Who does your yard work?

lucillleNovember 18, 2012

I moved last year into a small home with a small yard. I'm currently putting in more roses and perennials. This past year I've had a yard guy mow and trim twice a month, and during the summer I would supplement between his mowing by running my non-gas reel mower over the yard.

He is off for the winter now since the grass is pretty much not growing.

I'm thinking of doing my own yard work next year even though I'm older. At my previous house, he cut down a section of wildflower seedlings, just because they were not grass. But ordinarily he does a good job at reasonable cost.

A rechargeable cordless trimmer and my reel mower are enough to get the job done so I would not have to mess with fetching gas. I'm older too, but retired, so I could take my time and do the mowing one day and the trimming the next. And I'm getting a particularly protective feeling about the tiny rose rooted cuttings I'm putting in now.

There are plusses and minuses with each option, having yard work done and doing it myself, so I thought I'd ask and see how y'all do it?

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buford(7 NE GA)

My husband does most of the lawn stuff. He helps me with the roses, but I pretty much do that myself. When we retire, we will hopefully get a smaller property so it will be easier to take care of.

I should add that my husband works from home and has a lot of time off. If he was working 9-8 M-F we'd probably get a lawn service. But it would make me nervous. We do have the guys come 4 times a year to do fertilizing for the lawn and one year they dragged a hose across the yard and killed a baby tea rose that I had planted earlier that year.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 8:52AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I do my own yard work. I'll be 70 shortly and figure it is good exercise for me--though I notice, as you suggested, it takes me a couple days rather than a couple hours to get the job done each time. But that's all right. No one ever won a prize for mowing their yard the fastest!

Last summer I hired my neighbor who has a lawn service. They whipped up a storm getting the job done quickly, but I had a series of minor complaints--grass too short no matter how often I asked for more length on my fescue grass, grass not being mowed when I thought it should be, edging round the garden beds with an edger is not very neat looking, etc. The only thing I miss is how they could blow out all the leaves and dispose of them in a couple hours of work. I have to put my lawnmower on mulch and mow and re-mow the yard several times before most of the leaves are gone (lots of trees around my house). So I do miss them a couple times during the year, but the rest of the time, I prefer doing the yardwork myself--and even if I don't particularly want to on some days, I still figure it is good for me to HAVE to get up and go mow! LOL


    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:54AM
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I think I am a control freak, at least about the garden. So, my DH (he takes instruction WAY better than any "gardeners" we have ever had) and I do it ourselves. Slowly (we are in our early 60s) - maybe 2-3 hours at a time, and weeks can go by between "times". Right now we are trying to do our Fall cleanup, so we are spending more time in the garden. I really do think it is theraputic, too.

Around here it is almost impossible to find anything other than "mow & blow" guys. My MIL had those at her house, and it was better than nothing, barely. When we were both still working we had a gardener who came once a week for 4-5 hours. He took care of the roses OK (after I convinced him that they were not all hybrid teas, and did NOT all need to be pruned the way he had been taught), but basically thought that I should cut down all of our trees & other bushes to achieve "perfect" conditions for the roses.

We had to fire him one Jan - he cut off half of the branches of our flowering crab apple tree (which was just about to bloom) because they were "in his way" when he went to prune some roses. THE SAME DAY he also cut back my old old Japanese quince bush (which was also just about to bloom) to practically noting for the same stated reason. I almost had a heart attack - those two plants blooming In Jan were one of the things I looked forward to all year, and they were in the front of the garden right by the street. After that we decided that trying to hire help for the garden was way more trouble than it was worth.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 10:57AM
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catsrose(VA 6)

I'm in my mid-60's, a retired landscaper, with 1.5 acres. I do most of my own work. Occasionally I hire a kid or a lawn service--neither of which has ever lived up to my standards. I threaten them with huge monetary layouts if they damage my roses. Also, as long as it's green, I don't care too much about the grass; it's just the stuff between the rose beds. Gardening is good exercise, tho it takes me longer now than it used to. My knees are shot and my once very mild asthma is now a real problem because I've become allergic to all manner of plants since moving here. When I can't do my own work, I will hire one person and train him/her in exactly what I want done, how, when. Certainly most mow&blow people do not know anything about gardening and a lot of people who go into landscaping come up thru the ranks of big companies that do very mainstream stuff. They have never learned about real gardens, just how to whack hedges and plant boxwoods and petunias.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 5:58PM
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Terry Crawford

