Whether you have lived in the Hillsborough County area for a while or have just moved into the area from some other part of the country, there’s no doubt that dealing with landscaping has been something you have had to think about. You’ve likely had many questions about trees, watering, appropriate plants and grasses, all of which can be a bit overwhelming.
When you move somewhere like Florida that is so entirely different than other parts of the country, with a completely different climate, there’s going to be a learning curve. The Florida learning curve is just a bit more than many realize, so we wanted to get some basic answers to questions that would be helpful.
Ask The Landscape Experts
We had a lot of questions, so we decided to reach out to Zuzack Lawn Services to get some answers. We were able to arrange a sit-down interview with Michael and Rebecca Zuzack, the owners of the family-run, veteran-owned local landscape and lighting company to get their professional insight into landscaping.
In the interview, we covered everything from palm trees, grasses and ground cover, to maintenance, watering and landscape lighting. We think that you will find the information that these experts provide will be both informative and helpful.
A Guide To Hillsborough County Landscaping
We first started the conversation with Michael and Rebecca by asking them to layout the main elements of a typical landscape project. We wanted to understand some of the main components used in developing an amazing landscape design. Here’s what they gave us:
Landscape Curbing (boarder)
Filler (pine, cypress, red and bark mulch, shells, and rock ground cover) Rock is the most expensive.
Weed Block (fabric)
Professional Experience Statistics
Based on their extensive experience in the Hillsborough County landscaping market, we wanted to get their best estimate on how customers handle their landscaping. Here’s what they said:
20% of homeowners do their own yard maintenance
10% of area homeowners do their own tree trimming and maintenance
What Are The Main Questions Customers Ask About Landscaping?
Whether new residents to Florida or a customer that has lived here for some time, they often have the same main questions about their landscaping projects. Here are what the Zuzack’s listed as some of the most common questions that customers ask them.
What plants will thrive here in the area?
What irrigation plan do I need for my specific plants and lawn?
What do I need to do to ensure that my plants, grass and trees survive?
How often do my trees need to be trimmed?
What lighting do we need and with what fixtures and what does it cost?
What is the low maintenance options available for my landscaping design so that we don’t have to be out there managing it?
What Are The Popular Palm Trees In This Area?
Michael and Rebecca said that the two most popular palm trees that they install for customers are the Pygmy Robellini Palm and the Queen Palm. They say that they look amazing and do extremely well in our climate, but they can also stay smaller and look great when properly maintained.
Here’s a list of some of the most common and popular palm trees here in Hillsborough County that do well in our environment:
What’s The Biggest Landscaping Need?
What do you believe most homeowner’s in the area need the most that they are not doing in their landscaping?
They said they see a large number of homeowners that are not properly maintaining their palm trees. Since the palm trees are often the largest and most prominent feature in landscape design, it is important to maintain them often so they do not look old, tired and unhealthy. The difference between the look of the palm tree when it is trimmed properly makes a huge difference in the overall look of your home.
Why Do People Not Have Their Palms Trimmed Properly
- They just don’t know: Many people don’t really know tree trimming needs to be done as often as it should, so it is out of sight and out of mind for them.
- The cost: Similar to number one above, many people just think that it is too expensive to have their palm trees properly trimmed and maintained. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. According to the Zuzack’s, their palm trimming averages between $40 and $75.
Two types of palm tree trimming:
It’s important to understand that there are two types of palm trimmings. The typical is done via chainsaw. That is fast and simple. Zuzack more often than not does what is called a “storm cut”, which is done by hand with a knife. This kind of trimming looks distinctively better, does less harm to the tree and has less risk of damaging the health of the tree.
Typical Grass (Sod) In Hillsborough County
There are many types of grass used in landscaping in Hillsborough County, so we wanted to understand what they are and some of the points that people should be aware of when deciding on which type of sod to select.
Bahia (a pasture grass) Lowest end costs.
St. Augustine (turf grass) Mid range cost.
Bermuda (turf grass)
Zoysia (turf grass) More high maintenance and highest cost.
There are significant differences in the type of sod you want to use, depending on whether it will be in full sun or shade. Some type of sod will do well in the sun and others only in the shade. So many times they have to evaluate a customer’s landscape design and use the appropriate sod for the area that is being covered, depending on what the customer wants in the end result.
What’s The Importance Of Irrigation?
In Florida, proper watering and irrigation is crucial to the health and beauty of your yard. The Zuzack’s involve irrigation in nearly every project that they do. Whether it is checking the irrigation system before doing their basic sod job or as a part of the overall design. Sometimes it is finding a fixing a sprinkler head or it might be completely replacing an old faulty system.
