The Grounds Guys aren’t all guys.
Gary and Jamee Fouts work as a husband-and-wife team in the residential landscape management business. The two recently joined The Grounds Guys—a Texas-based Dwyer Group team with 85 franchises throughout the United States and Canada.
Previously, the Fouts’ spent 20 years in operation as independent contractors. During that time, they came to be recognized in and around New Lenox and much of the rest of the Southland for their seasonal work. Their focus is primarily on grass cutting and lawn maintenance in the spring and summer months and snow and ice removal in the fall and winter months.
Gary attended Lincoln-Way High School back when the district had only one high school. He played basketball and was a high jumper and long jumper on the Knights’ boys track and field team. Later, he went on to attend Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wis.
He earned a teaching degree and spent some time standing in front of a chalkboard before deciding he wanted to make the great outdoors his classroom.
“There is an immediate sense of accomplishment that comes from taking care of a lawn,” he said. “When you’re done, you can see you’ve made a difference. You don’t get that often in a school setting.”
Jamee taught kindergarten for 5 years, retired when she and Gary started a family and returned to the work force as his “boss” and office manager after their two daughters reached school age. Tiffanee Fouts, 18, now is a senior at Romeoville Christian Academy. Her older sister, Stephanee, 22, will be married in June.
The Grounds Guys—and girls—will be cutting lawns right up to the “I dos” and working as always to please their customers. Before the Fouts’ joined their new team, The Grounds Guys were featured on CBS television in a Jan. 22 airing of “Under Cover Boss.”
Now, Gary is blowing his cover. He is happy to share some lawn care tips with homeowners:
1. Cut your grass as high as you can.
“It’s kind of a rule, the higher the grass is, the better the root system is,” Fouts said. “So, if the grass is high, the roots are going to be going down deeper. It also helps to have the weed seeds not be able go get down in there and make contact with the soil and grow. And you don’t need as much water.”
2. Water less frequently, but in greater amounts.
“The common misconception out there is to water every other day and for short periods of time,” Fouts said. “The best thing is to water for a longer period of time. Maybe you don’t run all of your zones each day, but you let them run for typically an inch per week in each zone. And if you get that whole inch in one setting you’re better off.”
3. Get in the habit of aerating your lawn.
“You don’t see the results of aeration because most of the help that aeration provides is where the root zone is,” Fouts said. “But it’s important. It helps you avoid the compaction of the soil—opens it up, lets oxygen, fertilizer and water down into the root zone. And it promotes the roots to go deeper.”
4. Don’t bag, mulch.
“When you’re bagging your grass, you’re taking all the nutrients away,” Fouts said. “If your fertilizer is going up into the blade of the grass and you cut it and take it away, you’re losing that fertilizer. And it helps not to fill up landfills, too. So, you’re going green, as they say.”