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Best Lawn Care Service Companies 2023

To ensure that the lawn care service you choose can offer one-stop shopping and provide care for all of your yard's needs, match your requirements with the following criteria.

Types of Lawn Care Services

Every yard is unique. Lawn care services typically provide everything a yard needs in a particular area or locality. However, before signing anything, double-check to ensure that who you hire is prepared to take on all of the normal tasks as well as any special care that your lawn may encounter.

Service Area

Besides the fact that you likely won't have the option to hire a company that doesn't provide service in your area, choosing a lawn care service that knows your location well can be highly beneficial. Regionally, where you live determines the weather and environmental conditions that affect the health of your yard.

Finding a company that knows regional climate patterns and is familiar with local soil types can make investing in your lawn as productive as possible.

Quotes and Pricing

Before hiring any service professional to work in or around your home, getting at least three quotes is recommended. Service companies know that they're directly competing for your business with other local companies, so there's no reason to feel pressured to hire someone just because the representative offers you a price quote. It's their job.

When you receive a price quote, ensure that you understand what prices correlate to which services. Ask your representative to clear up any missing information and explain what's not included in your contract and what events could trigger additional charges. As always, avoid working with any companies that offer a price estimate that looks too good to be true.

Guarantee of Work

Lawn care is an investment in your home. As such, hiring a professional company to perform professional care costs real money. Before hiring a lawn care service, ensure that it provides a satisfaction guarantee to protect your investment and understand what's included in the policy.

Reviews and Ratings

Online reviews and ratings are an excellent source of information about lawn care service providers. However, rating systems are seldom perfect representations. To understand what to expect when you hire a lawn care company, read some of the good and bad reviews to gain some insight into the company's ability to resolve issues when they appear.

A Single Pebble Can Shatter Your Patio Door: How To Avoid Breaking Glass (and Paying Big Money) With Your Lawn Mowers, Weed Whackers

© Laura Johnston/cleveland.Com/TNS (Photo by Laura Johnston)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Summer is nearly here, which means it's also landscaping season. But as you're weed-whacking and mowing to perfect your yard, you run the risk of flinging gravel and debris at your house, which could result in broken windows or additional damage – costing hundreds of dollars.

If this has happened to you already, you're not alone. Broken glass and windows caused by errant landscaping – either by professionals or homeowners themselves – is an increasingly common and costly trend. Repairs run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000 depending on several factors, including glass square footage and labor costs.

William Eppich, owner of Advance Glass Sales and Service in Lakewood, said he usually only receives one to two calls each year about broken glass caused by landscaping accidents, calling it a "freak thing." However, he's noticed a recent uptick.

"I've gotten four calls in the last two weeks, and it's about 50/50 whether the homeowner kicked up the stone and broke the glass or a landscaper was responsible for it," Eppich said. He said he's received two calls from customers in Rocky River, and one each in Pepper Pike and Fairview Park.

A representative for Glass Doctor of Cleveland, meanwhile, said they've also experienced an increase in customers dealing with a shattered window all thanks to a pesky pebble.

"We've received more and more calls about it," said a representative for Glass Doctor, who did not want to be named. "I can't compare it to last year, but I have gotten a lot of calls this past Tuesday and Monday." She said Glass Doctor of Cleveland received six calls about these incidents on Tuesday alone.

The repairs aren't an overnight fix, either.

Patio doors, for example, have different legal requirements than windows that are 18 inches or higher above the floor, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Patio doors require heat-treated safety glass, per the CPSC, while most home windows are made of annealed glass that hasn't been heat-strengthened.

"If it's a patio door, it has to be tempered glass, it has to be safety glass, so that's going to take up to three to four weeks," Eppich said. "If it is a window that just has annealed glass, it's still something that has to be ordered, and that can take one to two weeks to be completed."

One big question remains: If your window is accidentally broken by professional landscapers, who is liable for the damage and costs associated with the repairs?

"We've always taken care of it, and we haven't gotten insurance involved. With commercial insurance, we're only making claims for big stuff," said Sam Mastroianni, owner of Samson Landscape and Design in Cleveland. "You're the service provider, you should take care of your customer, you're the one that shot the rock at the window."

Glass Doctor of Cleveland agrees, saying the liability falls on the landscaper.

"The landscaper is the one who is paying," the rep said. "Sometimes the customer is the one who calls or texts us for us to do the estimate and the installation, sometimes it's the landscaper. When it's the landscaper, they are a bit difficult to get in contact with for an appointment and payment, so it's best when the customer makes the appointment and they just give us the landscaper's information for payment."

