DIY Lawn Care vs. Professional: Is it Worth Hiring a Lawn Service in Northern Virginia?

Written By: Todd Thomasson

Your lawn is a pretty important part of your overall outdoor appearance. It welcomes you outside with its thick, green appeal. A great lawn can even become the neighborhood gold standard.

You know you want to keep your lawn looking healthy, but there are quite a few services necessary to get your lawn to look that good. This appearance certainly doesn’t happen by chance.

Read The Ultimate Guide to Controlling Lawn Weeds

You might not know all of the services that lead to that desirable lawn you crave. In fact, you might even be thinking you could just stop at the local home improvement store and purchase some DIY lawn care products – maybe fertilizers and some weed control – and you’ll be good to go.

Not so fast. While you may be confused as to exactly what services your lawn needs, you certainly don’t want to see your lawn become full of diseases or weeds that could have been avoided. You just want to feel certain you’re doing the right thing and making the right choices for your lawn’s best health.

While you ponder what your lawn needs, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of DIY lawn care vs. professional lawn care in Northern Virginia.

First, Let’s Talk About Lawn Fertilizer

First of all, you might be wondering why lawns need fertilizer. Like many folks, you might even think that lawns should be able to make it on their own.

Like plants, lawns need water, sunlight, and nutrients to grow. As time goes on, lawns filter nutrients out of the soil through the sunlight and water that come in. This process leaves your lawn nutrient-deficient.

lawn care technician pouring granular fertilizer in spreader

On top of that, lawns are usually planted in built-up lands or landscapes at new developments. This soil has been churned up so much that it lacks the proper nutrients to grow. Lawns that don’t receive regular nutrients, unfortunately, become less resistant to weed and disease infestations.

This is why these lawns could use regular fertilizer applications that are done properly, whether they happen through DIY lawn care or professional lawn care.

lawn care technician spreads granular fertilizer

Lawn soil needs certain nutrients, sure, but not every lawn needs the same nutrients. This is why a soil test can tell you specifically what your soil is lacking and help aid you in choosing a fertilizer to best match those needs.

DIY Lawn Care Advantages & Disadvantages

Now that you have a better understanding of lawn care fertilization, you might think you can just pick up a bag of fertilizer from a hardware or home improvement store shelf and get to work.

But there’s more you need to know before you start. Here are some DIY lawn care pros and cons.

DIY Lawn Care Advantage: Learn a New Skill

Educating yourself on the proper steps necessary for lawn fertilization takes a bit of time and energy.

It starts with buying the right products for the task. After conducting a soil test and figuring out your lawn’s needs, you can have a better sense of what fertilizer mix would be best to use. Fertilizers include nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, and the amounts of each are listed on the bag’s label. There are different fertilizers with different mixes of each. The soil test can give you insight into which mix might be best for your lawn.


When it comes time to apply a granular fertilizer, you must use a lawn care spreader when you’re performing DIY lawn care. And you need to calibrate the spreader before every fertilizer application. Then, during application, you have to use some proper techniques, such as a consistent and steady walking speed and even passes across the lawn. All of these steps ensure you don’t overapply products or do so unevenly. With fertilizer, more is never better.

If you want to control weeds on your lawn, then you need to make another application, and this one will vary whether it’s granular or liquid. To take care of weeds, you have to identify the weeds you’re fighting and then choose the right product to eliminate it. You must apply weed control products at the right time to ensure control. Some weeds are best battled pre-emergently – or before they emerge from the ground – and others are ideally controlled post-emergently or when you can already see them in the lawn.

lawn care technician spreads granular fertilizer

Learning all of these nuances to DIY lawn care is not simple. It takes lawn care technicians years to master the skills and obtain the necessary licensing and certifications. Comprehending Virginia’s state laws when it comes to proper lawn care applications is also crucial, so you aren’t breaking any laws. You also want to remain educated on best practices to ensure you’re doing everything right.

