Yard Maintenance & Clean-Ups

Leave the care of your yard to us.

We specialize in both residential yard maintenance and commercial property maintenance. We serve private residences, HOAs, and property managers.

Seasonal Maintenance

The seasons give us specific focuses during the year and depending on the needs of the property our yard maintenance programs vary considerably depending on the time of the year.

In general, our 4 seasons are broken into 2 phases: High maintenance and Low maintenance

Our high maintenance season is typically March through mid-November, although years like 2022 with a long spring and long summer push-back leaf clean-ups into December. This encapsulates the high-growth season as well as the fall season.

Our low maintenance season is typically November through February.

During our high maintenance season, we typically have more frequent and/or longer visits to maintain the property. We like to structure our maintenance agreements with a consistent monthly bill that doesn’t change even as the service does. We’ve found that is the simplest way to provide the best client experience in terms of service and payment.

Here are some of the essentials to yard maintenance:

  • Mowing: Regular mowing is important for keeping your grass healthy and looking its best. Mowing helps to remove excess growth, promote healthy new growth, and control weeds
  • Edging: Edging the lawn is essential to incorporate a beautiful yard, having the clean delineation makes it obvious where the lawn ends and the hardscape or bed begins
  • Hand weeding: Weeding is an important part of yard maintenance, as weeds can compete with your plants for nutrients, water, and sunlight. We avoid all use of chemical poison weed treatments, do the right thing, and do not poison our lakes, streams, and oceans for the generations to come. It takes time but it is worth it.
  • Pruning: Pruning is the process of removing dead, damaged, or excess growth from plants. Pruning helps to promote healthy new growth, improve the appearance of your plants, and maintain their size, shape, and health.
  • Cleaning: Regularly cleaning your yard helps to remove debris, such as leaves, branches, and weeds, which can harbor pests and diseases. This can help to keep your yard looking neat and tidy and prevent problems from developing.
  • Raking: Hand raking is a great option for the removal of debris.
  • Blowing: While blowing can be loud, it is by far the most effective way to clear fallen debris. We are exploring the use of battery-powered blowers and are hopeful that the improvements in battery technology will increase the viability of electric blowers.
  • Trimming: Power tools, such as hedge trimmers, can be a convenient and efficient way to trim hedges and other plants. You will notice the improved speed, efficiency, consistency, and reach when using power tools for trimming. With that said, it leaves a specific aesthetic and is not the ideal way to prune for optimal long-term plant health. Highly selective hand pruning is ideal for optimal plant health and long-term aesthetics.
  • Fertilizing: Fertilizing your lawn and plants helps to provide the nutrients that they need to grow and thrive. Choose a fertilizer that is appropriate for your grass and plants – we love compost and dark fine mulch as our first choice, but there are lawn-specific fertilizers that we use.
  • Watering: While recommend using native plants, they still prefer supplemental water in our dry months is essential for thriving plant life, and maintaining their health and vitality. Water deeply and consistently to ensure that your plants receive the moisture they need. Automatic sprinkler systems are the most convenient way to ensure proper watering. We recommend a smart controller to ensure watering is withheld during rain.

Overall, mowing, fertilizing, watering, weeding, pruning, trimming, fertilizing, and cleaning are all essential elements of yard maintenance. By regularly performing these tasks, you can help to keep your yard looking its best and ensure that your plants are healthy and well-cared for.

What makes our services sustainable?

We Believe in Yard Maintenance Without Chemicals: Treatment Alternatives for a Healthy Lawn

Neem oil and milky spore are two sustainable alternatives that can be used in landscaping to control pests and diseases without relying on synthetic chemicals. Here’s a closer look at these two options:

  1. Neem oil: Neem oil is derived from the seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) and has been used for centuries as a natural pest control agent. Neem oil is a broad-spectrum insecticide that can be used to control a variety of insects, including aphids, mites, and whiteflies. It is also a natural fungicide that can be used to control a variety of plant diseases. Neem oil is safe for use around humans and pets and has low toxicity to beneficial insects.
  2. Milky spore: Milky spore is a bacterium (Bacillus popilliae) that is specifically targeted to Japanese beetles, a common pest that feeds on a variety of plants, including roses, vegetables, and ornamental plants. When applied to the soil, milky spore infects and kills Japanese beetles, helping to reduce their population over time. Milky spore is safe for use around humans and pets and has no negative impacts on beneficial insects.

