How Much Does Lawn Care Cost? Lawn Mowing and Maintenance Cost Breakdown
Lawn care cost varies depending on the type of care that’s needed. Typically, a homeowner will pay between $48 and $211, depending on the size of the yard and other factors. Nationally, the average runs about $129.
- Typical Range: $48 to $211
- National Average: $129
Curb appeal starts at the curb; a beautiful lawn sets the scene for an appealing home. But keeping the yard looking its best requires an investment of time, money, and effort. If you’re nervous about lawn care cost, take comfort in knowing what to expect ahead of time, and look forward to a lush lawn when the work is done. Typically, lawn care will cost anywhere from $48 to $211. The average cost is about $129.
Lawn mowing can run $25 to $150 per week, with a national average of about $45. The price fluctuates depending on the size of the yard, the frequency of mowing, and the services included. While some lawn care companies charge by the hour, others charge per service and size, with price breaks often thrown in for regular customers.
The basics begin with mowing, but some homeowners request fertilizing, weeding, mulching, yard cleanup, and other maintenance, such as, aerating and watering. Those lawn care services run a little higher than basic mowing, again depending on yard size and other factors. If your yard features fences, trees, children’s play structures, or other obstacles, the price is likely to go up accordingly.
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Factors in Calculating Lawn Care Cost
It’s difficult to pin down lawn care cost exactly because copious variables create a sliding scale of pricing. In general, expect to pay between $48 and $211 for lawn maintenance. The national average is $129. However, prices vary across the nation, and prices in small rural towns will differ vastly from those in urban metropolises. While city prices might be higher, remote rural areas may invoke a travel charge. Geography can factor into the cost as well. Lawns in wet climates often require more frequent work than lawns in drier regions.
Services such as trimming, dethatching, weed control, leaf removal, watering, and fertilizing will add to the calculation of the cost of lawn care. What may be less obvious is how frequency impacts the cost. Letting the grass grow too tall between mowings can also raise the cost. To combat that issue, many lawn care service companies offer discounts when customers sign long-term contracts: Guaranteed repeat business generates price breaks, sometimes by as much as 25 percent.
Size can impact lawn care cost in one of two ways. If a lawn care professional charges by the hour, a larger lawn that takes more time will cost more. Hourly rates range from $25 to $60. If the charges are per square foot—which is not as common, but may be done for smaller yards—the same principle applies: bigger costs more. Typical costs start at one penny per square foot.
The price for maintenance of acreages is usually calculated at a different rate than for the average-size lawn. Larger properties often see smaller incremental increases because crews have less trimming and other detail work to perform. The average cost is $175 per acre, with a single acre ranging from $150 to $200, and 10 acres priced at $500 to $750.
The bigger the lawn or the more services required, the more manpower is required—and the higher the final bill will be. Whether a lawn care company charges per hour or per job, the charges will likely be multiplied by the number of crew members it takes to complete the work.
Lawn Features: Trees, Fences, and More
Fences, trees, children’s play structures, and other obstacles complicate the work to be done, increasing the time needed for mowing the lawn, trimming, and cleanup—and adding to lawn care cost. Time to complete fall and spring leaf removal is compounded by the presence of numerous deciduous trees and shrubs.
Tall grass makes mowing the lawn a more arduous task that takes more time. Different varieties of grass have different growth rates, with cool-season grasses exhibiting more growth in the spring and fall, while warm-season types grow more through the summer. Weather, including temperatures and rainfall amounts, will influence grass growth rates. A general rule of thumb advises to never remove more than one-third of the height of the grass in a single cutting.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Sometimes, there’s an implied “plus or minus” in front of the charges for services. Extra costs may be incurred for a variety of reasons: travel distance, special equipment or equipment maintenance, additional product needed due to the size of the project, or other exceptions. The size of the property, the terrain (hilly, rocky), and the number of obstructions (trees, playground structures, or other lawn features) will increase lawn care cost. In short, anything requiring extra work will result in an extra charge.
The math works both ways; discounts or coupons may be applied to reduce the standard fee. Many lawn care companies try to encourage new business with coupons and return business with discounts for signing a contract for regularly scheduled maintenance. If you prepay for the season, you may be able to subtract even more from the bottom line.
Additionally, fluctuations in gasoline prices may lead to extra charges, as lawn service companies pass along the cost of doing business.
Travel costs are typically included in an hourly rate, but if your home is out of the lawn professional’s vicinity, there could be a travel surcharge. Some companies levy a flat rate travel fee; others charge per mile beyond their service range. In past times of fuel shortages, some companies have added a fuel surtax to cover the cost of travel expenses. To keep costs down, look for “lawn service near me” when doing an internet search to ensure you’re within the service range of the company you select.
