Get Quotes from Top Lawn Care Companies in Washington Dc, DC

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Lawn Care Company in Washington, D.C.

Lawn care in the DC area can be somewhat tricky. Allowing your grass to grow beyond eight inches high, failing to cut certain types of weeds and vegetation after seven days of growth, or leaving your lawn untidy and unsanitary can attract a fine of $500 or more, as well as other sanctions. A professional lawn care company can save you the hassle of ensuring that your lawn is consistently maintained, preserve the health and appeal of your landscaping, and even ultimately raise the value of your home by as much as 12 percent!

However, not every lawn care company that operates in Washington D.C. has the necessary qualifications, tools, and expertise to implement a proper lawn care program for your home. To ensure that you end up with lawn care professionals best suited to consistently meet your unique lawn care and maintenance needs and preferences, always ask the following questions before hiring any lawn care company in the district:

How Long Have You Been in the Lawn Care Business in Washington D.C.?

Finding out how long your preferred landscapers have been in business is a key step to take in ensuring that you retain the services of suitable lawn care professionals in Washington D.C. Complaints arising from unsatisfactory, shoddy, or misrepresented professional services and outright home improvement scams typically account for a large number of the consumer complaints filed in the D.C. area. It is estimated that over 2,500 consumer complaints were filed by DC residents in 2021 alone – nearly 70 percent higher than the total number of complaints filed in the previous two years.

By hiring landscapers that have been in business for at least a year or two and also have a good local reputation, you effectively increase your chances of receiving satisfactory lawn care services and also protect yourself from scams. Note that you should always do your due diligence on these landscapers before reaching any agreements with them. You can do this by asking them to provide you with references to vouch for their services, checking these references, and also looking up third-party reviews and testimonials on them via platforms like Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, and Google Review.

Another advantage of hiring landscapers who have a lengthy and successful business history is that they are usually able to expertly factor in variables like local soil and climate conditions when implementing your lawn care program. This way, you can be certain that any flowers and grasses planted on your lawn will be suited to its unique conditions and characteristics. Some common native plants and grasses that typically flourish in Washington D.C. lawns include:

  • Arrowwood viburnum
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Tall fescue
  • Swamp milkweed
  • Winterberry holly
  • Wild columbine
  • Fine fescue
  • Passionflower
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Partridge berry
  • Virginia sweetspire
  • Coneflower
  • Giant sunflower

Do You Hold Any Professional Qualifications Relevant to Lawn Care?

Hiring lawn care professionals that hold relevant licenses or certifications goes a long way in ensuring the success of your lawn care project, as these credentials are usually an attestation to the lawn care professionals' experience and competence in specified areas of landscaping. Note that lawn care professionals do not generally require any occupational or professional licenses to perform routine services in Washington D.C. However, per local regulations, these lawn care professionals must be licensed and certified by the DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) if they wish to include pesticide application among these services.

Interested lawn care professionals that wish to obtain DOEE-issued licenses and certifications may do so by completing and submitting Preliminary Application Forms ES-774 and 775 to the department's Pesticide Program at:

Government of the District of Columbia
Department of Energy and Environment
Toxic Substance Division/Hazardous Materials Branch
Pesticide Program
1200 First Street N.E.
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20022

Applicants are typically offered the option of obtaining the requested licenses and certifications via examination or reciprocity. Depending on the option selected, these applicants will be required to provide documentation like:

  • Proof of acceptable pesticide-related educational qualifications or work experience
  • A copy of a valid pesticide applicator's license obtained from an appropriate regulatory agency in another state or jurisdiction

Once all necessary documentation has been submitted, reviewed, and approved by the DOEE, applicants will be mailed department-stamped basic business license application forms for pesticide operator and certified pesticide applicator licenses. These stamped forms must be subsequently completed and submitted to the Business Service Division of the DC Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP) at:

1104 4th Street SW
Washington, DC 20024
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays

Note that additional documentation may be requested at this stage. These usually include:

  • A certificate of occupancy
  • Proof of compliance with local tax requirements
  • Proof of adequate liability insurance coverage

Once this step has been completed and the requested licenses obtained, applicants are expected to return to the DOEE and arrange for a department-issued photo ID, which must be carried at all times during pesticide application activities. Inquiries regarding the DOEE's pesticide licensing and certification process can be directed to the department's Pesticide Program at (202) 535-2600. It is important to note that applying pesticides in Washington D.C. without proper licensing and certification is considered unlawful and carries a fine of $1,000, as well as other district-imposed sanctions.