By using neem oil and milky spore in landscaping, homeowners and landscapers can effectively control pests and diseases without resorting to synthetic chemicals. These sustainable alternatives can help to protect the environment and reduce the negative impacts of landscaping practices.

We Encourage Choosing Sustainable Plant Options, For Eco-Friendly Yard Maintenance

There are many factors that contribute to having the most sustainable yard. The basics follow 3 fundamental steps:

  1. Remove Invasive Plants: Most commonly in the greater Seattle area that is Ivy, Blackberry bushes, and Euphorbia
  2. Reduce Nonnative noninvasive plants: Some examples would be Palm Trees or succulents
  3. Encourage Native Plants

Invasive plants are non-native species that have been introduced to a new environment and have the ability to outcompete native plants for resources. They can have serious negative impacts on local ecosystems, including:

  1. Displacing native plants: Invasive plants can outcompete native plants for resources such as sunlight, water, and nutrients, leading to the displacement of native species and a decline in overall biodiversity.
  2. Harming wildlife: Many species of wildlife, including birds, insects, and other animals, rely on native plants for food and habitat. When these plants are replaced by invasive species, the survival and reproduction of these species can be threatened.
  3. Damaging ecosystems: Invasive plants can alter the structure and function of local ecosystems, leading to a decline in the health and productivity of these systems. This can have cascading effects on the entire ecosystem, including on the species that rely on it.
  4. Causing economic harm: Invasive plants can also have negative economic impacts, including reduced crop yields, decreased property values, and increased costs for control and management.

Given these impacts for you and your larger community, it is important to remove invasive plants from natural areas and landscapes. This can be done through a variety of methods, including manual removal, and biological control using natural predators. By removing invasive plants, we can help to protect local ecosystems and preserve the diversity of native plant and animal species.

There are several things to consider when planting noninvasive nonnative plants:

  1. Make sure the plant is suited to your climate and soil conditions. Some non-native plants may not be well-suited to your local climate, which can lead to problems such as disease or poor growth.
  2. Research the plant’s potential impact on native species. Nonnative plants can sometimes outcompete native plants for resources, leading to a decline in native plant populations.
  3. Increased risk of disease – when moved out of the natural environment there is a greater chance of interacting with nonnative diseases that could impact this plant or be spread from this plant to the surrounding plants.
  4. Increased risk of maintenance – moving a plant from its natural environment can require greater water treatments or soil augmentation to ensure the plant does not encounter negative impacts. In the greater Seattle area, root rot is a common risk.
  5. Consider the plant’s potential invasiveness. Even though a plant may be noninvasive in its native range, it could become invasive in a new location. Be sure to choose plants that have a low risk of becoming invasive.
  6. Consider the plant’s size and growth habits. Some non-native plants can grow very large or have aggressive root systems, which can be a problem if you don’t have the space for them or if they threaten to damage nearby structures.
  7. Choose plants that are appropriate for the location in which you plan to plant them. For example, if you are planting near a water source, choose plants that are not known to be aggressive spreaders or that have the potential to disrupt the local ecosystem.

While noninvasive nonnative plants can add some flare to the landscape, be careful when selecting them and we encourage replacing them with native plants wherever is reasonable.

Using Native Plants in your landscaping can have numerous benefits for the environment. Here are just a few reasons why native plants are the best choice:

  1. Native plants are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, which means they require less water, fertilizer, and other resources to thrive. This can help to reduce the environmental impact of landscaping and conserve natural resources.
  2. Native plants provide food and habitat for local wildlife, including birds, insects, and other animals. This can help to support biodiversity and maintain healthy ecosystems.
  3. Non-native plants can sometimes become invasive, spreading beyond their intended boundaries and competing with native plants for resources. This can lead to the displacement of native plant species and harm local ecosystems. Native plants, on the other hand, are less likely to become invasive and are better suited to coexist with other native plants.
  4. Native plants are often more resistant to pests and diseases, which means they require fewer pesticides and other chemicals to maintain. This can help to reduce the number of harmful chemicals that enter the environment.

In conclusion, using native plants in your landscaping is a simple and effective way to support the environment and preserve local ecosystems. By choosing native plants, you can help to conserve natural resources, support local wildlife, and reduce the environmental impact of your landscaping. 

