do all 18 accounts.

That's what we're trying to do right now. We find a neighborhood with a few hundred homes on small lots and we hammer that neighborhood with marketing until we have a full day of mowing booked. We're just starting, but so far it is working out well.

soonernation
05-06-2005, 08:53 PM
Strait lines, a clean edge, and spotless sidewalks(that includes "crack weeds", I hate those) but trimming is one thing that I think makes the biggest difference. I personally like the edge slanting towards what Im trimming. When you look across one of my lawns the trees, rocks, and birdfeeders, etc. are drawn to your eyes because the edge is tilted down towards the bottom. Yes I take a very thin line to the dirt, but I think the thin, black border looks good and brings attention to what ever it is. My teacher likes the grass even with whatever it is your trimming. I just have a personal preferance and I get lots of compliments from my customers.

heavenlydeere
05-26-2005, 09:04 PM
going that extra mile !!! i get alot of good feed back when i clean up the street or rd , good trimmer work , stright lines , quality work,and another, point that my customers bring up is , i dont mow at mach 3 , i take my time and manicure the lawn, it makes a big difference !!! " manicuring Gods creation ........one lawn at a time "!!

txlawnking
05-26-2005, 09:10 PM
It's alredy been said, But deffinatly SHARP blades, and attention to detail..

topsites
05-26-2005, 09:48 PM
Well here's what I do...

First, I agree: sharp blades and correct blade-height vs. deck settings to help alleviate scalping and streaking. On my WB (proline 30197), I raised the deck in front with the washers on the casters as high as it would go and in the rear, one notch from the highest height. Then I lowered the blades as far down as they would go, again with the washers.
The end effect is that the front of the mower sits slightly higher than the rear and it is actually ok if the front is even with the rear but make sure the front is NOT lower than the rear! If it is, this greatly increases streaking.
Ok so in the end, the actual cut-height is 3 1/8" at the front-most path of the blade and 3" at the rear, giving it a double-edge approach, which, at 20,000 fpm blade-tip speed, makes it possible to cut in 5th gear at 6+mph.
Keep in mind that since the blades are no longer recessed inside the deck, that just because the skirt clears an object (i.e.: root, sidewalk) doesn't mean the blades will ! The blades are actually flush with the skirt.

Now, I ride over the entire lawn once at full speed. If I'm running peak or record rates, that is all I have time for, sorry Charlie, I must compromise quality over quantity. This only happens for 4-6 weeks after which I run average production and I have extra time.
I use this extra time to ride around the entire yard a second time. I usually don't do the WHOLE yard all over again (but you could) but at least half, specifically the large open areas. In those spots I look for streaks while riding in whatever pattern (I like doing crop-circles) and also I look for clippings.
Riding over streaks and clippings a second time does wonders and if you spend 5-10 minutes riding around in semi-circles or whatever pattern you like, you should notice a great improvement.

To do crop-circles:
Out-IN: With the deflector facing towards the inside of the circle, start by drawing a LARGE circle with your WB and then just keep closing in until you spin in place.
IN-Out: With the deflector facing OUT, pick a center spot and do a 360 with the WB, as soon as you come full-circle, let go a little off the brake on your left wheel and start heading out.

Do a series of 3 or 4 or whatever of these in their yard, and you'd be amazed.

Sorry, never did see the percentage in striping because my mower and I prefer circles but if horizontal/diag/vert lines are more your thing, I would most definitely recommend it.

Whether you do circles or stripes, go over the yard twice and man, carpet-lawns everytime.

If you really want to go NUTS, what I like to do is kneel way down on the grass as I scan for streaks, I almost always see a few blades I would've otherwise missed. Yup, get off the WB and then look across the yard with your face flush on the lawn. Hell yeah now you can find them uncut blades!

The other stuff with the trimming, that's been covered.
Best of luck.