There is a lot that goes into maintaining a landscape. Even if you’re just trying to keep up with the bare minimum, it can be a lot of work. That’s because landscapes are not self sustaining. And because they’re always evolving and growing, there are always tasks that need to be done.
While some homeowners in northern Virginia try to tackle landscape maintenance on their own and are often looking for those landscaping hacks that will help them get the job done, others have found it’s just not worth all the time and effort involved.
At Rock Water Farm, we maintain a vast array of residential properties that come in all different sizes and shapes in our area. Although no two properties are completely alike, we still think there are some important landscape maintenance tasks that should be performed on an ongoing basis.
Here are 10 of the best landscape maintenance tasks that should be performed, and a general idea of when to do them, so that you can keep your northern Virginia landscape looking great year round.
1. Weekly Mowing
Keeping your lawn mowed regularly will maintain that manicured and clean look that is aesthetically appealing. But keeping your grass trimmed also has the added benefit of keeping pests away as insects like ticks and mosquitoes prefer to “hide out” in tall grass.
While mowing is one of those tasks that seems easy to keep up with, even falling behind just one week on your regular mowing schedule will show. It’s definitely an important task to keep up with both for aesthetic appeal and the health of your lawn.
In terms of when to do it, mowing season typically starts in the beginning of April and runs through the end of November.
Regular mowing will keep your lawn manicured but if you want to keep it healthy, you must also fertilize the lawn. Fertilizer helps not only improve the color of turf, but it thickens the lawn to help reduce the chance of weeds growing. While some homeowners tackle this on their own with store-bought products, if you want professional-grade fertilization products that will have your lawn as green as a golf course, then this is lawn care maintenance service you should leave to the professionals.
We begin regular applications of fertilizer in the spring and go through late fall. Timing is important as our program actually focuses on the biology of the lawn rather that just tossing product down at any given time.
3. Spring and Fall Clean-Up
A number of extra maintenance tasks come with the spring and fall seasons. Clean-ups during both the spring and fall season should include landscape maintenance services like pruning, debris removal, mulching, cutting back perennials and ornamental grasses, and re-edging the beds. Fall clean-up should also include leaf removal (see below).
Both spring and fall clean-ups give your property an instant curb appeal boost as clearing debris and cleaning up plant material makes everything look better. But there are also a lot of health benefits to spring and fall clean-up as tasks like pruning and mulching help your plants to grow better and removing debris from your yard helps ensure pests don’t take up residence.
4. Leaf Removal
While it should obviously be part of the fall clean-up process, leaf removal is such a big task that it could actually be considered a category of its own. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to assume they can tackle leaves in one big clean-up, but the truth is it often ends up being a lot more work than that.
For one, leaves continue to fall throughout the season and tend to require ongoing removal. In most parts of our area are required to be bagged and hauled away which can be a time consuming hassle. At Rock Water Farm, we handle leaf removal in three separate visits throughout the fall season in order to thoroughly get the job done. Leaves that are left behind not only become unsightly but can attract rodents and ticks to take up residence on your property during the colder months. It’s important to get all leaves and debris off of the property before the winter season begins.
5. Bed Maintenance
Plant beds are one of the nicest ways to add curb appeal to your property. But without regular landscape maintenance, those beautiful plant beds won’t stay looking so nice for long. Of course, keeping up with plant beds is a big landscape maintenance task and therefore may be ignored. But the longer weeds are neglected, the more potential they have for spreading. While many homeowners tackle weeding the flower beds a couple times a year, the more regularly you do it, the better. Weeding frequently will actually reduce the amount of work each time it needs to be done so that weeds don’t seed off and spread so rapidly.
Plant bed maintenance should be performed on an ongoing basis in both the spring and fall. It often ends up being a task that is overlooked but can have a huge impact when done regularly.
6. Plant Health Care
Just like your lawn, your small trees and shrubs also need ongoing attention. That includes regular pruning and fertilization, as well as spraying for insects and disease, in order to keep plants growing and healthy. Your trees and shrubs are a valuable asset to your property and one that should not be ignored.
