The Best Lawn Care Service
How We Found the Best Lawn Care Service
1 Month of Research
5 Key Criteria
3 Standout Providers
The Best Lawn Care Service
A lush green lawn is practically the American dream. Because a beautiful lawn is a healthy lawn, the best lawn care providers tend to the holistic health of your yard — the soil, its nutrient balance, the beneficial bugs burrowing through it. We compared national lawn care companies to find which best combine ecological landscape practices with reliable customer service.
How We Chose the Best Lawn Care Service
National lawn care services
We opted to focus on major lawn care companies doing business in a sizable number of states — more than half the country by geographic area. It’s important to note that we looked for lawn care providers whose primary task is treating the health of your grass. You may be interested in contracting a local lawn care company to mow once a month, or a full-service landscaping firm to install a water fountain or retaining wall. In those cases, our guide below can still help you find a reputable company.
For our purposes, we sought out reliable and well-established lawn care companies with the resources to tend to the health of your lawn, not just mow or landscape. We pulled names from customer review sites like Consumer Affairs as well as industry reports of major players, then checked for stand-out companies that hit the following four criteria.
Certified by landscaping organizations
The diverse benefits of a well-tended lawn (good to look at, nice to roll in, more resistant to invasive weeds and pests) illustrate the importance of hiring a lawn care company that takes them all into account. One promising sign of a mindful provider: membership to national and regional landscaping organizations.
The national one we looked for: National Association of Landscape Professionals. As Kathryn Hahne, a water conservationist and landscaper, told MarketWatch, affiliation reflects providers’ education and professionalism in their field. A conscientious lawn care provider follows landscaping and agronomist best practices, as well as legislature about permitted turf and fertilizer types, that professional networks codify.
Quotes your price on-site
We love the convenience of an online or over-the-phone quote for most services. But when it comes to your lawn, the company shouldn’t have a preconceived number. You don’t want a company doing half of a job because they quoted you the price of half the necessary work. The size, slope, and state of your lawn can only be accurately assessed in person. Even if a provider offers a ballpark quote to get you through the front door, final rates should be based off of an initial lawn consultation.
Starts service with a soil test
Considerate landscaping feeds the soil, not the grass. We looked for lawn care providers that conduct a soil test before any other service. Healthy soil has the right pH balance for your region, as well as a specific nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (NPK) balance — either 3-1-2 or 6-1-4. Before adding nutrients and recommending grass and ground cover, your lawn care provider has to know your soil’s current content.
Doesn’t rely on fertilizer
Landscape practices can either help or hinder the environment: both the micro-environment that is your lawn and the greater biome it takes part in. While fertilizing for growth and spot-treating weeds is necessary for that emerald carpet look, over-fertilizing or spreading “weed and seed” products hinders your grass’s ability to plant deep roots and thrive long term. More globally, the runoff from excess chemicals can damage key species in the food chain. Proper amounts of fertilizer — natural and slow-release versus synthetic and quick-release — at spaced-out intervals is key. So is opting for manual weeding when feasible. We verified that our top companies ascribe to these fertilization practices.
The 3 Best Lawn Care Services
- Lawn Doctor -
Best Full-Service Lawn Care
- TruGreen -
Best Annual Lawn Care Plans
- Weed Man USA -
Best Natural Lawn Care
Why we chose it
Customizable treatment options
Lawn Doctor boasts high customer service ratings on sites like Trustpilot and Yelp, and at least one reason for the company’s success is its spread of services. Treatment options are varied and customizable. You can choose whichever specific service best meets your lawn care needs, or opt for the Lawn Maintainer Care Program. This annual program combines all of Lawn Doctor’s most popular services (fertilization, weed control, pest control), customized to your lawn’s individual needs. This plan is also available with organic products made exclusively with plant and animal waste.
Thorough pest control services
While both TruGreen and Weed Man USA have the products and know-how to combat common lawn pests like mosquitos, Lawn Doctor expands pest control into a whole practice area. The company claims to have practiced IPM (integrated pest management) long before the acronym gained popularity.
This holistic vision of pest management seeks to put a damper on annoying critters rather than exterminate them completely. With it, Lawn Doctor treats the insects that wander onto your property when their season is ripe: mosquitoes, ticks, fire ants, grubs, armyworms, chinch bugs, moles, as well as “perimeter pests” like ants, spiders, clover mites, fleas, and ladybugs. (For a fuller discussion of IPM, check out our Pest Control Services review.)
Another pest control service from Lawn Doctor we love: Special Event Sprays. If you’re holding a reception or reunion in your backyard, leave mosquitos off the guest list with Lawn Doctor’s Yard Armour treatment.
Unique lawn mower maintenance
Like most lawn care providers, Lawn Doctor won’t mow your grass. But Lawn Doctor goes a step beyond the competition by offering a unique service in select locations: maintaining your personal mower. Lawn Mower Maintenance includes cleaning and winterizing the engine and tank as well as sharpening the blades. This last step is key. The jagged tears made by a dull lawn mower leaves grass vulnerable to rot and disease. In other words, mowing your lawn without a properly sharpened blade could sabotage the very lawn care you’re paying for.