Equipment Upkeep Costs
The cost of equipment and tools (and their upkeep) is generally rolled into the fees a lawn service company charges. However, it’s a fair assumption that a large or syndicated company with new equipment, company trucks, employee uniforms, and liability insurance is prone to cost more than an independent lawn care professional.
Contracts and Packages
Businesses reward loyalty with discounts. Repeat business guarantees income, simplifies their scheduling, reduces their need to advertise, and gives them an edge over their competition, so many lawn service companies offer discounts and packages—a money saver for homeowners. Bundling isn’t just for TV and internet service. Packages that add other services to mowing such as trimming, cleanup, and fertilizing may also be offered with incentives and discounts.
Lawn Health and Issues
The same people who mow your lawn are often the perfect people to keep it healthy and fix issues. Think of your lawn care professional as a “lawn doctor.” Lawns can suffer from a number of problems: grubs, fungus, fertilizer burn, lack of water, chinch bug infestation, too much shade, brown patches (possibly from dog waste), or other anomalies. Lawn care professionals can draft a plan to turn your problematic lawn into a lush landscape that’s well suited to your environment and conditions.
Lawn Care Cost: Types of Lawn Care and Lawn Maintenance
One size does not fit all when it comes to lawn care prices. If your lawn is relatively small, it will cost less to mow than an acreage. If your yard is fenced, if you have a large patio or long sidewalk that requires trimming, if the terrain is particularly challenging, or if you have playground equipment or lawn furniture, the added time and effort required to mow will be reflected in your bill.
Similarly, if your yard requires watering or is on a fertilization schedule, expect to pay for those services above and beyond mowing. Weed control, pest control, trimming, mulching, and annual leaf cleanup are common add-ons. Be prepared to pay more for organic treatments if you’re trying to avoid the use of chemicals on your lawn.
Consider mowing the starting point. Annual or semiannual tasks like leaf removal, aeration, tree trimming, or winterizing go above and beyond the basics. Some homeowners want to take it even further by enhancing their curb appeal with some landscaping projects.
Factors that impact the price of lawn mowing include the type of grass, the size of the yard, the terrain, the frequency of mowing, and any objects (including trees and other plantings) that the crew has to maneuver around. The national average for lawn mowing is $129, with the low end starting at $30 and the high end as much as $515.
Whether you’ve planted new seed or your yard is simply thirsty due to lack of rain, paying a lawn care company to water your lawn can cost anywhere from $50 to $400, depending on the size of the area.
Many homeowners appreciate a tidy edge that clearly defines planting beds from the lawn, making maintenance easier. Sometimes called landscape curbing, edging uses brick, concrete blocks, natural stone, wood, or even PVC plastic to create an eye-catching divider and help keep weeds and grass out of planting beds. Depending on the number of linear feet to be installed, as well as the type of material, costs can range from $700 to $1,700 to edge your landscape. Once edging has been installed, many homeowners opt to mulch their planting beds. This is an additional cost, typically starting at $100 per square yard.
Regular fertilization aids in keeping a lawn lush, thick, and green. There are many options: liquid or granules, fast- or slow-release, organic or synthetic. All—in addition to the size of your yard—will impact the cost, but routine fertilization generally averages $80 to $380.
Aeration can boost the effectiveness of fertilization as well as the general health of your yard. Typically done in the spring, the process consists of using a tool to poke holes in the soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots and promote better growth. All factors considered, the cost of aeration averages between $70 and $190.
Proper aeration can also enable effective pest control treatments. Brown spots or dead patches in your lawn indicate the possibility of pests. One of the most damaging is white grubs, but chinch bugs, cutworms, sod webworms, and armyworms can also be problematic. Pest control isn’t limited to insects. Moles and voles can destroy a lawn. A visit from a professional pest control service typically costs $200 to $300.
For beautiful, healthy trees that don’t encroach on your home or other structures, a little tree trimming is occasionally necessary. Several factors impact the price: size, number, accessibility, health (rot, disease, and pests can make tree trimming more dangerous), and proximity to power lines. The typical range is between $250 and $1,000, with the average price around $500. Trees over 60 feet tall can easily cost over $1,000: Bucket trucks don’t come cheap. Stump grinding or removal costs extra.
Weed control costs vary based on the size of your yard, the amount of weeds in it, and whether a one-time treatment is enough or your yard requires periodic treating. Common weeds such as dandelions and crabgrass are harmless, but some weeds, such as Canada thistle, are noxious. Chickweed, creeping Charlie, and purslane are among the invasive weeds. Herbicide applications can cost anywhere from $35 to $120.