You should always confirm that the lawn care professionals you intend to hire have been properly licensed and certified to apply pesticides if your lawn care program will include this service. You can do this by calling the DOEE at (202) 535-2600 or by using the Pesticide Business/Applicator Search platform that it provides for this purpose.

It is also a good idea to look out for other voluntarily obtained certifications that the lawn care professionals may hold in relevant lawn care-related fields like landscape irrigation, organic farming, and arboriculture. These voluntary certifications are typically obtained from local and national organizations and trade associations like:

  • The Landscape Contractors Association of MD-DC-VA
  • The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS)
  • The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP)
  • The Irrigation Association (IA)
  • The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)

Note that you should never just automatically take claims of voluntary certification at face value. Request proof of this from the lawn care professional and authenticate this proof with the appropriate certifying organization.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Lawn Care Companies in the City?

It is important to find out how much your preferred lawn care companies charge for their services, and agree on these prices, when looking for suitable lawn care services in Washington D.C. Lawn care professionals in the district often use one or a combination of the following fee structures when charging for their services:

  • Hourly Fee Structure: this fee structure involves the lawn care professional charging for the total amount of time spent working on the client's lawn. Hourly rates are usually discussed and agreed on before any actual work commences, and they typically range from $25 - $70 per hour
  • Fixed/Flat Fee Structure: this fee structure involves the lawn care professional charging a fixed fee for each service they provide or for a range of agreed-on services. These fixed fees are usually determined by the nature and scope of the services that are to be rendered and can range from $50 - $1,0000 per service
  • Square Footage Fee Structure: this fee structure involves the lawn care professional charging for the total size of the lawn area that is worked on. Square footage lawn care fees in the district typically range from $4 - $12 per square foot

Note that, regardless of the fee structure used to calculate your lawn care charges, the total cost of your required services will be influenced by certain key factors, namely:

  • The nature and scope of requested services
  • The size of your lawn
  • The complexity and labor intensity of the lawn care services
  • The frequency of the required services
  • The lawn care professional's local reputation and level of experience
  • Your location within the district
  • Your current lawn conditions

To this end, it is always a good idea to get and compare cost estimates for your lawn care services from up to three different lawn care companies. This helps you:

  • Get a fair idea of the current market rates for your required services
  • Spot outrageously priced quotes and bids
  • Protect yourself from unscrupulous lawn care companies

Lawn care contractors in Washington D.C. earn an average wage of $38,190 every year. The list below compares the average wages earned by these contractors per hour against the average hourly wages of lawn care contractors in other locations across the United States:

Washington D.C. Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Baltimore Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Arlington Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Richmond Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Philadelphia Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
New York City Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Chicago Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Houston Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Los Angeles Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Phoenix Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is Included in Your Lawn Care Program?

During your search for suitable lawn care services in Washington D.C., you may come across lawn care companies that try to sell you inexpensive lawn care programs to get you to sign up with them. However, in many cases, these lawn care programs are insufficient for proper lawn care maintenance, and more often than not, you end up paying for more services than were initially offered. As such, it is always a good idea to find out the exact types of services that a lawn care professional is equipped to offer, as well as the scope of services that will be included in your lawn care program, before signing any contracts with them.

Some common lawn care services that are usually offered by lawn care professionals in the DC area include:

  • Lawn mowing
  • Shrub, tree, and flower planting
  • Shrub and hedge trimming
  • Tree trimming and pruning
  • Customized weed control
  • Lawn fertilization
  • Lawn seeding
  • Lawn aeration
  • Pest control
  • Mulching and composting
  • Leaf blowing and garden cleanup
  • Artificial turf installation
  • Turf disease treatment and control
  • Landscape design
  • Sprinkler system installation

These services are typically offered in two types of packages, namely:

  • Basic lawn care services
  • Full-service lawn care and maintenance

Basic lawn care services generally involve services that focus on the lawn's appearance and aesthetical appeal, and they do not pay attention to or improve its overall health. Examples of these services include lawn mowing, leaf blowing and garden cleanup, and shrub and hedge trimming. On the other hand, full-service lawn care and maintenance services focus on the lawn's appearance and aesthetic appeal, and also take steps to improve its overall health. Thus, full-service lawn care packages typically include services like customized weed control, lawn fertilization, mulching, tree pruning, and turf disease treatment, in addition to other basic lawn care services.