The perk is that learning a new skill can make you feel pretty good, especially after you've done a great job and your lawn looks good.

DIY Lawn Care Advantage: Time Outside

Performing proper DIY lawn care in Northern Virginia can certainly get you outside, enjoying the sunshine and the fresh, sweet air.

As you walk across your lawn, inspecting it for weeds, bare spots, and other blemishes, you’ll be getting a good outdoor warm-up. Then, as you calibrate your spreader and apply lawn care products, you’ll get some great exercise.

lawn care technician spot spraying weeds

Since you’ll be doing this in summer, you may be tempted to wear a t-shirt and shorts, but it’s much more appropriate to wear long sleeves, long pants, and gloves when you’re doing your own lawn care.

DIY Lawn Care Disadvantage: Lack of Savings

The question of whether or not DIY lawn care is less expensive than professional lawn care comes up quite a bit. Many people choose to perform lawn care services themselves because they think it will save them money.

Unfortunately, the costs do add up. First, you have to purchase the proper equipment and products to do the job. Then you have to be able to store them correctly so you don’t waste products that you just paid good money for. Then if you have to reapply products that you didn’t put down correctly the first time, you will have to spend more money on fresh products. You also have to spend money maintaining your equipment to ensure it operates smoothly each time.

lawn care technician spreads fertilizer

Finally, your time is something you shouldn’t take for granted since it’s a large part of your total costs. What would you pay yourself per hour? Your time performing DIY lawn care might be better spent at work, on a hobby, or even enjoying time with family.

Are Lawn Care Services Worth the Cost?

On the fence about hiring a professional to take care of your lawn care needs? Then let’s review the value you may get from choosing the professional option.

truck van crew spray lawn trees-1

Lawn care is a science. It’s not just applying random products or taking guesses. That’s why it starts with a soil test to truly find out what your soil and lawn needs. For instance, if your pH is low, your lawn may not be able to take up fertilizer like it should. Adding lime to raise your pH could make a huge difference in your lawn’s health and appearance. These are things your lawn care professional knows, but something you’d have to figure out while performing DIY lawn care.

As we mentioned before, timing your product applications is vital to getting good results. Throughout the year – from early spring to early winter – you might go through more than a dozen lawn care treatments. Each of those must be timed at incredibly specific intervals. While home improvement stores might provide you with some guidance, they usually just provide a generic formula to follow that might involve fewer applications and something your lawn might not even need.

lawn care technician spreading fertilizer

Also, lawn care professionals do this work all day, every day, while your time is limited. This means you might be able to squeeze it in during a weekend or evening, but you might have some weather challenges or life distractions. Before you know it, you’ve missed your application window. Now what do you do? Professionals have you on a schedule so this never gets missed

Lawn care professionals also use better products – things you can’t find in home improvement stores. They are commercial-grade products that they are trained to use properly and tested to receive a license to even touch them. Better products combined with someone with better training will naturally give you better results.

Your Lawn Investment is Worth Professional Care

Now that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of DIY lawn care vs. professional lawn care services, you are primed to make a more confident choice – one that is best for you.

Embracing professional lawn care in Northern Virginia means you are all-in for a proactive approach to caring for your lawn, which gives your home curb appeal. This way, you also avoid any problems or stresses that can happen when you have to remember your lawn’s needs in addition to those of your family and your home.

Still confused on what decision makes the most sense for you? Live in the Purcellville, Waterford, or Round Hill, VA area? Give Turf’s Up a call. We want to help you make the most informed and best decision for you. We are happy to take the time to help you compare programs and costs so you know what a professional lawn care program includes.

Ready to learn why Turf’s Up could be your totally awesome choice for professional lawn care services in Northern Virginia? We’re stoked to learn more about you and help you have the best lawn in the neighborhood. Get started today with a free quote. Together, we can prepare a customized plan that is perfect for you and your lawn.lawn care service comparison

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