My fiance is a landscaper on his off days of working on the oil rig, and as such, I spend days with him just going to different job sites of homeowners to “help” him winterize sprinkler systems, fix broken propane lines, and other various duties he gets assigned. I’ve also noticed that there are many things the homeowner neglects to do that make the job that much harder to get done. Here are ways that you, the homeowner, can help out your landscaper so he can get the work done faster and get you back to enjoying your yard.
Keep an eye on your kids. Just yesterday we went out on a job where we had to install about 100 feet of sprinkler piping and put in new sprinkler heads, and the pipe digger machine doo-hickey we were using drew the attention of about a dozen neighborhood kids or so. We spent a huge majority of our time trying to keep kids from jumping in our holes, taking off with the grass we dug up to put in sprinkler heads, and one of the little tykes took off with our trench shovel, so we had to track it down. Yes, the job is entertaining for kids to watch, but with all the saws, pipe-cutting tools, and various interesting objects that kids are bound to play with, it’s best to let your kids watch from a distance. I was stuck with mainly babysitting children to keep them out of the tool shack, from playing on the pipe digger thingy, and to even kick them out of the truck itself!
If you have a dog, put them inside or at least let the landscaper know the dog is there. Often, we go to homeowners’ homes when they are not there, and to get to main pumps and sprinkler heads, we have to have access to pump houses, garages, and backyards. If you have a dog pop out out of nowhere, we will leave the job undone since we can’t access the things we need to and will have to come back later. Same goes if you don’t leave garages, pump houses, or backyards unlocked so they can be accessed. Talk to your landscaper about these arrangements before they arrive and can do next to nothing because they don’t have access to your sprinkler clocks and timers.
Go out and talk to your landscaper if you’re curious about what they are doing, because you may have vital information that will help the landscaper get the job done more efficiently. Have a sprinkler head that keeps plowing your front windows with water? Let him know, so he can fix it while he’s there. Also, the landscaper will want to inform you if they’ve put chemicals on your weeds or have to get to your cellar for the sprinkler clock, so don’t be afraid to pop your head out and say hello. Often, a landscaper that goes to your home was just told by his boss what needed to be done, and you as the homeowner can get a lot of extras done if you just speak up in one visit without accruing any extra costs.
Please put toys away and pick up dog poop in your yard. If you’re going to be having a landscaper at your home, they don’t want to have to move around your backyard toys or your lawn ornaments to get to sprinkler heads and garden spots. Also, if your landscaper steps in dog crap, they’ll likely just scrape it all over your lawn or sidewalk and not pick it up for you since it’s not their dog.
Be prepared for comebacks. A good landscaper will stop by your house to make sure your lawn is watering properly and check for brown spots about a month or so after servicing. They may not come to your door, but they will check up on you to make sure all is still going well. Some days, all my fiance and I do is drive around town checking previously serviced houses and checking pumps or lawns. If your landscaper notices something amuck, don’t be surprised to get a phone call from the company later to make sure all is well.
Keep your hose out front for the use of your landscaper. Often, they will want to really hose down your grass if they had to dig it up to check underground pipes and lines. Saturating the replaced grass helps it to re-root and grow more naturally. If you leave a hose out for your landscaper, it makes the cleanup process a lot easier.
Don’t just go out to bug the landscaper. Often, we go on job sites where people will just pull up a chair and start chatting away, especially old farmers. It’s nice that the homeowner wants to chit-chat for awhile, but it does slow down the working process and can lead to distraction. Plus, if you bug the landscaper too much, he may recruit you to help him out just to get you to shut up.
Above all, be patient. Your yard may look like a disaster, with all the tearing up of grass, dirt and weeds everywhere, and piles of debris and leaves and tools all over your yard. But a decent landscaper will do his cleanup as well as he did his work, so that muddy sidewalk will be sprayed off, the debris will be hauled off-site, and that big truck will be off your lawn in no time.