It’s also worth noting that replacing trees and shrubs that did not survive due to a lack of attention is certainly more costly than investing in their maintenance in the first place. It is another task that should be performed on an ongoing basis throughout the growing season.
7. Aeration & Overseeding
Your lawn has to breathe and helping it to do so means aerating, which is a service best performed in the fall. Core aeration makes small holes throughout the lawn that allow more air, water, and nutrients to penetrate below the surface. As the soil cores are pulled out of these holes and placed on the surface, aeration also helps reduce soil compaction which means grass root systems can grow deeper and become more established.
This means improved health, as grass plants are able to grab ahold of water and nutrient resources better. That can lead to a thicker, healthier lawn. Aeration time is also the best opportunity to overseed, as the seed-to-soil contact will allow for better growth.
This is one of those services that we would say is not advised as a do it yourself landscaping hack. That’s because if aeration is performed improperly, such as during a drought, it can actually do damage to your lawn. It also requires renting and operating heavy equipment that is probably best left to a professional who performs this type of service regularly.
8. Watering your Lawn
Regularly watering your lawn is also important to help maintain its health. While this is a landscape maintenance task that can be handled manually - dragging around sprinklers for hours on end - if you truly want the lushest lawn possible, we would recommend a professional irrigation system that is going to ensure your lawn is watered just the right amount. The latest irrigation systems include technology such as weather sensors that ensure lawns are not overwatered or underwatered.
9. Lawn Weed Control Treatments
In order to prevent weeds from taking over, you should also consider preventative weed control measures. While keeping up with a lot of the landscape maintenance tasks we already mentioned will help produce a healthy lawn and naturally choke out some of the weeds, we also recommend pre- and post-emergent applications that will help keep your lawn free from pesky weeds. In addition, with a professional service like ours, we can also target specific weeds that may be a problem on your property.
Because the soil in our area contains a lot of clay, a topdressing is really important to add organic matter into the soil to improve its structure and provide valuable nutrients for grass and plants.
At Rock Water Farm, we add a topdressing of compost which will help further establish a good layer of topsoil. This will help your lawn to thrive.
This is something we consider an “above and beyond” step but one that we still think should be part of the list of the best lawn maintenance tasks - particularly if you’re looking for a truly lush lawn.
Landscaping Tips and Tricks
In this DIY society, we know that a lot of people are looking for those landscaping tips and tricks that will help them get their landscape maintenance done quickly and easily. But the truth is that shortcuts on these types of tasks will only cost you in the long run. The best tip we can offer is to keep up with regular maintenance so that you don’t wind up having problems that you have to fix down the line.
At Rock Water Farm, we can customize a landscape maintenance plan to your exact needs depending on things like the size of your property, what services you desire, and what your budget allows. While we offer all of the services mentioned above (as well as others) we also know that some homeowners still like to handle some of these tasks on their own. We can personalize your plan so that we’re handling the tasks you want us to, while leaving the rest up to you.
Of course, we also know that life gets busy and you don’t always have as much time as you hope to. We often have clients who add more services at a later date. We can always change your maintenance plan as your needs change. Weekends are only so long and many of our clients tell us the last thing they want to do is spend their entire weekend working in the yard. Unless it’s a hobby or something you really enjoy, you may find that investing in professional landscape services frees up your time to be with your family and do things you truly enjoy rather than working in the yard.
Leaving the maintenance to us not only frees up your time but it also ensures that your lawn is truly the best it can be. Landscape maintenance services like fertilization, weed control, and aeration and overseeding are services that we have perfected. Our landscape professionals are expertly trained and use high quality products and equipment that isn’t available to the average homeowner. By investing in professional landscape maintenance services, you’re investing in improving your property.
If you’d like to learn more about our landscape maintenance services for your Ashburn, Aldie, or Leesburg, VA home, or the surrounding areas, schedule a free consultation or give us a call at 703-327-1636.