With spring approaching, new beginnings and spring cleanings are about to be in full swing. A fresh, clean change in lawns can be both.
Local landscaping and lawn services are preparing to meet the needs of their customers’ lawns and yards this year. A well-cared-for lawn can not only affect individual homes, but also the neighborhood — even things as simple as keeping your yard mowed.
“I think a bad yard can make a whole street look horrible,” said Adam Weatherford, who co-founded and co-owns AK Lawncare along with his wife Kassandra. “A well-maintained yard … It makes your house look so much better, I believe.”
Adam and Kassandra have been in business for nearly five years, starting out as a small mowing business and slowly growing to include mowing, edging, weedeating, scalping, leaf cleanup, gardening services, tree trimming and removal and Christmas light services.
Like with most things, 2020 taught people to appreciate their homes. Brooks Huston, owner of Huston Lawn & Landscape, said when the COVID-19 pandemic first began, his business actually thrived as more people wanted to invest in their lawns and yards.
“I was a bit scared at the beginning, but we were really, really busy,” Huston said. “It was a surprising year. I think that people started spending a lot more time at their house. We did a lot of back patios, all sorts of different stuff, just because I think that people were spending so much time with their family and stuff at home that they invested some money in adding some stuff to their house.”
One of the popular requests Huston has seen recently in landscaping has been homeowners selling their houses and wanting to make them look more appealing to potential buyers. Another is modernizing landscaping that was installed a decade or two ago.
Huston said the landscaping process usually goes two ways: either the customers have a general idea of what they want, or Huston gets to create his own plan — either way, the process is pretty straightforward, and Huston can add or subtract things to fit people’s wants and budget.
“Half the people we work with have already made up what they want, or they have a general concept of what they want, and that’s great,” Huston said. “I will give my opinions, and we’ll do whatever the customer wants to do. And then half of them, I completely come up with myself.”
Weatherford said AK Lawncare currently has about 60 clients, with a majority of them elderly folks who need assistance with keeping their yards maintained. He is hoping to grow his business to closer to 90 at the end of the season, which is typically April through September.
Most of his growth each season comes during the hottest months when people get busy or don’t want to get out in the heat as much.
“By the middle of the summer, (people) are like, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore,’ so they’ll hire companies, and then they’ll say, ‘OK, well, next year, I’ll just keep you because I just don’t want to mow anymore,’” Weatherford said. “Some will just use me for a couple months to do the hottest part of the summer. I usually end up with about 20% more clients at the end of the summer than I did at the start of mowing.”
Common issues and mistakes made in landscaping
Some of the most common mistakes Huston has seen in his six years of business, two of those in Enid, are overwatering plants and overcrowding flower beds.
Overwatering plants is a common mistake if gardeners don’t research. Huston said to fix this, gardeners need to find the right blend that works for them and their plants.
With overcrowding, Huston sees gardeners planting trees too close to homes that ends up taking the gutters off over time. With gardens, he said purchased plants are smaller than what they will grow into, and typically, those overcrowded flower beds end up being a big pile of combined plants.
This can be fixed, though, with time and patience, and Huston Lawn & Landscape can come in and help with trimming and separating plants, though it can be harder with a fairly established garden.
“It’s hard to (fix) without removing some of it and moving new stuff, or transplanting stuff to different positions, it’s fairly challenging,” Huston said. “But that’s the kind of the No. 1 thing that we see is going in and basically redoing the flower beds just because they’ve outgrown it, and we’ll either remove it or transplant it or add new plants and put it in the right positions that they need to be in.
“Basically, we have a knowledge of plants, so we’re basically describing what’s going to happen to the customer, and not filling the flowerbed too full. Basically, in two years when everything’s fully grown, they’re really appreciative because it worked out the way that they wanted it to.”
Huston Lawn & Landscape also does soil corrections. Much of Garfield County has clay and humus-rich soils on very gentle slopes or loamy and silty and humus-rich soils on gentle slopes, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey.
“Northwood, for example, is a neighborhood — my parents lived out there, and they definitely had a hard time getting trees to grow or last out there just because the soil is basically like clay,” Huston said. “We can do a soil correction to make it where plants will grow well in the flower bed, and basically when we plant trees, we dig the hole double the size of the tree, and then we sow it in with compost and the correct soil that it’ll grow well in.”
One of the issues that comes with mowing is obviously keeping up with it and not letting grass grow too high. Tall grass can lead to complaints from neighbors and violating the city of Enid’s code on high grass, which can end up costing the homeowner money if it’s not fixed within 10 days.
Weatherford said tall grass can increase prices of mowing services, too, since they might have to mow the yard twice if the grass is too high.
Some plants bring unwanted pests. Petunias, for example, attract deer, and Taylor Juniper can attract bagworms, but these pests can be deterred with sprays. On the other hand, plants such as lavender, coral honeysuckle, dandelion and milkweed can attract other wildlife such as hummingbirds and butterflies to gardens.
Lawn and landscaping services and DIY tips
Landscaping comes with varying prices depending on projects, and there are several options available in Enid, including Huston Lawn & Landscape, and the process is as easy as calling.
Keeping your yard mowed comes with pretty set prices, depending on yard size, grass height and other factors. Mowing prices at AK Lawncare range from $30 to $60, but Weatherford said the average price is about $35 or $40.
For those who want more of a “do-it-yourself” project, Huston recommends that homeowners, no matter the project, do their research.
“Do your research on how large the plants will grow, and whether or not they’ll grow in full sun or shade, and just be cautious in that area and put them where they belong and think about what they’re going to look like in four years when you put them in,” Huston said on gardening tips. “In terms of budgeting, most of the nurseries here in town are fairly close in price to each other, so just shop around and … see what you like and look it up on the internet and see what they’re going to grow into and go from there.”
An upgraded landscape ultimately comes with more responsibility and caretaking, but Weatherford broke lawn care down with one simple recommendation:
“Maintain it normally.”