Cautious consumers often look for places to cut, but one quiet victim of the recession has the opposite problem. Even amid recovery, lawns are often left untended.

“I just thought my money was being wasted,” said Dave Pilon, 42, director of sales at Bouvier Insurance in Connecticut. Mr. Pilon estimated he could save about $300 a year doing lawn treatments himself after he wasn’t impressed by professional services.

“My lawn absolutely ended up becoming a disaster,” he said, describing a yard taken over by crab grass in the past year. Mr. Pilon is signing a contract with another company for lawn seeding and maintenance, but will continue to mow his lawn as he has always done.

Landscapers like K&H Lawn Services said that since the recession, customers have been more conscious about cost and ask more frequently for quotes. Basic mowing for a 3,000 square-foot yard starts at $900 annually, according to Kris Hjort, K&H chief executive officer, but services like fertilizer applications cost extra.

The Virginia-based company maintains 600 residences weekly in the suburbs of Washington D.C. and has grown from 30 staff members in 2010 to 40. Starting last year, business finally started picking up with 7% to 8% growth in services, said Mr. Hjort. “People are coming back to professional lawn services and spending more money,” he said.

Tanya Ash, 46, a homeowner in Dublin, Ohio, switched to professional care two years ago after she decided her time was better spent working as an interior designer instead of mowing, but continued pruning on her own to save money.

“Quite honestly I thought was doing a great job doing it myself until the tree came down,” said Ms. Ash, who lost one of several trees on her quarter-acre yard after a recent storm. Ms. Ash spends $30 a week for mowing, but recently paid $1,000 for tree and shrub maintenance.

Stihl Inc., which manufactures power equipment including grass and hedge trimmers, has benefited from an expanding do-it-yourself crowd looking to take on smaller jobs like pruning and trimming. The company is on track for its third consecutive year of record turf-related sales since 2009. Roger Phelps, Stihl promotional communications manager, said homeowners are spending as much as 550 for professional trimmers instead of cheaper, consumer models.

Homeowners view professional equipment as investments they can pay off after a year or so of use, said Daniel Ariens, president and chief executive officer of Ariens Co., which produces mowers and snow blowers. During the recession, consumer sales jumped with homeowners opting for commercial mowers which cost $4,000 to $10,000 compared to consumer riding models that start at $1,000.

Ariens’ consumer demand has since grown at a slower pace, but commercial sales have continued rising, up 25% this year. “Consumers are slowly coming back to hiring landscape contractors,” said Mr. Ariens.

Landscapers, however, are cautious to reinvest as customers trickle back — repairing existing equipment and holding back on new orders, or purchasing cheaper models than in years past, he said. Ariens’ spare parts business has continued to grow since the recession.

In 2008, Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. saw business for its lawn service dip along with the economy. “As the economy has improved, our lawn service business has improved along with it,” said Jim King, vice president of corporate affairs at Scotts. Homeowners can apply the company’s lawn products themselves or hire Scott’s service, which costs three to four times more and has made modest gains in the last two years with more repeat customers.

Mr. King said Scotts has also remarketed its do-it-yourself fertilizer to reflect homeowners who no longer want “extra-perfect” lawns, but turf that’s “good enough.” Sales of the fertilizer have begun to rebound after years of decline.

“It doesn’t have to be the emerald-green envy of the neighborhood,” he said.