Get a head start on spring now with Southwest Landscape Management

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A fresh layer of mulch applied now by Southwest Landscape Management can help to refresh your plant beds—and give you a head start for next year. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Ken McEntee

“April showers bring May flowers.”

My first-grade teacher used to say that a lot, and at the time she may have been right. In my memory, it seems like Northeast Ohio used to have springtime between March and May before those months began to deliver unpredictable, alternative days of blizzards and teasingly warm temperatures.

The possibility that you may be shoveling snow on Mother’s Day may offer little motivation to get your plant beds in order for the upcoming summer.

But Steve Rak, owner of Southwest Landscape Management, says he has a solution to getting a head start on spring: Get your planting and trimming done now.

“Fall is a smart time for planting and landscape renovation,” Steve insists. “The cooler weather and rain make it an ideal time to tear out your old plants and put in some dazzling perennials that will be ready to pop in the spring. Fall is also a good time to add a fresh layer of mulch to your beds. After a long winter, you’ll be delighted to be greeted by a fresh and vibrant yard when spring finally arrives.”

And while your Southwest Landscape Management crew is there this fall, they’ll be happy to clean up your leaves.

Because the company has such a high profile in landscaping for commercial businesses and homeowners’ associations, some people don’t realize that it maintains and beautifies residential yards as well, says Steve, a past president of the Ohio Landscape Association and former columnist for Turf Magazine, a national trade publication.

“One thing that makes us different from many other companies is that landscaping is our focus, not a sideline,” he says. “We don’t do the high-priced hardscape projects and patio installations. We’re landscaping experts. Period.

Fall is a smart time for planting and landscape renovation. And while your Southwest Landscape Management crew is there this fall, they’ll be happy to clean up your leaves.

Southwest Landscape’s year-round residential landscape management program, offered for yards of all sizes, includes:

  • Spring clean-up
  • Bed edging
  • Mulch application
  • Weekly lawn maintenance
  • Bed maintenance
  • Shrub and tree pruning
  • Fertilization
  • Fall leaf clean-up

Southwest Landscape Management took root more than 25 years ago when Steve’s dad, Steve Sr., a Strongsville resident who had been in management at United Airlines, started a landscaping business out of his garage.

As young boys, Steve remembers he and his brother helping their father by trimming around mailboxes with hand clippers.

Today, Steve says, the company is large enough to provide reliable, meticulous service to some of the largest commercial properties, condos and homeowners’ associations in Strongsville, yet small enough to offer personal, customized service.

“When you call us, we will respond,” he promises. “It may not sound like a big deal, but the biggest complaint we hear from new customers is that their previous landscapers didn’t show up or return calls.”

During the winter, Southwest Landscape Management offers commercial snow and ice management services.

“We manage the business of snow so the snow doesn’t manage your business,” Steve says. “Our team of dedicated snow fighters are equipped to provide service 24/7. We have the ability and experience to provide service for retail sites, commercial facilities, condo associations, homeowners’ associations, cluster homes, medical facilities and apartment complexes.”

Whether you’re a homeowner in need of a fall cleanup or looking to get a jump on spring planting—or a homeowners’ association looking to make a change—you can get a no-cost quote by calling Steve, at 440-748-6000, or by sending an email to Southwest Landscape Management is located at 33593 Royalton Road, in Columbia Station. You can learn more at

Categories: Westside Home & Garden