Despite obstacles, Ryan Baker's client list is growing as more people look for environmentally-friendly alternatives to traditional landscaping.
A Polk County, Fla., lawn service is trying to expand by offering "green" services, and he's doing so with some unusual tools.
Ryan Baker, who owns Baker's Outside Services & Solutions, or B.O.S.S., said he promises to give his customers a green lawn that is also environmentally friendly.
"We try to do everything earth-friendly and organic," he said.
As a result, his work trailer carries the usual mowers and edgers, but he also has some surprising tools, like baking powder and epsom salt.
"[Epsom salt] has the same effect when you soak your feet in it," he said. "It helps revive the lawn."
In addition, he doesn't use traditional fertilizer. He said that many household products can double as lawn solutions, as long as they are mixed properly.
"A cup of dish soap, a cup of mouthwash, and a cup of fish fertilizer and a couple of other ingredients, and they make a good pest control product especially for fighting cinch bugs," Baker said.
Beer and whiskey are two more of Baker's staples. He said beer helps feed microbes in the soil.
Baker has been in business for seven years, but his transition to "green" landscaping began last year as a favor to his wife.
"My wife was complaining that my clothes smelled like gas when I came home, so in order to help her out, I did some research and found out there was a 2-cycle mixture that reduce the smells that come out of the machines," he said.
After he made the switch, he started doing more research into environmentally landscaping methods. Eventually, he changed his business plan.
Baker said that his earth-friendly ways are a tough sell for potential customers, and that going green can be expensive. In an effort to keep his prices competitive, he said he's making the transition to an earth-friendly operation a slow one.
Despite those obstacles, he said his client list is growing as more people look for environmentally-friendly alternatives to traditional landscaping.
"They're excited about it, because they know everything I do is better for them, their children, as well as for their pets and plants," he said.