We Do Most of Our Pruning By Hand 

Hand pruning is a method of trimming or removing branches or other plant material by hand, using pruning shears or other hand tools. It can be an effective method for maintaining plants and promoting their health and appearance.There are several reasons why we like hand pruning:

  • Precision: Hand pruning allows for greater precision and control than other methods, such as using a power tool or machine. This can be especially useful for delicate or hard-to-reach plants, or for making precise cuts that will promote the health and appearance of the plant.
  • Versatility: Hand pruning can be used on a wide range of plants and in a variety of situations, making it a versatile method for maintaining plants.
  • Control: Hand pruning allows us to have greater control over the process, allowing us to make decisions about which branches to remove and how to shape the plant.
  • Sustainability: Hand pruning can be a more sustainable method of pruning than using power tools or machines, as it does not require the use of fossil fuels or electricity.

Overall, we prefer hand pruning because it allows for precision, versatility, control, and sustainability. 

We Take Care of Clean Green Waste

Clean Green Waste in landscaping refers to plant material that is collected and disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. This can include leaves, grass clippings, branches, and other plant debris that is generated as a result of landscaping activities. The collection and disposal of clean green waste is typically managed by local government or waste management companies and may be subject to regulations and guidelines to ensure that it is handled in an environmentally responsible manner. Overall, clean green waste in landscaping refers to plant material that is collected and disposed of in a way that minimizes its impact on the environment and promotes sustainability. One of the largest generators of clean green waste is deciduous trees and the fallen leaves they create.

Clean green waste will be included in your yard maintenance plan. Part of the process of maintaining any property will require generating clean green waste, a proper disposal plan needs to be included in that plan.

Clean green waste is typically collected and processed in a way that minimizes its impact on the environment. For example, it may be composted, mulched, or used as a natural fertilizing agent in gardens and landscaped areas. In some cases, clean green waste may also be recycled or used as a source of energy. Seattle Sustainable Landscapes always deposits clean green waste at a composting facility.

Frequency and Benefits of Yard Maintenance

How often should I mow?

The frequency of mowing a lawn depends on several factors, including the type of grass, the growing conditions, and the desired length of the grass. Here are some general guidelines to consider when mowing a lawn:

  • Mowing frequency: In general, grass should be mowed at least once a week during the growing season. However, the actual frequency will depend on the rate of growth of the grass, which can be influenced by factors such as the amount of sunlight, moisture, and nutrients the grass receives.
  • Mowing height: The height at which grass is mowed can also affect the frequency of mowing. Grass that is mowed at a lower height will grow more quickly and will need to be mowed more frequently.
  • Grass type: Different types of grass have different mowing requirements. For example, warm-season grasses such as Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass typically grow more quickly and may need to be mowed more frequently than cool-season grasses such as fescue and ryegrass.

Overall, it is important to mow the lawn regularly to keep it at an optimal length and to promote healthy growth. Frequent mowing is the simplest way to improve lawn health, by waiting the stocks have grown taller and thickened which means the core of the stock is cut and extra nutrition and moisture need to be replaced.

By following the specific mowing requirements of your grass type and taking into account the local growing conditions, you can determine the best frequency for mowing your lawn.

When should I prune?

The best time to prune plants depends on the specific type of plant and the reason for pruning. Here are some general guidelines to consider when pruning plants:

  • Deciduous trees and shrubs: These plants are typically pruned during the dormant season, which is typically in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Pruning during the dormant season allows for easier visibility of the plant’s structure and can help to prevent the spread of diseases.
  • Evergreen trees and shrubs: These plants can be pruned at any time of year, although it is generally best to avoid pruning them during the hottest part of the summer. Pruning evergreens during the dormant season can be more stressful for the plants, as they are unable to regenerate new growth as quickly as deciduous plants.
  • Flowering trees and shrubs: These plants should be pruned after they have finished flowering, as pruning them before they bloom may remove the flower buds. Pruning flowering plants during the dormant season can help to encourage new growth and improve the overall health of the plant.
  • Annuals and perennials: These plants can be pruned at any time of year, although it is generally best to prune them after they have finished flowering to allow for new growth.One of the wonderful things about outsourcing yard maintenance to a professional like Seattle Sustainable Landscapes is that we handle all of this for you. By enrolling in an annual program, we will cycle through each growth and maintenance phase of your lawn, ensuring optimal health and functionality of your lawn.

