The tree was 20 feet tall, and the hedge behind it was 5 feet tall. It was overgrown and invading the sidewalk on Daniel's home in Meridian.
"I've tried and tried to keep it in control," the first-time homeowner said. "I've cut it back, trimmed it, but it seems to be out of control."
When the young couple moved in, they took out a large pine tree, and suddenly the elm tree took off, growing taller than the house.
"I'm not sure I want to spend a lot of money," he said.
Many people take a great deal of pride in having an attractive yard. That means spending time and money to make it happen right. Several types of services can help: landscape architects and contractors, as well as lawn care and tree service companies. People who get the most out of these services spend time researching and investing in self-education.
But no matter how well the research is done, BBB hears landscape-related complaints every spring and fall. Here are a few comments we hear as people complain:
Wrong size of pipe installed and broken sprinkler heads not repaired.
Pond installed incorrectly and company wouldn't come out and fix it after the consumer called.
Damage to grass by applying weed killer.
Doing more than they were supposed to and the consumer got billed for it.
Bought trees and they weren't planted in a timely manner.
Disputing prices charged for what was done.
Consumer didn't think the crew that installed the concrete knew what they were doing.
Notice the themes of alleged incompetence and issues with pricing? