We don’t have to tell you that having a yard can be great.

You can use your yard to entertain, to let your kids or pets run free, or simply as a spot to relax.

Of course, having a yard means having to do yard work, too.

If you’re renting your home or are part of a homeowner’s association, your lawn care might already be covered. (If so, congratulations!) If not, you need to decide if you’ll take care of your yard yourself or hire someone else to do it.

If your lawn isn’t too big—and you have the time—you might want to handle your lawn care yourself. Doing yard work can be a peaceful activity, and it can even give you a decent workout. (We put together a list of essential yard tools you might need.)

However, if you’re too busy to take care of your lawn—or if there’s just too much lawn to care for—it’s time to hire somebody.

Keeping your yard looking good requires year-round care, and while that might seem like a daunting task, there are likely several high-quality and affordable lawn care service company in your area. All you have to do is look.

Follow these tips:

  • Before you talk to any companies, make a list of the services you’ll need. You’ll need someone to mow your grass and do some weed eating, but will you also need someone to do some advanced weed treatments or pest control? What about fertilizing or aerating your lawn? Do you have any trees and/or shrubs that will require some attention? (Note: Many lawn care and landscaping companies provide additional services—like show shoveling, leaf removal, or outdoor Christmas light hanging—in the colder months. Jot down any f those you might need, too.)
  • The next step is to compile a list of companies to consider. Ask your neighbors to recommend some local companies that do good work. Your friends, family, or coworkers might have some recommendations, as well. If you ask around and don’t have much luck finding a company worth considering—or if you’d like a few more candidates to consider—look for lawn care service companies with good reviews on Angie’s List (https://www.angieslist.com/) or by conducting a Google search. You can also consult your local Better Business Bureau.
  • Once you’ve narrowed your search, ask each company to take a look at your lawn and give you an estimate. (If they won’t give you a free estimate, you don’t need to give them your business.) Make sure the estimate includes all of the services you are going to need.
  • Ask each company for details about exactly what they will be doing, how often they will be doing it, and what results you can expect. Make sure they actually check your soil before fertilizing, and that they use long-acting fertilizers. They should also spray for only those pests that are an issue, and use products that are safe for children and pets. You also need to ask if each company is licensed, bonded, and insured. Do they guarantee their work? If something goes wrong, will they charge you extra if they have to make an extra visit?
  • Once you’ve narrowed down your list to the companies you like, ask if any of them provide neighborhood discounts or referral discounts. (Some lawn care companies negotiate special rates for neighborhoods where they have multiple customers, or for customers who live close to each other.) Also ask about payment terms. You might get a discount if you can afford to pay for an entire season at once.

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