And while it's comforting that many landscapers will resolve the broken glass and windows, it would be even better to avoid the headache altogether.

Mastroianni, with 20 years of experience as owner of Samson Landscape and Design, admits these incidents "can happen to anybody." However, he offers homeowners a few tips to avoid broken glass and windows while doing yardwork, saying "there are definitely measures you can take to avoid it."

  • Clear loose debris from edging areas. "If you have a pea gravel path that you need trimmed along, it's probably not the best idea, so you might want to consider a paver path instead if it's a common problem that objects are getting launched from that path," Mastroianni said.
  • Be mindful of where your weed whacker or lawnmower is positioned in proximity to your home. "The best thing to do is watch which ways the tips of your weed whacker line are shooting and go the other direction so you're not launching stuff towards the house," Mastroianni said. "You've just got to be vigilant of which way you're throwing objects with your string trimmer."
  • Assess the terrain you're working on. "You're going to encounter all kinds of different terrain and different types of paths, so those other types of environmental factors that are already there can be meditated by just watching which way you're throwing objects with your string trimmer alignment," Mastroianni said. "It's as simple as that. The machine is going to be throwing stuff one direction, so just make sure that direction the machine is throwing is not towards your glass."
  • Consider putting in a screen, where applicable. "Put a screen door in for the summer in your front storm door instead of the glass," Mastroianni said. "It's not enough of an issue where I'm going out of my way to mention it to customers to make that change, but put it out to the masses and let them know. Maybe they'll have one less broken window this year."
  • Still, even the most cautious and proactive person can experience accidental broken glass and windows, with Eppich calling these situations "just bad luck."

    ©2023 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit cleveland.Com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

    D.C. Legalized Weed. A Marijuana Delivery Service Was Indicted Anyway.

    Connor Pennington always knew he would start his own business, though he wasn't sure what type. His family recalls how he mused as a teenager about running clothing brands or breaking into the music industry, drawing inspiration from his father, a cafe owner in rural Currituck County, N.C.

    When nearly 65 percent of D.C. Voters approved Initiative 71 in 2014, legalizing the recreational use of Marijuana, the 29-year-old found "what I truly believe is my calling," he said: distributing pot. He named the company Joint Delivery.

    Although he knew marijuana sales were illegal under Federal law, Pennington created a website where customers could place orders, and he had delivery workers fan out daily in bikes or cars. Hoping to create a professional atmosphere, he hired middle managers and a full-time accountant. The company generated at least $4 million in sales from 2017 to 2022, according to court records.

    "I tried out all these services, figuring out what they were lacking in," Pennington said. "I remember I went in for a service, and the guy just hands me it out of the bag with the window cracked this, you know, three inches. And I was like … this is not going to create a good, healthy environment."

    Pennington, who had been a restaurant manager in D.C., saw himself as a pioneer in what he predicted would become a booming market for recreational marijuana in the nation's capital.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Prosecutors saw him as the leader of a runaway criminal enterprise.

    In July 2022, Pennington, two younger brothers he had hired and five Joint Delivery managers were indicted — the first and, so far, only D.C. Marijuana dispensary to face federal prosecution since Initiative 71 passed. In a related case, Pennington's accountant was charged with money laundering.

    The case highlights how the federal prohibition on marijuana distribution creates legal risks for those in D.C. And states that have legalized its use — even in an administration that is more pot-friendly than its predecessor. President Biden has pardoned thousands of low-level marijuana offenders and announced policy moves to end what he called the "failed approach" on federal marijuana enforcement. The District's law, which allows adults to exchange up to one ounce of marijuana as long as "no money, goods, or services" are traded, has spawned a network of shops and delivery services that sell goods such as T-shirts and give customers a marijuana "gift" with their purchase.

    "This is a strange kind of case, because the substance that's involved is legal in many, many states now. It's not in the federal system," U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema said at a hearing May 2. "This disparity has got to get worked out soon because it creates a crazy situation in the law enforcement area."

    The DEA twice raided Joint Delivery's offices in D.C. Last year, finding cash, marijuana and cannabis products, according to the indictment. All nine defendants pleaded guilty to money laundering or conspiring to distribute a dangerous substance and were ordered to forfeit the money they earned.

    But they never set foot in a D.C. Courthouse, and none went to prison.

    The top federal prosecutor in the District, U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, declined to prosecute Joint Delivery and generally does not seek charges against any of the dozens of marijuana "gifting" shops and delivery services in the city, despite occasional police raids, according to U.S. Officials and defense attorneys involved in the Joint Delivery case.

