It still doesn’t feel like it, even here in late April, but it is officially spring, the season of rebirth. This is the time of year we all look forward to – in theory, it’s when all the snow vanishes and the buds sprout and the air warms up.
It’s finally starting to happen around here, and in no time we’ll enjoy that true feeling of spring every day. And when it does, most of us will want to head outside.
After a long winter and an extended mud season that we’re still trying to transition out of, the front and back yards are probably in fairly rough shape at this point. Before being able to get out and enjoy the outdoors, it’s important to get everything cleaned up and ready for plenty of use for months to come.
We wanted to get some expert advice on this, so we turned to the 2017 Cappies winners – after all, it is Cappies voting season – and found that there was a three-way tie for the Best Landscaper category: Tasker Landscaping, Brochu Nurseries & Landscaping and Thomson Lawn Care & Irrigation. Tasker is in Loudon, but the other two are in Concord, so we checked in with both to find out what kinds of things they can do to help improve your yard.
While there are some standard, basic things that everybody can and should do on their own, such as raking, sweeping, spraying things down with a hose and picking up debris, there are other projects that you’d be wise to bring in a professional for.
If you think your whole yard is pretty bland and you want something completely different, Brochu Nurseries & Landscaping should be at the top of your list of places to call. At Brochu, they deal with “anything to do with outside,” owner Len Brochu said.
This means if you want a stone patio or walkway, or a granite staircase, or a nice mulch bed, or a new fire pit, you can get it done by Brochu.
“We’re a design-build,” Brochu said. “We can supply and do everything.”
This makes for a simple, streamlined process for the customer. Rather than needing a designer, a supplier and an installer, Brochu handles all of those things on their own.
“Our main business is construction, installation,” Brochu said, “and the garden center selling plants.”
Whether you’re looking to have a whole new patio and fire pit installed or you just want a few new plants and shrubs to spice up the yard, they can handle it. Apart from plants, Brochu also sells mulch, soil, stone, fertilizer and more, so there’s really no end to what you can do to add some pop.
If you have your own pickup truck or dump truck, you can pull in and get loaded up and head off on your own. If not, they can deliver up to 28 yards to your house.
They also do a “little bit” of maintenance, Brochu said, including spring and fall yard clean-ups as well as plowing in the winter (or in some cases, spring, too). The primary focus, though, is on designing and building from scratch.
“I always say we’re a general contractor for the outdoors,” Brochu said.
One of the trends in landscaping that Brochu said has been popular lately has been outdoor living – outdoor kitchen areas, stone fire pits, patios. For things like that, they’ll come to your property and give you a free estimate. Since every yard and situation is a little different, they need to come out in person and get a good look at the yard or project area.
The same goes for larger tree installation, which is another specialty at Brochu. They grow a lot of trees right on their property, and they grow them big, which requires special equipment to deal with.
For small plantings, people can bring in pictures of their yards and someone at the garden center can take a look and recommend which plants will work in which areas.
At this time of year, everybody wants their work done right away so they can get outside and use their space as soon as possible. Because of this, there tends to be a little backlog of work at the beginning of the season. Anyone who wants some work done can feel free to contact Brochu at 224-4350, but just know that it might be a little bit before it can get done.
“Right now, I’m a week to two out as far as going to look at jobs,” Brochu said. “As far as doing projects, we’re already three to four weeks on the waiting list to get the work done.”
For more information, go to brochunursery.com.
At Thomson Lawn Care & Irrigation, maintenance is their bread and butter.
“We do a lot of maintenance – I would say that’s a big part of our business,” owner Doug Thomson said. “We also do a lot of irrigation and hardscapes.”
If Thomson’s name looks familiar, and not for landscaping reasons, it may be because his sons, Dylan and Derek Thomson, rode across the country on bicycles in 2016 to raise money to help Concord High’s then-principal, Gene Connolly, in his fight against ALS. Each of the sons has worked for the company at one point in time, and it’s been a family business since Doug Thomson started it more than 30 years ago.
“We started in maintenance,” he said. Now, “we do anything that deals with landscaping except fertilization.”
They start up in April for the spring season, and right now they’re doing a lot of clean-ups. “Raking, a little pruning – just basic clean-up,” Thomson said. “When that’s done, we start edging all the beds and we’ll start mulching. Right around then the grass starts growing and it starts getting crazy.”
At this point, operations kick into high gear as crews start working on mulching, finish up cleaning and start on the lawn care.
Most of the irrigation work gets started in May. After that, around the middle of the summer is when they get into pruning. When fall comes around they come and clean up the leaves, “and then we say let it snow,” Thomson said.
While there are a lot of similar and related business in the area, Thomson said he’s friendly with most of them and won’t hesitate to refer work to any of his competitors if he thinks it’s for the best. Like Brochu, Thomson is very busy right now, so if they can’t fit you in around your schedule, they will find someone who can. The point is not to hesitate to contact Thomson Lawn Care at 226-2783 to talk about setting something up.
They’re mostly in the business of establishing accounts, customers who will want work done on a somewhat regular basis. That said, Thomson said he’s always had a hard time saying no in the past, so if you really only have one project you want done, you can get in touch and see if it makes sense for both parties.
For more information, go to thomsonlawncare.com.