The Benefits of Mulching

Mulching is an important step in maintaining a healthy and attractive yard. We often recommend mulching in late fall or early spring, but end up mulching all year depending on the needs of our clients (if it’s been years, then any time is a good time to mulch).

Here are a few reasons why mulching is important:

  • Nutrition augmentation: Our preferred mulch is a dark fine mulch which includes composted materials. Over time with our heavy rains the nutrition from the mulch with assimilate with the topsoil below.
  • Weed control: Mulch can help to prevent weeds from germinating and growing in your garden or landscaped areas. By providing a physical barrier between the soil and the air, mulch can help to suppress weed growth and prevent the need for chemical treatments and extra weeding.
  • Aesthetic enhancement: Mulch can also enhance the appearance of your yard by adding visual interest and contrast to your landscaped areas. Mulch comes in a variety of colors and textures, so you can choose a type that best fits the style of your yard.
  • Moisture retention: Mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil, which can be especially beneficial in dry or hot climates. By helping to conserve moisture, mulch can reduce the need for frequent watering and help to keep plants healthy.
  • Soil temperature regulation: Mulch can also help to regulate soil temperature, keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This can be beneficial for plants that are sensitive to temperature fluctuations.
  • Soil erosion prevention: Mulch can also help to prevent soil erosion by holding soil in place and preventing it from washing away during heavy rain or storms. This can be especially important on slopes or in areas with poor soil quality.

Overall, mulching is an important aspect of yard maintenance and frankly one of the most neglected components of typical yard maintenance.

Leaf Clean-up

Leaf clean-up is one of the simplest yet most time-consuming pieces of yard maintenance. It is typically done in the fall when deciduous trees shed their leaves, but can also be done at other times of the year as needed. It is a simple DIY task, but we are happy to take it off of your hands! Most find having the right equipment and the proper truck to haul off the debris an advantage to outsourcing the activity.

Here is a general outline of a leaf clean-up process:

  1. Gather tools: The first step in a leaf clean-up is to gather the necessary tools, such as a rake, leaf blower, or lawn mower with a bag attachment.
  2. Remove leaves from the lawn: The next step is to remove the leaves from the lawn. This can be done using a rake or a leaf blower to gather the leaves into piles. Alternatively, a lawn mower with a bag attachment can be used to mulch the leaves as they are mowed.
  3. Dispose of the leaves: Once the leaves have been gathered or mulched, they can be disposed of in a number of ways. Some options include composting the leaves, using them as mulch in the garden, or bagging them up for curbside pickup or disposal in a landfill. Clean green waste removal is one of the benefits of a good yard maintenance program.
  4. Clean up debris: Once the leaves have been removed and disposed of, it is important to clean up any debris that may have been left behind, such as twigs or branches.
  5. Haul off debris: whether you are using a third party or your local services, debris haul-off is the final step.

Overall, a leaf cleanup involves gathering the necessary tools, removing the leaves from the lawn, disposing of the leaves, and cleaning up any debris. It is typically done in the fall, but can also be done at other times of the year as needed to maintain the appearance and health of the landscape.

What if I am in a Condo or have an HOA? 

HOA Yard Maintenance: Tips and Best Practices for Keeping Your Community’s Grounds in Top Shape

Home Owner Associations (HOA) tend to have a unique set of challenges and requirements. There are several unique issues that may arise when landscaping for a homeowners association (HOA):

  1. Budget constraints: The HOA may have a limited budget for landscaping, which can make it difficult to implement certain design elements or maintain the landscaping over time.
  2. Coordination: Maintaining the landscaping within an HOA often involves coordinating the efforts of multiple homeowners and contractors. This can be a challenge, as it may be necessary to coordinate schedules, assignments, and communication to ensure that the work is done efficiently and effectively.
  3. Governing documents: The HOA may have specific guidelines or regulations in place for landscaping that must be followed. These may include restrictions on plant species, irrigation systems, or other elements of the landscape.
  4. Community aesthetics: The landscaping of an HOA should be consistent with the overall aesthetic of the community. This may require coordinating with the HOA board or other members of the community to ensure that the landscaping aligns with the community’s desired appearance.
  5. Maintenance: Maintaining the landscaping of an HOA can be a complex task, as it may involve coordinating with multiple homeowners or contractors. The HOA may also have specific guidelines in place for maintaining the landscaping, such as watering schedules or frequency of trimming.
  6. Drought-resistant landscaping: In certain regions, water conservation may be a concern for the HOA. This may require implementing drought-resistant landscaping or implementing water-saving irrigation systems.
  7. Invasive species: Some plant species can become invasive, meaning they spread aggressively and can cause damage to the surrounding landscape. The HOA may need to take steps to prevent the spread of invasive species, such as carefully selecting plant species or implementing controls such as physical barriers.

