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How to make a trashy yard look great?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by QualityLawnCare4u, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    OK, Im sorta embarrased to ask a dumb question like this, but after doing hours or research on LS, needed to ask. First of all, anyone can cut grass from a 8 year old up to 80. I dont want to be just a grass cutter but want to know how to make a bad yard look good. Ive read on here about a 3 step fert. program, aerating,(never seen that done in my area ever, believe it or not), dethatching, seeding and overseeding, and so on and Im just more confused. Most of my clients dont care what their yard has from weeds to poison ivy as long as its neat and mowed. But as of lately had a few new ones wanting a green and lush weed free yard. My question is you take a yard like one I looked at yesterday, front yard weeds, hydhondria, bahia and some centipede. Backyard mostly centipede and some weeds. What do you do to make this yard look great? I will say that 99% of my clients are not going to go for the expense of having top soil hauled it or aerating but I STILL want to know what to do. I am studying my 2 books now to get my applicators license but it does not go into enough detail to suit me. Like I said, anyone can cut grass but I dont want to be just "anyone". When I see the things you folks do on here I think to myself "Wow, I could see the folks here putting that kind of money in their lawns that live in a run down moblie home or ranshackled house that just want a cheap lawn cutting".:D OK, dont blast me to hard but I really do want to be an expert in my field, and have people say "that Danny can sure make a yard look great".
  2. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    you can make a mixed lawn look great, in fact, I'd say that the majority of lawns out there are mixed grass types of some sort. Getting the lawn thick and green to the point it is outcompeting weeds will take a lot more doing, even beyond fertilizer. Making the soil a hospitable place for your grass to grow, through relief of soil compaction(aeration) to correcting deficiencies, whether nutrient, ph or material(organics, soil type(clay,sand,silt,loam), microorganisms, etc.) is just the beginning. Irrigation, weed & pest control, cut height etc.etc., will all come into play as well. It's all about creating a balance for your plants to thrive in. Anything out of balance, and you'll be fighting one problem or another. I wouldn't say there is a definitive source on learning all about it because certainly, your local conditions will be different from everyone else, even down to the neighborhoods or individual houses that you service. That is where your field experience will be valuable in your particular area. Building a base of knowledge from everywhere you can find it (here, trade mags, books, courses, etc.) will give you the tools to mix with what you see at the local level to become an expert in your local problems. I wish that I could tell you that there will be a point that you will know everything there is to know about it, but there isn't and anyone who believes they are the master of it all is a fool. Do your homework though, and you'll soon find measurable results that will keep clients coming back to you. It's not hard to know more than the average homeowner or even competitor and that is what creates the value for your services.
  3. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Thanks Green Utah, I am no expert in this dept. My problem is I have clients that have a EOW mow for 40 bucks and want their yard to look like a million dollar home but gasp when you start talking $$$. I really dont know exactly what to do to each yard to get it like that but it is something I would like to start offereing or at least know how to. Believe it or not, I only have one client with a sprinkler system. Had several to tell me "they did not care if it died less money for them to spend". These are not the kind I want to attract, but the one I looked at last week wants to spend the money and I want to at least look like I half azz know what Im talking about.
  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    I've found that only yards with sprinkler systems truly look good. Most of them are healthy enough to choke out weeds on their own.
  5. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I always say that in order to make a lawn look great, it takes 90% cultural practices. The other 10% is doing the fertilization/weed control.
  6. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Healthy turf will usually choke out the weeds. Good balanced fertilizer not just N and don't be afraid to pull a few weeds to make an immediate impact just have a bucket handy so yo don't spread the seeds. I would imagine if you are mowing every other week the weeds have gone to seed, so every time you mow you are spreading more seed, pull em for now. Turf is the dominant feature in the L/S but there are usually shrubs,trees and a possibly a spot for flowers maybe a pot? Trimming dead wood out of a tree helps, so does shaping and fertilizing shrubs, define a bed with the edger, add some compost or bark. Add some flowers or a pot if there is not a spot for flowers. Maybe add some shrubs or vines to cover a wall or the neighbors old camper. You are right the client is looking to you to figure out how to spend their money to make the place look great. Get some Magazines and copy other peoples ideas until you get some of your own. Try Southern Living or some coffee table picture garden books try and watch HGTV (if you can find a garden show). You need to learn the technical info but if you can do a little design you will get the right clients. I once sold a 140,000 LS job with some ideas I got out of a book called Gardens in France its now a 1,200 a month maint account. YOU CAN DO IT !!!!!!!
  7. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Cover the weeds and trailor with gas and toss a match on it. That takes care of the easy part, now your customers will have some ins. $$$ to pay for irrigation, proper fert program and weekly maintenance.
  8. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,821

    Sell them on a good new shiny sod lawn, Spray glyphosate ,kill it all off and sell the appropriate fertilize and mow package, to keep it all lush and green.
  9. Microbe

    Microbe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 172

    what about just forget about the whole thing period! Your gona end up breaking your a## for hardley any money and being the "nice guy," to all your customers. Your gona end up with very poor results because your customers won't pay you extra for specialized practices which consist of hard labor. Your obviously in the wrong area if its a trailer park. If your serious about this... try selling your practice to others... if they can afford it then fine go ahead... Trying to build a name for yourself is extremelly difficult if you don't have the "type" of customer that can afford or want a lawn specialist. Good luck, but a certified "technician," unless your a certified technician already is in the wrong place in trailer park city.....
  10. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Um, not all my clients live in a run down mobile home, that was my "area" joke if you knew south Ga. I have some very wealthy clients also and as of late have had more than a couple to ask me to make their lawns look lush and healthy. Whether I ever do one complete renovation or not I want to KNOW how to do it and be educated about it.

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