Landscaping goes hand and hand with irrigation. In fact, many times they uncover a broken sprinkler in the ground that has caused trees and bushes to die. The homeowner might think that the issue was with the plants or trees or maybe their pet urinating on that part of the lawn, but often there is a fault in the system.
What Does Professional Landscape Lighting Cost?
80% of their customer landscaping estimates include lighting.
When you buy lighting you are paying for and getting technology, not just the product. The technology and the installation and the design of the lighting project are all part of the costs.
They often do a lighting demo to show a customer a live representation of what their new lighting would actually look like. This makes all the difference for the homeowner to be able to see what looks the best and the impact it will have on their landscape. In fact, 75% of the customers that they do a demo for, move forward with them on a lighting program.
There are a lot of people who do lighting in Florida, but there is a big difference between giving light to your yard and professionally designing the lighting in a way that makes an impact. Zuzack Lawn Services understands the lighting element and how to design it in a way that sets it apart from other lighting.
What is the lighting technology today?
Integrated lighting technology that has replaced the older analog, lightbulb technology of the last 50 years. It is integrated circuits with chips and LED lights that are warrantied for up to 20 years, as compared to the older technology with a 2-year warranty. The hardware itself ensures that water, salt, and bugs that compromised the older technology removes the bulb replacement, failure rate and maintenance of the older technology.
The Zuzack’s offer lighting technology that is seamless, self-contained and automated with a photocell that automatically controls the landscape lighting based on sunlight. Then there is another option that has a Bluetooth capability that can be controlled and changed right from your mobile device. And there is also a bulb based technology that they offer that can control each individual bulb, the bulb colors, and their function in realtime from your mobile device. All three of the options that the Zuzack’s offer all run about the same price, but each have their own capabilities and core technology and warrantee. The options are simply endless.
What Does Professional Landscape Design Cost?
On a typical A-Z landscape design project that they do for a customer where they take everything down to blank ground and start over accounts for about 50% of the projects that they do. Many are new to the area and did not like what was left by the previous homeowner had or they purchased a brand new home and do not like the cheap landscaping that the builder included.
An average front yard A-Z landscape design and install project runs about $2,500 – $4,000, including trees, sod, beds, and plants.
Do People Know What They Want For Their Landscaping?
Michael and Rebecca said that in their experience, about 70% of the customers they are working with for their landscape design, simply do not know what they want or need. Thirty percent of their customers have some ideas, but most rely on the experience and expertise of the Zuzack’s to recommend and develop and landscape design that will improve the appearance of the home, within the budget the customer has.
How the landscape design process works
For Zuzack, their customers are approximately 60% new residents for Florida and 40% existing homeowners in the area. Their process is designed to make it easy on both groups and ensure that they get the information that they need and can make an informed decision. This is how they described their process
- The customer calls to inquire about deck lighting, yard landscaping, tree maintenance or landscape lighting.
- They have a discussion about their needs and schedule a time for a free consultation.
- They attend the appointment at the customers’ location and review what they have and the goals that they want to achieve with their landscape, lighting, trees, etc.
- They work up an estimate/bid for the customer and upon approval schedule the work.
Four Landscape Tips That You Need To Know
The last question that we asked the Zuzack’s was to give you the top tips or pieces of information that would be helpful to the readers of the article. The most important things that you need to know or that you might not be aware of. Here are their top tips that they wanted to be sure that you thought about:
Stay on top of weed control. Both sod and beds. You need to stay on top of weed, disease and insect preventative maintenance. The Zuzack’s refer their clients to the proper provider for these services.
Maintain your trees. Keep them trimmed and maintained. The more overgrown they are, the more expensive it is to have them trimmed. Stay on top of the maintenance to avoid insect and disease infestation that can kill the palm trees.
Proper watering practices. Knowing what kind of plants, trees, and sod that you have and the amount and frequency of irrigation that they require is important. Improperly watering your landscape will cost you way more in water and disease and the replacing of landscape plants. They ensure that the watering is set up properly for the landscape design that is in place.
Know your lawn. Your lawn will only do as well as your neighbor. Grass, by nature, is invasive, so you need to coordinate your lawn design with that of your neighbors. If you put in a different type of sod than what your neighbor has, you will end up having their grass in your lawn. Knowing and designing the right lawn is important.
Here is the contact information to get in touch with Zuzack Lawn Services with any questions or requests for a bid.