Finding the Right Landscape Maintenance Company for Your HOA: What to Look for and What to Avoid

An ideal landscape maintenance company for a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) would have several key characteristics:

  • Experience: A company with a track record of successfully maintaining landscapes within HOAs is likely to have the knowledge and expertise needed to handle the unique challenges that may arise.
  • Professionalism: A reputable landscape maintenance company should be reliable, punctual, and responsive to the needs of the HOA
  • Flexibility: The maintenance needs of an HOA may vary from one community to another, so it’s important for a company to be able to adapt to the specific needs of each community. What services do you require? Mowing, blowing, raking, pruning, trimming, fertilizer, enhancements, irrigation, etc. – do they provide those services?
  • Attention to detail: Proper maintenance is critical to the health and appearance of the landscaping, so an ideal company should have strong attention to detail and be thorough in its work.
  • Communication: Good communication is key to ensuring that the HOA’s expectations are met and that any concerns or issues are addressed in a timely manner.
  • Cost-effectiveness: The HOA’s budget is likely to be a key consideration when choosing a landscape maintenance company. An ideal company should be able to provide high-quality services at a reasonable price.

Maintenance & Clean up for Property Managers

Effective Yard Maintenance for Property Managers and Rental Properties: Tips and Best Practices

There are several reasons why a homeowner or property manager may want to hire a landscape maintenance service for a rental property:

  • Curb appeal: A well-maintained landscape can improve the curb appeal of a rental property, making it more attractive to potential tenants.
  • Property value: A well-maintained landscape can also increase the value of the property.
  • Tenant satisfaction: Providing a well-maintained landscape can improve tenant satisfaction and may reduce turnover.
  • Lack of trust of renter: A renter does not have the same incentive to take care of the property as the owner, often it is better to put that responsibility on a professional.
  • Legal requirements: In some cases, a homeowner may be required by law to maintain the landscape of a rental property in a certain way, such as by removing weeds or maintaining safe walkways.

When looking for a landscape maintenance service provider, a homeowner should consider the following:

  • Reputation: Choose a service provider with a good reputation and references.
  • Experience: Look for a service provider with experience in maintaining rental properties.
  • Services offered: Make sure the service provider offers the specific services you need, such as mowing, trimming, and irrigation.
  • Pricing: Consider the cost of the services and whether it is reasonable for the level of work being performed.
  • Communication: Choose a service provider that is responsive and communicates effectively. It is ideal to have a company that you receive updates on services, and billing, and are able to put in specific service requests.

By considering these factors, a homeowner can find a reliable and reputable landscape maintenance service provider for their rental property.

Please let us know if you are looking for regular Landscape Maintenance or a yard cleanup, Seattle Sustainable Landscapes is happy to help!

    From Our Clients

    “This has been my favorite home improvement project. This company literally made me a yard where there previously was overgrowth, concrete, large stumps and rocks. They were able to complete the project on time and their cost was much more reasonable than others I interviewed. The project lead Fernando was hard working and communicative. The owner David (and Jeff previously) as well as the GM Chris all stayed in touch throughout the project. I would definitely use them for other projects in the future”

    Monica C.

    “The team put in an irrigation system in our front and back yard, cleaned everything up and added many new plants to the sunny and shady areas around our home. The owner was very personable, explained everything well and did exactly what he said he was going to do. He was fantastic to work with. His team was wonderful, super hard workers, and very friendly. They helped create color and beauty in every nook and cranny of our yard. My husband and I are very thankful we used this company.”

    Jacqueline H.

    “Happy with my choice. I had a very small townhouse backyard that was a bit of a mess (low quality builder-grade plantings) and had somewhat of an idea what to do with it. They provided good advice and the final result turned out very well. Finished ahead of schedule too! One year later and I'm still happy with the result. I definitely won't forget the attention and responsiveness of this company. Thanks a bunch! ”

    Heidi W.

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