Seeding a lawn often costs $90 to $180 per 1,000 square feet. Seeding a new lawn costs less than reseeding an existing lawn (replacement) because the latter involves removing old sod, rototilling the ground, and amending the soil before planting. Renovation—sometimes called patch seeding—is less expensive because it addresses small areas where the grass is thin, damaged, or nonexistent.
Although it’s perfectly acceptable to grind up some leaves with a mulching mower to fertilize the lawn, large piles of leaves are more commonly raked and bagged. Left on the yard over the winter, piles of leaves can create patchy dead spots or become moldy. Professional leaf removal can cost $190 to $540, depending on how many big trees are dropping leaves onto your lawn.
You may want to reduce the area that needs to be mowed and add some visual interest to your yard with landscaping. Landscaping can increase your home’s value through improved curb appeal with simple mulched flower beds and native trees or more complex solutions like walkways and solar landscape lighting. You can even save money and energy with some ideas like adding a rain barrel. Most landscapers charge anywhere from $50 to $100 per hour, making the typical landscaping project total somewhere between $1,400 and $5,400.
Spring/Fall Yard Cleanup
Spring and fall yard cleanup services look similar. Both collect fallen leaves, remove dead and dying branches, trim back old flowers and shrubs, and tackle bald spots in the lawn. The results are similar as well: a healthy, attractive yard. Spring or fall lawn service generally runs $100 to $250. One benefit of hiring out for this job is that the professionals know which plants are best to trim in spring and which should wait until fall.
Winterizing your lawn is like tucking it in for a long nap. While warm-season grasses go dormant in cold weather, cool-season grasses need extra nutrients in the fall to help them get through winter. They’ll need a different kind of fertilizer—one with higher amounts of phosphorus and potassium that will bolster their hardiness during the cold weather. It’s important to clear fallen limbs, debris, and anything that could kill the grass it rests on. Winterizing usually costs between $80 and $380. If you have a sprinkler system that needs to be winterized, you may have to pay an additional $50 to $110.
Lawn Care Cost: Do I Need Lawn Care?
Hiring a lawn care service relieves homeowners of the work and worry of maintaining their yard. Time often plays a major role; long hours at work can prevent on-time routine maintenance. Rather than risk a conflict with HOA rules about grass height and landscaping, it’s easier to hire a professional to take care of your lawn. With a lawn care service in charge of your yard, you don’t have to spend time researching which fertilizer goes down when. You don’t have to drive to the store to pick up supplies. You don’t have to sharpen the blades on your mower.
Another time-saving benefit of hiring a lawn care company involves equipment maintenance. You don’t have to buy, store, and maintain lawn mowers, weed eaters, or other landscaping equipment. That includes keeping a full gas can standing by or having to mix gas for two-cycle engines on string trimmers.
There are a myriad of reasons to hire a pro. A home for sale may need a little extra sprucing up. The homeowner may have limitations restricting physical labor or lack the knowledge to complete some tasks.
In addition, you won’t have to keep track of when you last fertilized or figure out what kind of mulch is best for your flower beds. The professionals will put your yard on a schedule of mowing, trimming, and fertilizing—should you choose—that lets you shift into autopilot for the season.
It may feel counterintuitive, but leaving the yard work to the professionals can even save money in some cases. They operate professional-grade equipment you don’t have to worry about affording, and they buy materials like plants and mulch in bulk for less cost than retail most times.
If you make mistakes that damage your lawn, repair costs add up. Letting a professional service care for your lawn avoids those costly repairs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American homeowners spend an annual average of upwards of 60 hours doing yard work. Not everyone has that kind of time—or the necessary green thumb. That doesn’t mean they don’t want an attractive lawn. Hiring a lawn care company allows the homeowner to spend time on other things without sacrificing a beautiful yard.
It can actually be less expensive to leave lawn care to the professionals, who get it done more efficiently. If a lawn care company bids for your business, you may be able to negotiate a lower price. Many offer discounts for prepayment on long-term (year-long or seasonal) contracts.
More than 25 million Americans hire a lawn care service provider. The professionals have the experience and knowledge to turn your lawn into a showpiece. Armed with proficiency and the right tools, they can save a homeowner money by achieving the desired results more quickly. They understand planting zones and regional differences in climate. They know native plant varieties. Their background ensures that they recognize issues and have the capability of resolving them.
First impressions are critical when you’re trying to sell your home. That’s why curb appeal is vital: Curb appeal can help with a faster sale for more money because it increases your home’s property value and beauty. An attractive landscape contributes to the welcome invitation to come inside. A nicely manicured lawn, strategically placed trees and shrubs, a few flowers, the right lighting, and perhaps appropriate decor showcases your home’s personality.
