Portland Landscaping Maintenance Done Right: Not Mow, Blow & Go

August 18, 2014

Portland Landscaping MaintenanceWhen it comes to Portland landscaping maintenance, it doesn’t make sense to hire three or four services—one for the lawn, one for trimming trees and bushes, another for irrigation system needs, and so forth. Rather, we recommend hiring a full-service landscaping company who can take care of every aspect of your yard’s health as needed. Today we’re talking about the difference between a full-service residential landscaping firm and the “mow, blow, and go” operations that cut the grass, blow away leaves, and take off. Hiring piecemeal for your landscaping services may seem like a way to save money. But the truth is that only full-service Portland landscaping contractors can care for your yard’s long-term health, in much the same way that a family doctor has the breadth of knowledge to care for your whole body’s health.

If you hire a lawn service to cut your lawn and shear your hedges from time to time, you’ll need to hire an additional firm for structural and ornamental pruning. Similarly, a limited service landscaping operation may be competent enough to start up your irrigation system in the spring, but they lack the expertise to make adjustments over the year, and they can’t offer winterization. Again, you’ll need to hire an additional expert for irrigation services. What a headache! Vetting firms, talking prices, and monitoring performance takes time, and if you choose a piecemeal approach you’ll spend more time coordinating different services. Even when all of your landscaping contractors are hired and ready to work, it’s likely they’ll miss important landscape cues, since no single expert will be providing a holistic view of your landscape’s health.

In contrast, with a full-service landscaping firm on your side, you can enjoy a perfectly manicured yard, vibrantly healthy plants, and the eye of an artist guiding the overall vision. Let’s dive into more depth on what a full-service landscaping firm such as Landscape East & West can do for you—with just one bill to pay, one contact to keep, and one firm totally responsible for the results.

Full-Service Residential Landscaping Capabilities

Rain Garden Design for Portland Landscaping1) Whole-Package Irrigation Care.
A full-service landscaping company can take care of all aspects of your irrigation system’s health, including system start up, adjustment of flow, backflow testing, winterization, and system upgrades. You’ll benefit from having an expert on your side from day one, with an irrigation system designed to minimize water waste and maximize plant health. A full service firm such as Landscape East & West can suggest SMART controllers, rotating nozzle heads, varying zones with customized settings, and more to make your system as efficient and effective as possible. We offer Premium Water Management Services, which include the spring startup and ongoing management of sprinkler systems, backflow testing, winterization and a 20% discount on parts needed for any irrigation system repairs.

Full-service technicians can make repairs and perform backflow testing. Backflow occurs when non-potable water flows into the potable water system. Because backflow can taint drinking water, municipalities generally require homeowners to install and test backflow prevention devices. Limited service landscaping companies are rarely backflow certified, requiring you to hire a new technician for irrigation services. Alternatively, a mow, blow, and go firm may just start the system and turn it off, while neglecting ongoing adjustments and freeze prevention.

We include backflow testing in our full-service packages. Landscape East & West technicians are backflow certified in Oregon and Washington. Plus, we offer 24-hour emergency service calls to quickly fix irrigation issues as they arise.

Plant Health Care2) Expert Plant Health Care, Including Pest & Disease Control
Full-service landscaping through Landscape East & West includes the expertise of a plant health care technician. This individual monitors, evaluates, and improves plant health, drawing from a strong understanding of plant science, as well as superb diagnostic identification skills. Watering, fertilization, mulching, and plant location are included in this aspect of full-service care. Plant fertility and insect/disease control are also integrated under this umbrella of plant care. Considering the complexities of flora and the experience needed to diagnose and treat plant health issues, you can bet your mow, blow, and go firm can’t match a full-service landscaping firm when it comes to plant wellness.

If you’re a “just the basics” kind of person, it may seem possible to shirk on this aspect of your landscaping. However, it’s important to recognize that failure to monitor and improve plant health will cost more over the long run, as you’ll need to replace more plants.

Laceleaf Maple Tree After Portland Landscaping3) Skillful Pruning
From a plant health perspective, it’s best to provide consistent, careful pruning throughout the year, as needed. If you hire a lawn service firm, you’ll need to bring on a specialist for pruning at least once a year. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with whatever “pruning” your mow, blow, and go service can provide—typically just shearing plants using hedge shears.

Why is that problematic? Because not all plants respond well to shearing. Sure, boxwood and other shrubs will keep a tidy shape with shearing. But other plants—trees, azaleas, and roses, to name a few examples—are actually harmed by shearing. When you shear back these plants, you spur new growth only on the plant’s exterior, decreasing circulation and inviting disease.

The bottom line is that shearing and pruning are not equivalent. Conscientious pruning helps trees and shrubs grow strong, in visually appealing shapes. Pruning involves eliminating crossed branches, removing dead material, and cutting away weak branches to allow strong sections to thrive. Pruning is an art and a science, and it demands an expert eye. For full-service landscaping, Landscape East & West maintains on-staff arborists who are well versed in the proper pruning techniques to improve the health and beauty of trees and shrubs. We include both structural and ornamental pruning in our full service landscaping, so plants on your property will be both beautiful and strong.

Landscape Contractors Plant Perennial Border4) Consistent, Convenient Account Communication
Landscape East & West provides each landscaping maintenance customer with a dedicated account manager who oversees a crew of technicians. This account manager serves as your in-person contact. He or she will set up a landscaping strategy, review potential enhancements, and provide a customized solution for each client—meaning that we’re not just checking items off a predetermined list, but taking a close look at the landscape in question and considering how we can best serve the owners’ goals. The landscape strategy is created following a property walk-through with the customer, the account manager, and the assigned crew foreman. This gives us a chance to learn about your concerns and expectations while also scoping out irrigation system needs and potential plant health issues. We also test your soil to determine its pH and nutrient content.

With a full service landscaping company, you get a whole team of specialists working together to provide exceptional landscaping care. No need to hire and keep track of five different companies. We’ll take care of your landscape from the ground up, and we’ll do it all for a monthly fee starting at $250/month for a standard city lot. You also end up with one firm responsible for the total health and upkeep of your landscape.

Full-service landscaping is superior to piecemeal landscaping services, for the reasons described above. With expert technicians visiting your landscape on a weekly basis, your plants will be healthier, and your yard will look shipshape. In contrast, mow, blow, and go outfits will speed through services as quickly as possible. There’s little incentive to go the extra mile for your plants. And you can bet that this sort of service will soon cause damage to your plants. For the best results, full-service landscaping is the best option.


Steve StewartSteve Stewart is the Owner/President of Landscape East & West, award-winning Portland landscaping professionals. He has run the day-to-day operations of Landscape East & West since its inception in 1980. Landscape East & West is a leader in the Portland Metropolitan area in creating unique landscape designs and executing expert construction and maintenance with care and pride.