Always confirm the type of lawn care package that you will be receiving from your lawn care company, as well as the complete scope of the services that will be included in this package, and the frequency of these services. Make sure that you are given a written contract that describes all these and also includes the cost of the lawn care program, and insist on getting this contract before any work is started on your lawn.

Cost estimates for lawn care services that are routinely offered as part of lawn care programs by reputable Washington D.C lawn care companies are listed below:

Lawn mowing & maintenance
$30 - $65 per visit
Lawn fertilization
$80 - $150 per application
$50 - $150
Lawn aeration
$50 - $250
Lawn seeding
$350 – $1,000
$0.10 - $0.30 per square foot
Leaf removal
$55 - $300
Sod installation
$0.85 - $1.70 per square foot
$50 - $100 per hour
Sprinkler system installation
$2,000 - $4,200
Hedge/Shrub trimming
$50 - $80 per hour
Tree trimming/pruning
$300 - $750
Garden cleanup and debris removal
$150 - $400
Landscape design
$90 - $105 per hour
Landscape installation
$40 - $60 per hour (labor only)
Retaining wall installation
$1,000 - $4,000

Do You Provide Organic Lawn Care Services?

If you are concerned about the environmental implications of pesticide use, then you should consider looking out for lawn care companies that offer organic lawn care services. This option should also be considered if you have young children or pets that play on your lawn a lot. Organic lawn care forgoes the use of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other similar chemicals. Instead, it utilizes substances like worm castings, seaweed, potash, manure, bone char, and other organic resources, naturally occurring materials, and compounds that are carbon-based and derived from plants or animals, for lawn care and maintenance. This, in turn, limits the exposure of children and pets to potentially injurious lawn care chemicals, reduces the number of chemicals released into the atmosphere, and promotes a chemical-free outdoor environment.

However, it should be noted that, due to its labor intensity, it typically costs more to implement organic lawn care programs when compared with the cost of implementing conventional lawn care programs. Nonetheless, these organic lawn care programs make up for their relatively high cost by providing lawn owners with several benefits, which include:

  • Improved root growth
  • Healthier lawns
  • Revitalized lawn ecosystems
  • No danger of over application
  • Safer environments for children and pets
  • Reduced water and soil pollution
  • Lessened soil vulnerability to pests and diseases
  • Enhanced lawn photosynthesis process
  • Long-term money saving on lawn care products

Do You Offer a Warranty for Plants Installed?

A crucial aspect to take into account while searching for suitable lawn care services in Washington D.C. is whether or not you will be given a warranty for the services provided. This should be taken into consideration in particular if these services involve the installation or planting of sod, seedlings, or flowers on your lawn. These warranties provide you with a measure of confidence that your lawn care services were provided competently, and that any seeds, plants, or flowers the lawn care professional plants or installs on your lawn will grow and flourish as intended.

As such, consider it a red flag if your intended lawn care company seems reluctant to offer you a warranty for their services or flat-out refuses to do so, and strike them off your list of potential hires.

Note that the lawn care company or professional who is offering the warranty usually determines its specific terms, conditions, and scope of coverage. However, plant warranties offered by most lawn care companies in the DC area are usually valid for up to a year and come with certain guidelines that the lawn owner must adhere to during this validity period, such as:

  • The types of fertilizers to be used
  • Watering schedules for newly planted flowers and seedlings
  • Acceptable heights and techniques for mowing installed sod and grasses

These plant warranties also typically include a list of circumstances in which they will not offer any protection. These circumstances usually include the following:

  • Situations where the plants and flowers do not grow as intended because the lawn owner fails to provide them with adequate care and upkeep
  • Situations where the plants and flowers are damaged by the lawn owner's kids, or pets
  • Situations where the plants and flowers are damaged by natural disasters or acts of vandalism

As such, it is always in your best interest to properly review any warranties that you are offered and familiarize yourself with their specific terms and conditions, to enable you to take necessary actions to prevent them from being voided.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Lawn Care Companies in the City?

