The arrival of summer could be presenting the perfect opportunity for you to pursue a side hustle during the season. Take advantage of your hobbies and skills at home to offer services to other people that can earn you a few (or a lot of) extra dollars.
Landscaping is a service that many households need in the summer. People will want to step out of their homes and spend time lounging in their gardens, so someone has to take care of the tending on their behalf, especially with the unique gardening challenges brought on by the hot temperatures.
Before beginning to offer your gardening services, you need to be prepared for the kinds of situations you will face.
Common Challenges in Summer Landscaping
Just because you do a pretty good job of landscaping your home, it doesn’t mean that other people’s lawns will be the same. Their requests and demands may also not always be the wisest for their lawns. These are some areas to check in your inspections.
1. Proper Grass Care
Clients may suggest trimming the grass as short as you can so that it will require minimal maintenance as time passes. However, this could work against the health of the grass.
Mow the grass a little higher during the season—around three or so inches. The height helps the grass grow deeper roots and have better access to water. The blades of grass are also able to block the sun more when they are taller, helping the grass retain water better.
Use landscaping products such as fertilizers to keep the grass healthy and vibrant. Be careful of over-fertilizing, as this can burn the grass and make it harder to tend to.
2. Weed Removal
Weeds are a struggle for everyone, even the gardening expert. When your services are required for a weed issue, be sure to get to the bottom of the issue quickly and thoroughly to prevent damage to the homeowner’s crops and plants.
When they have been left to grow for too long, weeds go to seed, making it vastly easier for them to multiply. If the lawn you visit has already had seed heads appear, use pruning shears to cut seed heads and their flowers so as not to disturb the growth of other plants.
After cleaning up, remember to collect all seed heads and dispose of them immediately! This keeps you from accidentally spreading seeds to other parts of the garden.
3. Planting Appropriate Crops
There are occasions when a client gives you free rein on transforming a drab garden into one that is full of life. When considering the crops to plant, make sure the ones you choose are appropriate for the warmer temperatures of the summer.
There are cool-season vegetables that withstand the summer weather, but their quality is significantly lower due to the heat. Leafy greens also “bolt” because of the heat, which means they rapidly form seeds and flowers to survive.
If you are unsure about the vegetables that you should plant, Penn State Extension has a helpful classification that differentiates various vegetables that are for the cool or warm season.
4. Watering the Right Way at the Right Time
When met with a garden that resembles a barren land, the instinct is to just wash it down with loads of water without a strategy. The task of watering plants should not be taken lightly.
Go early in the morning or in the evening when you have to water someone else’s garden. The later in the afternoon you do so, the more water the plants lose to evaporation because of the heat. Make sure to water deeply, too, making sure that the watering time reaches deep into the soil.
5. Pesky Summer Pests
The summer temperatures bring with them garden pests that can be a nuisance in the garden or even destroy some plants. You can counteract pests in your client’s garden with “good” bugs that facilitate better growth for the garden. These beneficial insects can assist with the pollination and elimination of pests.
Another way is to spray your plants with neem oil. No matter what insecticide or pesticide you prefer, always double-check if they are safe for your crops, your pets, and the people in the household.
One thing to expect for your summer side hustle is the presence of competition. Don’t skimp on marketing yourself to family and friends even going online to advertise your services.
Check your competitors’ pricing model, too. This allows you to price competitively and be able to gain customers more easily during your summer landscaping business.