DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME. WHEN TO CALL A PROFESSIONAL

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Healthy lawns, manicured garden beds and well-appointed outdoor living spaces are on most every homeowner's wish list, but getting your yard in tip-top shape is often easier said than done. It can be daunting to figure out which projects to tackle on your own, and which should be left to the pros. Of course, a professional can help you tackle most any outdoor project on your list, but here are five projects you should never try to DIY.

Healthy Grass – Let’s face it.  For most of us, lush, green grass is part of the storybook image of a home. It goes hand-in-hand with the white picket fence.  However, obtaining the white fence is often easier than getting the green grass! A healthy lawn begins with healthy soil, requiring the right pH balance and nutrients.  It necessitates applying the right fertilizer on specific types of grass at the right time of year. Weeds must be banished as these uninvited visitors compete with grass for nourishment and water. 

Then, there are the troubling lawn problem spots.  There are dozens of reasons grass can turn brown (e.g. – grubs, effects of de-icing salt, invasion by non-native grasses, improper mowing practices, etc.).  The correct fix depends on the correct identification of the problem. A lawn care expert can certainly help troubleshoot all of these problems in your yard and more importantly, help prevent them in the future.

Plant Selection – Many novice gardeners select plants based on color or aesthetic appeal instead of what works well in a specific location.  Other “weekenders” choose and place shrubs based on their initial size, failing to anticipate the plant’s growth, only to end up with large bushes blocking window views. Placing the wrong plants in the wrong location can be a costly process of trial and error.  Landscape professionals are trained in proper plant selection and understand factors including; layering of plant sizes and textures, shrubs appropriate for specific soil conditions and temperature ranges, and the right balance of color and feel.  They can provide knowledgeable guidance on what will look the best immediately and how to plan your plantings for the long term.   

Tree Care - Tree care is another task best left to the pros. Recognizing safety hazards, pruning, and diagnosing and treating tree disease are not trial and error tasks. After all, if a tree isn't properly cared for, resulting poor health may mean it will have to be taken down or it may come down on its own unexpectedly during a bad storm. Tree care experts, or arborists, can help ensure the beautiful trees you have can be enjoyed for generations to come. Looking to plant a new tree? Professionals can also help with recommendations on what trees will serve your needs best.

Hardscaping – The first part of the term “hardscaping” aptly describes the heavy labor and technical skill required for installing pavers, retaining walls, patios and the like.  It is hard work! A landscape professional can help you make the right material selection for your project needs.  (For instance, will stone, brick or concrete work best for your installation?)  A pro will help design an installation that satisfies your current needs and anticipates those of the future. A professional brings creativity and experience to the table to make sure you are investing wisely in a project that will result in ultimate enjoyment. In addition, professionals have the right equipment and expertise to ensure the job is done correctly the first time!

Landscape Enhancements -- Once you have invested in your landscape, there are enhancements that should be considered to protect your investment and to ensure you can fully appreciate the work that has been completed. For instance, a professional can install an irrigation system to make sure your shrubs and plants receive the appropriate water for their health or install lighting to allow you to appreciate the beauty of your landscape even after the sun has set.

A lawn or landscape professional should be a trusted advisor as someone who can bring ideas, experience and industry expertise to your landscape.