Lawn care companies that operate in Washington D.C. are statutorily required to carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees. Lawn care companies and professionals that wish to offer pesticide application services in the district are also required to carry liability insurance of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence for bodily injury, and $15,000 per occurrence and $30,000 aggregate for property damage.

It is always advisable to hire lawn care companies that are adequately insured, regardless of the nature and scope of your required lawn care services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 202 fatal and 12,040 nonfatal were recorded among lawn care professionals in 2020 alone. Retaining the services of an uninsured lawn care company makes you liable for any injuries and property damage that may occur during, or as a direct result of the implementation of your lawn care program.

As such, always request proof of insurance from any lawn care company or professional that you plan to hire, and make sure that you validate this proof before they begin any work on your lawn. Also, confirm that the lawn care company's insurance limits can adequately cover the scope of your project, especially third-party injuries and property damage.

You can get more information on the district-mandated insurance requirements for lawn care companies and professionals that operate in Washington D.C. by contacting the DC Office of Workers Compensation at (202) 671-1000. Inquiries concerning the insurance requirements for lawn care professionals that apply pesticides can also be directed to the DC Department of Energy and Environment at (202) 535-2600.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Lawn Care Service in Washington D.C.

Complaints concerning bad lawn care services and other similar issues in Washington D.C. can be filed with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (OAG).

In 2021, the OAG received more than 2,500 annual consumer complaints for the first time, with this figure representing a 70 percent jump in the number of complaints it had received in the span of two years. Even though this office routinely takes steps to curb unfair business practices and scam activities, con artists and fraudulent lawn care companies often still prey on unsuspecting homeowners through actions like:

  • Quoting prices for organic lawn care services, only to use pesticides and other synthetic chemicals behind the client's back
  • Using cheap, usually ineffective lawn care packages to entice clients
  • Offering low initial rates to clients, and then jacking up their prices once they get hired or including hidden fees and unnecessary services in their contracts
  • Using high-pressure sales techniques to persuade clients to sign up for unnecessary services
  • Convincing customers to forego written contracts or providing contracts with malicious clauses
  • Requesting upfront payment and disappearing without providing the necessary lawn care services or delivering subpar work

In light of this, it is crucial to take certain precautions when searching for lawn care services in the DC area to ensure that you retain the services of a legitimate and reliable lawn care professional. These precautions include:

  • Never hire any landscaper that shows up at your home unsolicited to offer lawn care services
  • Always ask trusted friends and relatives for referrals to reputable lawn care professionals. You can also get recommendations to reliable lawn care professionals near you from websites like the Better Business Bureau
  • Compare cost estimates from at least three different lawn care companies before making your final hiring choice
  • Look out for professional qualifications and credentials and always verify their validity. If your lawn care program will involve the application of pesticides, always confirm that your lawn care professionals have been aptly licensed and certified to provide this service
  • Confirm that the lawn care company you intend to hire is properly insured
  • Be wary of lawn care companies that cannot provide you with at least three local references. Always check these references, and also look up additional reviews and testimonials on the lawn care company online
  • Be wary of lawn care companies that insist on providing final quotes and prices for the services you require without first inspecting your lawn
  • Insist on getting a well-detailed contract for the agreed-on lawn care services before any work commences. Review this contract, and any other documents that you are given, thoroughly before signing it
  • Never make full payments for your lawn care services upfront and be wary of lawn care companies that ask you to do this. Limit upfront payments to no more than 30 percent of the total cost of the requested services and avoid cash transactions
  • Make sure that you are satisfied with the work done before making your final payments

You can file complaints against bad lawn care companies and unsatisfactory lawn care services in Washington D.C. with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia through any of the following methods:

  • By submitting a complaint online
  • By calling (202) 442-9828
  • By texting the word "complaint" to (202) 738-5212 and following the subsequent prompts
  • Via email

Complaints concerning unlicensed pesticide applications and other pesticide-related matters can also be filed with the DC Department of Energy and Environment by calling (202) 535-2600 or by submitting a complaint to this department online via the DC311 portal.