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.

The 3 Best Lawn Care Services

Best Full-Service Lawn Care
Lawn Doctor
Lawn Doctor
A thoughtful range of services ensures you can pick just the lawn care elements you really want.
Pros
Customizable treatment options
Thorough pest control services
Unique lawn mower maintenance
Cons
Not available in 10 states

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.

Best Annual Lawn Care Plans
TruGreen
TruGreen
A step up on annual plans and a nation of happy customers. And if you want to see evidence of its work, flip on the golf channel: It’s the official lawn care provider of the PGA.
Pros
Outstanding annual plan
Available in the greatest number of states
Cons
No natural plan
Yearly plans automatically re-up

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.

Best Natural Lawn Care
Weed Man USA
Weed Man USA
A growing franchise company with a focus on residential lawns that get green by going green.
Pros
Encourages a natural yard
Well-run and thriving
Cons
No commercial services available
Not available in 15 states

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

Gather quotes

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

What is the best grass for my lawn?

Propagating grasses naturally agreeable to your local climate cuts down on excessive watering and fertilizing demands. But you also want to look at your expectations for look, feel, and maintenance, as well as your standard foot traffic. If your grass takes a beating, you need hearty grass, though these varieties require more maintenance.

grass mapThis image from Lowe’s shows the best zones for cool season grasses (blue) and warm season grasses (orange). The transition zone (green) is best planted with a mix of cool and warm varieties. If you live in this region and want to stick with one grass type, go with cool season.


Warm-season grasses

  • Bahia: A rough, hearty turfgrass suited to hot and humid environments
  • Bermuda: Resistant to both weeds and drought, bermuda grass is a headstrong grower and can stay green into winter with overseeding
  • Buffalo grass: Another rough and hearty grass that takes a lot of sunshine and little water
  • Centipede: A rugged, low-growing grass, resistant to both weeds and pests, that grows best in Southern states and their acidic soils
  • St. Augustine: A choice turfgrass with a blue-green color that lasts longer in winter than most warm weather grasses. It grows well in sandy soil
  • Zoysia: A higher-maintenance grass that requires the trifecta: warmth, sun, drainage. The payoff is the plush grass of summer dreams

Cool-season grasses

  • Bluegrass: Prime turfgrass for the North, with an excellent look and feel if you give it plenty of light and water
  • Fine fescue: A slim-bladed grass that can take cool temperatures, shade, and even cold winters. The term “fine fescue” includes at least five varieties: hard fescue, sheep fescue, chewings fescue, creeping red fescue, slender creeping, and red fescue. All five are typically sold in a mix that is particularly great for cool-climate lawns with lots of trees

Cool- or warm-season

  • Perennial ryegrass, or wild rye: Quick to take off, this grass can take a beating from foot traffic and is most often mixed in with other varieties. Overseeding keeps it green through winter
How often should I fertilize?

Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you live in the South, a little earlier on both ends of the summer. Remember that using organic, slow-release fertilizer is the standing order from modern landscaping. You’ll also reduce the odds of harming your lawn if you take a similarly moderate approach to weed-fighting. Mulching grass clippings serves double duty as a nutrient-bearer and a weed-fighter. And if you are wrestling with existing dandelions or other unwanted sprouts, try sprinkling corn gluten meal on them rather than store-bought weed killer or harsh rock salt. This corn-byproduct remedy works by inhibiting the root growth of germinating plants.

What's the problem with fertilizer and pesticides?

Fertilizers and pesticides in excess will run off from your lawn and potentially pollute bodies of water. The latter is a hazard for humans and wreaks havoc on small water-dwellers. As for fertilizer, it can nourish anything green that grows. Algae will gorge on the stuff, spreading thickly across the surface and denying fish access to light and food in the process.

What happens when you over-fertilize a lawn?

Over-fertilizing your lawn just makes it dependent on fertilizer. That’s because a superabundance of chemicals kills off earthworms and other organisms vital to a healthy lawn. Earthworms’ burrows allow oxygen and water to seep deeply into soil, and earthworms themselves release nutrients for plants’ use through their decomposition of dead matter. Without earthworms, your grass is more likely to develop a shallow and undernourished root system.

How often should I water my lawn?

Less often, more profoundly. Rather than quick, daily showers, soak your lawn slowly once a month. The pros recommend scattering a few empty tuna cans throughout your yard as you water; when those have filled, turn off the sprinkler. This allows a healthy inch of water to moisturize the roots, promoting a deeper root system.

It’s also more than okay to let your lawn go brown during the hottest parts of summer. Grass can bounce back from a full month without water. During that time, it enters a harmless period of dormancy. If the grass goes from brown to pale, you know it’s time to turn on the sprinkler.

The Best Lawn Care Service: Summed Up

Lawn Doctor
TruGreen
Weed Man USA
The Best
Full-Service Lawn Care
Annual Lawn Care Plans
Natural Lawn Care
States Available
40
47
35
Free Lawn Care Assessment
Soil Testing
Mole Control
Lawn Mower Maintenance
Commercial Lawn Care

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