    Instead, all the charges against Pennington and his employees were filed by the U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), led by Jessica D. Aber. Prosecutors said they had jurisdiction mainly because much of the money laundering occurred in Northern Virginia. But legal experts and the judge who handled most of the case said they were puzzled by the move, because the drug distribution that prosecutors described happened in D.C.

    "I don't think this case truly belonged here," Brinkema said at a hearing in Alexandria federal court on Jan. 6, after chiding a prosecutor in Aber's office for seeking a "completely inappropriate" sentence of four years and nine months in prison for one of Pennington's shift managers, Robert Spear, who was 27 years old at the time.

    The judge sentenced all of those indicted to terms of supervised release of two or three years. "It was always amazing to me that the District of Columbia, where this business essentially was, was not interested in the prosecution of this case," Brinkema said at one of the final sentencings.

    A warning to other D.C. Dispensaries

    Most states and D.C. Have medical marijuana programs and nearly half have legalized it for adult recreational use. Virginia has legalized possession but not nonmedical sales. Maryland will allow recreational use starting July 1.

    Aber said in a statement that her office "has no interest in prosecuting individuals who are legitimately following the marijuana regulation laws of the state where they live or operate," but that "when appropriate, we may prosecute illicit, large-scale, interstate marijuana distributors, like JointVentures, who violate federal law." (JointVentures was Joint Delivery's legal name.) She noted that Pennington pleaded guilty to laundering roughly $3.5 million through his enterprise.

    "In short, EDVA will not prosecute those who abide by state marijuana laws but will prosecute individuals on occasion whose massive enterprises violate federal and state law," Aber said.

    Unlike in other jurisdictions that have legalized recreational marijuana for adults, D.C. Has not been able to implement a regulatory framework for cannabis sales because Congress has blocked it from doing so in annual spending riders attached to appropriations bills since 2015. The gifting businesses operate without sales licenses. Pennington said he at first used the gifting model for Joint Delivery but then decided to drop the facade in 2020 "to stay relevant."

    Defense attorneys in the case said Aber's statement suggested that dozens of marijuana dispensaries in the District could now face prosecution in Virginia. The District has seven licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, which are the only businesses that can make sales while fully complying with federal law. Adults over 21 years old may self-certify their applications for a medical marijuana card.

    Pennington admitted he sourced his marijuana from California and Colorado, arranging shipments through the mail or on commercial flights. The operation's accountant, John Robert Fischel, laundered sales revenue mostly through banks in Northern Virginia, directing employees to make deposits under $10,000 to avoid unwanted scrutiny, a practice known as structuring. One of Pennington's shift managers, Nicole Mayorga, admitted she accepted a U.S. Postal Service delivery of a marijuana parcel at her Virginia home in 2021; it was a sting arranged by law enforcement. Prosecutors did not allege that Pennington's delivery workers ventured outside the District to deliver marijuana as part of their jobs.

    The DEA did not respond to questions. A spokeswoman for Graves said prosecutors in D.C., Maryland or Virginia sometimes take cases that involve the other two jurisdictions and did not respond to further questions.

    Federal prosecutors in Virginia at first sought prison sentences of more than four years for two of Pennington's shift managers. They requested six months to one year for four other managers. At one of the final sentencing hearings, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine E. Rumbaugh and David A. Peters sought 18 months in prison for Pennington, arguing in a court filing that he "took advantage of the murkiness of D.C.'s cannabis laws to corrupt the integrity of the banking system, all to enrich himself."

    Brinkema was unmoved, sentencing all of them to time served after they spent one or two days in jail. Pennington was required to forfeit $227,274, "representing the sum involved in the defendant's offense of conviction," according to a court order.

    "Her reactions suggest federal law really needs to catch up," said Alex Kreit, assistant professor and director of the Center on Addiction Law and Policy at Northern Kentucky University's Salmon P. Chase College of Law.

    Robert Mikos, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School, said it was "undisputed that the defendants were violating both state and federal law; as far as I'm aware, that really makes them fair game for federal prosecution." But he added that prosecutors have discretion to choose which cases to pursue and might face criticism for the ones they prioritize.

    "There are thousands of federal criminal statutes out there, and only a small number of U.S. Attorneys spread throughout the country," Mikos said. "They can't prosecute every violation of federal law."

    An attempt at a 'legitimate business'

    Pennington's operation resembled a traditional business, according to court records and the people involved in the case.

    Fischel, who was 57 years old at his sentencing in March, said a 2011 bankruptcy and expenses including pets' medical costs had put his family in a financial bind when a neighbor of his who worked for Pennington made introductions. Fischel became Joint Delivery's chief financial officer in 2018.