Lawn Care Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Basic lawn care often seems manageable, so many homeowners take the DIY route. They save money and get a little exercise, some fresh air, and satisfaction if all goes well. For those with a green thumb, landscaping, gardening, and lawn care are enjoyable hobbies. You have total control and choice, adding to the DIY appeal.
However, there can be hidden costs, and if a homeowner isn’t familiar with how to resolve issues or eliminate pests, bigger problems can arise that result in an emergency call to the professionals.
Some homeowners may feel confused, overwhelmed, or frustrated because lawn care is not familiar territory, so to speak. Hiring a professional provides peace of mind. Letting an experienced pro manage lawn care often provides better results, particularly if your yard has any issues in need of diagnosis.
There are numerous benefits in turning to a professional lawn care provider. Hiring a company provides convenience and assurance that however hectic a homeowner’s schedule becomes, the lawn will be taken care of. Lawn care companies bring professional-grade equipment, they maintain the tools, they know the correct products to use. The homeowner doesn’t have the expense of buying tools and equipment, doesn’t have to do maintenance on any of it, and doesn’t have to store it, recharge batteries, or refill gas cans.
If your lawn needs some extra help—fertilizing, weed control, trimming—or you need additional landscaping services, such as tree trimming, mulching, edging, or something else, your lawn care service provider may be able to provide those services. It’s easy to add supplementary services if you already have a relationship or a contract with a full-service company that is familiar with your yard. Just be careful to watch for automatic treatments that can add to your bill but may not be necessary.
Doing yard work may give some people self-satisfaction, but many people are more concerned with the results than the process. For them, time is better spent on other things, and leaving lawn care to the professionals is the best choice.
How to Save Money on Lawn Care Cost
Keeping your yard looking sharp can get expensive: Lawn care cost can perplex the most enthusiastic gardener or landscaper. There are ways to reduce the cost without diminishing the result.
- Negotiate the price with your lawn care provider; inquire about prepayment plans or seasonal contracts that can save money.
- To reduce the need to irrigate, incorporate xeriscaping by choosing native plants and drought-tolerant plants for success with less watering and maintenance.
- Reduce the size of your lawn by adding patios, decks, or planting beds with low-maintenance native perennial plants.
- Plant perennials (instead of annuals).
- Shop the plant sales in the fall for savings of up to 50 percent.
Questions to Ask About Lawn Care
If you’ve never hired a lawn care service provider before, you may not know what to ask before you decide if they’re the right company for you. For the best results and the most pleasant experience, it’s wise to perform a little due diligence on each prospective company.
- How long have you been in the business? Experience is valuable in lawn care, so you want a company that’s been around a while.
- What kind of experience or expertise do the employees have? Check to see if they have educated, certified professionals leading the team who can create a plan for your lawn and answer your questions.
- What services do you offer, and what is included in your packages? Caveat emptor: Know what you’re buying—and what services will result in extra charges.
- What kinds of products do you use? Whether you want organic products or not, it’s a good idea to know what’s being used and how it’s being applied in order to keep your children, pets, and even your plants safe.
- How is your service different from that of the competition’s? It’s a tough question, but a fair one. They should be able to objectively detail what they offer or do differently, better, or more thoroughly.
Almost one-third of people questioned confess to not knowing how to take care of their lawn. Some of the more commonly asked questions are answered here.
Q. How often should I mow the lawn?
Weekly mowing is common, but it’s more accurate to mow according to the growth of the grass. When it gets more rain or fertilizer, it grows faster and needs to be mowed more frequently.
Different varieties of grass will grow at different rates and in different conditions or climates, but if it’s growing, it needs mowing.
Grass height shouldn’t be less than 2 inches. For tall grass, apply the “one-third rule” that advises against removing more than one-third at a time.
Q. Does frequent mowing thicken grass?
Frequent mowing can thicken your grass if you leave at least 2 inches of length so it can properly photosynthesize for good health. Mowing frequently promotes horizontal growth and thicker roots. Weekly mowing encourages grass to spread and become thicker, creating a lush lawn. Besides being attractive, thick grass has practical benefits; it converts carbon dioxide to oxygen, filters pollutants, and combats erosion.
Q. How do I manage to keep my lawn green during the summer?
If your lawn doesn’t get enough rain through the summer, water deeply, consistently, and early in the day (so the water doesn’t evaporate). If temperatures aren’t excessively high, continue to fertilize. When it’s hot and dry, mowing higher—around 3 to 4 inches—benefits grass by encouraging the roots to go deeper. You can continue to repair brown spots caused by pets and aerate to keep your lawn green.