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pinksand
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Damage from Landscaping Company Work

We just had our garden steps completed by a landscaping company. The steps are beautiful but I'm not very pleased with the amount of damage that was done elsewhere. I've never hired a landscaping company before so I don't know if I'm being unreasonable or what to generally expect. We've had a number of trees taken out and the tree company we use has always taken great care to repair and tidy the space afterwards (although some plant casualties are always expected).

Here's the damage...

There's a little stone retaining wall on either side of the new stairs. Obviously some of it had to be shifted to get the new stepper in but I had assumed they'd re-stack the stone up against the step. Instead they left the stones disheveled and mulched the soil sloped onto our patio... which will clearly just slide onto the patio during the next rain without the stone there to retain it. They'd also said they'd leave the excess stone they removed but they didn't.

They had mentioned that two rose of sharons would have to be removed and a japanese holly trimmed. Well they ended up taking out the entire Japanese holly, a silverberry bush I'd planted a couple years ago, and a young azalea. I'm fine with the holly being gone, but it isn't cut very cleanly and I don't think my chain saw can handle the width of the trunk to clean it up. The azalea was a bummer but they aren't too expensive to replace. The silverberry was an expensive shrub and took some hunting down. It was finally starting to take off and I'd wanted it for privacy so it's disappointing. The biggest thing with that is that my husband and I have taken shifts being at home so someone is always available for any questions. If they'd mentioned the smaller bushes would have to come out I would have dug them up and tried to save them!

We have a bed retained by rail ties that must have been bumped by heavy equipment because it's all shifted and coming apart.

Some of our garden edging blocks were shifted/pressed into the ground/cracked.

Is this to be expected or should I complain? They left without saying anything or else I would have mentioned it sooner.
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catgrass
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Re: Damage from Landscaping Company Work

Personally, yes, I would complain. You should have been told beforehand what they were going to have to remove. Tell them you want the rock/stone back, and compensation for at least the most expensive shrub removed. Also, they didn't shore up the stone like they said they would, and would they send someone to do that. Go to the top guy when asking for these things, and ask complain nicely. A company is only so good as it's employees, and it is possible the boss is/was not aware of these things, and would appreciate the information. If you don't get results, contact your local BBB and complain. I've worked in service for over 30 years, and being nice will get you results. And as I said, maybe the boss isn't aware of this and someone needs to be-um "re-trained".
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GardeningCook
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Re: Damage from Landscaping Company Work

This is the main reason that - whether it ends up costing me in time/money - I will NEVER EVER have any outside or inside contractors do ANY work on my home/property without me being present & on site for the entire job. It's totally worth it as to less stress/aggravation after the fact. There's a whole lot less of "he said/she said" when the property owner is right there watching you the entire time.

And YES - the OP DOES need to go back to the company & claim damages & reparations. BUT - that said, I'm assuming the OP has a written contract in hand specifically describing the job.
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Allyn
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Re: Damage from Landscaping Company Work

I'm not a lawyer and this should in no way be considered legal advice. This is just my own experience.

In some cases, the contractor will quote the absolute lowest price to do just the job you wanted -- in this case the steps -- and not include the 'peripheral' work of restoring the retaining wall. It should be in the contract if he is also restoring the retaining wall. If he verbally agreed to restore the wall and leave the extra stone, I ask for it to be included in the contract.

When I've had work done, the contractor specified exactly what he'd have to disturb in the process of doing what I wanted and it would have been stated whether he was going to fix it or I was going to deal with it. In your situation, he'd have said he'd have to disturb the retaining wall and it would have been specified in the contract whether he was going to fix it after the steps were installed. If I wanted him to fix it, the extra cost would have been added to the job as part of the contract.

The railroad ties and edging blocks sound like damage I would have complained about because it wasn't part of the job. Stuff like that happens. It's something I'll negotiate before I give him the final payment. I'll point out the damage and either he'll offer to fix it (which I'd want fixed before I give him the final payment on the job) or he'll knock some money off the final payment so I can fix it.

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pinksand
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Re: Damage from Landscaping Company Work

Thank you all for you advice! I did end up complaining but decided to pick my battles and only complained about the rail tie retaining wall and the stone retaining wall beside the steps. The owner came out and fixed both himself. He said the shrubs that were removed without mention were an accident when the bobcat slid. He said it factually and wasn't apologetic in any way which was frustrating, but overall I was satisfied with the project in the end and was appreciative of him coming out.

It was a learning experience, and now I know to have absolutely everything I can think of included in the contract.
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"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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applestar
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Re: Damage from Landscaping Company Work

Glad to hear issues were resolved to your satisfaction @pinksand.
pinksand wrote:It was a learning experience, and now I know to have absolutely everything I can think of included in the contract.

^^^
This. I was thinking that too as I read the comments.... :shock:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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Allyn
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Re: Damage from Landscaping Company Work

pinksand wrote: ...He said the shrubs that were removed without mention were an accident when the bobcat slid. He said it factually and wasn't apologetic in any way which was frustrating, but overall I was satisfied with the project in the end and was appreciative of him coming out. ...
I would be very surprised if he had apologized. I'm sure he was silently sorry it happened, but apologizing is like admitting fault. An experienced contractor is almost hard-wired not to admit fault as a defense mechanism in our litigious society. (Not that you would sue him, of course, but he faces that possibility on every job he takes.)

I am glad it worked out to your satisfaction. You can now enjoy your new steps. :) Did you post a picture? Let's see those steps.



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