It’s a constant battle to beat back weeds growing out of a desert landscape and to keep green grass in the front yard from becoming a jungle. To help people win the landscaping war and save residents money, the city of Tempe has started a new program, Tempe Landscaping Referral. As part of the program’s development process, city planners used the idea of buying in bulk to negotiate flat rates with three landscaping companies. Residents may directly contract with these companies to keep their yards in compliance with city codes and to help keep their yards looking good. The program costs the city of Tempe no money. Rates, starting as low as $35 a month, depend on the size of the yard and whether it is grass or desert landscaping. Residents using the service are required to sign up for a year. Rates are generally lower than what most people could get independently due to the quantity of work anticipated by the landscapers. Tempe City Council approved the program at a meeting Jan. 29. “There are some people who simply don’t have the physical ability to keep up their yard and others who don’t have the time or desire to do yard work,” said Tempe City Councilmember Kolby Granville. “(This) will give people costeffective, pre-screened options because the services are being bought in bulk.” Contracted landscape companies include: Artistic Land Management Inc., 480-821-4966, www. artisticlandmanagementinc.com; J.A. Desert Greens Custom Lawn Care, 480-544-1203, http://www. jadesertgreens.com/; and Somerset Landscape Maintenance, 480-204- 4693, http://www.landscapeinc.us/ All were selected through the city’s procurement process. Each has a one-year contract that may be renewed up to five times. The performance of each company will be evaluated before each renewal. Residents will contract directly through each landscaping company. Any billing, service questions or concerns are to be addressed with the company, not the city of Tempe. Residents are encouraged to use Yelp to rate the level of service they receive, and Yelp ratings will be one component considered when it is time to renew contracts with vendors. Information: www.tempe.gov/code.