    Fischel, who lost his accounting license after pleading guilty to money laundering last year, ran the payroll for Joint Delivery and had employees sign up for health benefits. He prepared tax returns and sales-and-use tax payments for D.C. And arranged a 401(k) retirement plan for the company.

    Shift manager Joseph Mayorga Burtt "attended the office Christmas party, participated in the office Fantasy Football league, filled out a time sheet, received a W-2 at the end of the year, and paid his taxes," his attorney, Jay P. Mykytiuk, wrote in a court filing. Pennington said he implemented containment measures during the coronavirus pandemic in the two apartments across the hall from each other on 12th Street NW, where the company was based, and in a warehouse in Hyattsville, Md.

    Prosecutors recommended no prison time for Fischel, despite federal sentencing guidelines that called for 135 months to 168 months, the same as for Pennington. A statement of facts accompanying Fischel's guilty plea says the "money laundering scheme, adopted by Connor Pennington and executed by the JointVentures conspirators, was Mr. Fischel's brainchild." U.S. District Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. Sentenced Fischel to a probationary term of three years. Alston told him that he was getting "absolute grace" and that prosecutors "cut you a big break." Fischel did not spend time in jail.

    "He had a crazy notion that he could somehow make this business legitimate," an attorney for Fischel, Danny C. Onorato, told the judge.

    "We were overextended," Fischel said at his sentencing. "I made a poor choice — a poor decision — to help support the family."

    A marijuana case like no other

    Since recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2014, federal prosecutors in that state have obtained eight indictments for marijuana distribution conspiracies that did not involve firearms — all but one of those cases involved large-scale cultivation, and the remaining case involved the one-time distribution of 114.9 kilograms of marijuana, according to Spear's defense attorney in the Virginia case, Joseph T. Flood. The Joint Delivery defendants admitted they sold 400 to 700 kilograms of marijuana from 2018 to 2022.

    But there is no case on record in Colorado, Maryland, Washington state or the District of Columbia against dispensary workers such as Spear, Flood wrote.

    "I did an exhaustive search, as I indicated, of states that have had laws on the books for a long time," Flood told the judge at Spear's sentencing on Jan. 6. "I can't find another prosecution that looks remotely like this. … It's unimaginable that it would happen again."

    Spear, who is now a coastal engineering major at a North Carolina college, told the judge he started off as a Joint Delivery customer who found the business "through a Google search." Then he became a delivery biker and eventually was promoted to shift manager before Pennington fired him after Spear voiced "outrage … that many of his practices seemed illegal."

    The D.C. Council, Flood noted, has approved legislation clearing a pathway for marijuana "gifting" shops to be fully licensed. Flood said he found "no prosecutions of people selling cannabis through unlicensed dispensaries" in Virginia since possession was legalized in the state in 2021.

    As of this year, 37 states and D.C. Have medical marijuana programs and 22 states have legalized the drug for recreational use, along with D.C. And Guam.

    But under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana since 1970 has been in the top category for addictive and dangerous substances, Schedule I. Biden in October asked federal agencies to consider downgrading marijuana to a less serious category.

    A Justice Department policy from 2013, known as the Cole memorandum, outlined eight priorities for prosecuting marijuana offenses under federal law in states that had moved toward legalization, such as preventing sales to minors or abetting organized or violent crime. "None of those [eight] considerations are present in this matter," Fischel's attorneys wrote in a court filing.

    Although the policy was rescinded during the Trump administration, Attorney General Merrick Garland said in March congressional testimony that the Justice Department was drafting new guidelines that would be "very close to what was done in the Cole memoranda." Defense attorneys involved in the Joint Delivery case said that probably would have prevented prosecutors from targeting their clients.

    Pennington said he was relieved to not have to spend time in any of the white-collar prison facilities he had been researching while he awaited his sentencing on May 2. But he said he feels deflated by the conviction on his record and the fact that he is being cut out of the market he spent so much time researching and learning. Pennington said he developed his own brand of cannabis called "Rosslyn," and never failed to pay taxes to D.C., even during the pandemic doldrums. He said he took care of his brothers and employees and their needs.

    "We may be the last group of convicted cannabis-related individuals, to be honest," said Pennington, who has since returned to the restaurant business.

    But he said he was heartened by Brinkema's comments at his sentencing hearing.

    "How do you have private equity companies that are profiting on stock exchanges for marijuana, while you have individuals who are suffering 20 years in prison?" Pennington said. "That's wrong, and as a society, we need to make a stand and say this has got to be resolved. And so it's a relief to hear that federal judges are thinking that way. It's a relief to hear that she's thinking that way."

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