Points to consider
Not available in 10 states
Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming are still waiting for a Lawn Doctor outpost. Residents of all the above states save for Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont can turn to TruGreen. Those remaining three states will need to scout for local lawn care using our guide.
Why we chose it
Outstanding annual plan
If your lawn needs help from many angles, TruGreen’s four 12-month lawn care plans are some of the best in the business. Each plan offers different combinations of aeration, pH balancing, fertilization, weed control, and tree and shrub care. All include nine visits spread through the course of a year, plus four additional visits if you opt for the larger plans with tree and shrub care included.
Other companies offer similar long-term plans, but these don’t come with as thorough of a work guarantee as TruGreen’s — the Healthy Lawn Guarantee promises return visits from a technician between scheduled visits whenever you feel your lawn needs aid. If you don’t want to invest in a full year of lawn care (your first visit is a deal at $29.95, but subsequent visits will likely cost $40 to $50), TruGreen provides à la carte services like aeration, overseeding, even mosquito defense.
Available in the greatest number of states
Every state save for Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont can receive lawn care from TruGreen. While TruGreen’s national and multi-market stance may make its services seem less personalized, the website offers a glimpse into the company’s local approach with seasonal precautions and reminders based on your location. Enter your ZIP code at the top of the TruGreen homepage to make the information relevant to you.
Points to consider
No natural plan
If you're interested in integrating natural lawn care (think organic fertilizer and no pesticides), then TruGreen may not be your best fit. While the website claims on one FAQ page to offer an organic program called TruNatural, the program is not listed alongside other services, and it takes some hunting to find any more information. For now, natural lawn care is likely better secured from a company that puts it front and center.
Yearly plans automatically re-up
Unless you personally cancel service before your 12-month TruGreen plan draws to an end, the company will automatically sign you up for another year. If you want to continue receiving regular visits, this automatic continuation will be a boon. But if you think of lawn care as a solution and not a management system, you’ll want to keep a weather eye on next year’s calendar or risk surprise charges.
Why we chose it
Encourages a natural yard
Environmentally conscious lawn care encourages the growth of native and pest-resistant plants and attempts to grow grass only where grass belongs — off steep embankments and out of shady areas. Weed Man USA checks these boxes with organic lawn dressing options, targeted weed removal services, and affiliation with the EPA’s Environmental Stewardship Program.
Well-run and thriving
Weed Man USA was included in Forbes magazine’s list of Best Franchises for two of the past three years. The list weighs system sustainability, system demand, value for investment, franchisor support, and franchisor stability to craft rankings, and Weed Man was called out as one of the best.
Contributing to this major mark of success: the company’s environmentally friendly lawn care, which appeals to consumers throughout the US and beyond (Weed Man also operates in Canada and the UK). Even if you aren’t interested in the landscaping business, Forbes’ kudos is meaningful. Weed Man’s popularity reflects the efficacy of its natural approach and portends its increasing availability.
Points to consider
No commercial services available
Unlike our other top picks, Weed Man USA doesn’t explicitly include commercial lawn care in its service menu. A residential-focused company, Weed Man gives your personal real estate its full attention. But if you’re looking for a provider with experience handling commercial accounts, Weed Man may not offer the expertise you need.
Not available in 15 states
Residents of Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Maine, Mississippi. Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, and Vermont do not yet have access to a local Weed Man USA branch.
Guide to Lawn Care Services
How to find the right lawn care service for you
While landscaping professionals often advise against choosing a provider that offers quotes sight unseen, plenty of good lawn care providers offer an online quote in conjunction with a free lawn consultation. If getting the best price is important to you, ask for quotes from several. While your price will depend on the state of your lawn and its square footage, Home Advisor provides a list of typical costs.
- Mowing - $270
- Fertilizing - $350
- Aerating - $450
- Overseeding - $1,200
Verify your provider’s credentials
Landscapers are not required to carry any official license, but they should provide their own insurance and be able to speak to their horticultural training. Apart from knowledge of native growth and the functions of common groundcovers, they should also be familiar with integrated pest management. Managing invasive pests without scouring the natural environment of your lawn is a cornerstone of responsible landscaping.
Be clear about your expectations
If you want them to preserve the clover, tell them. If you want them to stick to organic products, tell them. Any desires for the treatment process and its outcomes should be transmitted to your lawn care provider. Like a tattoo artist or hairdresser, it’s their responsibility to tell you if your vision won’t turn out like you expect.
Be there when they are
If you are concerned about your provider accomplishing the tasks the right way, schedule visits when you can be at home. Just know that some visits will be short — five to 10 minutes. Your provider isn’t pulling a fast one; not every visit requires action. Quick visits allow your provider to monitor how prior steps are taking effect.
Lawn Care Service FAQs
The Best Lawn Care Service: Summed Up
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