We have 2.5 acres and I'm the gardener in the family. My DH takes care of the mowning and the heavy-lifting tasks like digging holes, building structures, and putting down truckloads of mulch for my multiple rose beds and perennials. My gardens are my passion and I spend my summers outdoors every day caring for my roses, hydrangeas, iris, daylilies, clematis, trees, peonies, and conifers. If I had other people take care of my plants, it would take the enjoyment and peace out of why I garden in the first place. And like Catsrose, I have found most people are clueless when it comes to taking proper care of plants unless it's mainstream ordinary boring plants.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 7:24PM
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I'm also in Houston, Lucille. I have someone who mows and edges. He's supposed to come this week, but I'm going to tell him not to come again until March because the grass isn't growing. He isn't going to be very happy about that. I would do it myself, but it's so hot and humid in the summer that it makes me feel bad for several days if I do it myself. I don't let him do anything else because he doesn't recognize good plants, and I've lost too many plants to people with no education or training to let them do anything with anything but grass any more.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 8:08PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Do you need a lawn?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 8:37PM
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I do it all myself. I'm retired, so I don't push myself too hard. I like looking at a finished job & smiling because it looks good :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:46PM
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Great comment Hoovb. As time goes by I have less lawn (any lawn is just naturally occuring bermuda grass) and more roses! Of 10 acres, about 1/3 acre is planted in things that need maintenance (the rest can be mowed by the tractor). I work an approx. 60 hr/week job, have a horse ranch on the side, and do every drop of garden work. Gardening is my therapy - it would be contra-theraputic for me to have someone else do the work. I do have a stall cleaner though!

My best friend - manual hedge trimmers. They are my deadheaders. I can deadhead all in about 1/2 hour. This winter I plan to put down paper and cardboard everywhere between plants and cover with light soil, or hay, or something, to try to keep down the weeds. Keeping on top of the weeds is one of my biggest challenges. Plus watering - I keep saying this, but THIS year comes the drip system. Moving sprinklers is not a good use of my time.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 9:48AM
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Who does our yard work? Almost always my husband and I do it together! The only exception are things we can't do easily--like taking out a 50-foot dying honeylocust. We hired professionals for that.

But as for the other work, some years ago we noticed that any task is a lot more fun if you make it a "social occasion." So while he does all the mowing, I'll be out there as well, mostly weeding my rose and flower beds.

We've had an overly abundant crop of acorns this year. The best approach we've found so far is first, mow our long fescue pretty short, then rake the acorns into piles, then pick up those pesky nuts with a shop vacuum. He does the mowing, but I'm right behind him with a rake, and we both take turns with the shop vac.

We're not retired yet, so most Saturdays we just work outside together for an hour or two, basically until we tell each other we've had "Enough joy!"

I love being outside. It is indeed therapeutic. And it sure beats housework. Lol.


    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 12:54PM
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seil zone 6b MI

We do our own yard work. My brother runs the tractor around the lawn and I do pretty much everything else. We priced out a couple of lawn services and found for our big lot it was just too expensive. The tractor we bought has more than paid for itself now.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 7:10PM
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I'm 71, mowed for 30 years, but can't handle the Texas heat anymore, it's brutal especially in August! FINALLY found a lawn service that does a good job, after trying a few and wasn't happy. I take care of the plants, and so appreciate this lawn care!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Here's a picture right after it was mowed.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 9:41PM
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Lawn and garden, both gorgeous!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 10:00PM
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I second that. What a stunning garden.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 9:42AM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

ogrose, what a lovely house and garden you have!

My husband and I do all the garden work, but hire someone to trim down the weeds on the remainder of our country property once or twice a year. The first thing we did when we moved here was to take out all the grass which someone had painstakingly planted not too long before the house was sold to us. Rabbits love grass and were having a field day, but now it's all roses and companion plants, trees and bushes, which I love so much more. To me grass in drought-stricken southern California is just plain wrong, and aesthetically doesn't look appropriate either. Without grass having a garden service doesn't make much sense since, ironically, most of them don't know a thing about gardening.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 10:13PM
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Thank you so much for the nice comments! We're in the process of remodeling our 40 year old house that we bought new in 1971, will put a patio cover in eventually, right now we're in the first stages of the kitchen, oh boy, lots of fun!

When we were young, I put the yard and "sort of" flower beds in, while my husband played soccer all weekend (just as well!) Really have focused on caring for the grass, so far so good.

My oldest son is a landscape contractor, he has been a big help to me, so have come a long way from where I was...

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 11:16PM
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Ogrose, what immediately struck me about your garden, and just mentioned in another thread about linear vs. landscape - is the beautifully rounded growing areas. Round vs. linear gives a completely different aesthetic, and I love it.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 9:33AM
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I have a good lawn-guy now, my hubby did it until he passed in '06 and the neighbor-lady referred her guy to me, he charges $55. per month and does a good job, but my lawn is quite small.... I'm 85 now but do all my other garden-work and caring for my 150+ roses, my son comes and does tree-work and heavy stuff and takes me in his pick-up to get horse manure.... the St Augustine grass seems to stop growing in the winter here so it gets mowed just every other week, but in the summer heat it does need the weekly mowing-blowing-edging, and he does a good job and understands to not touch the roses! sally

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 4:53PM
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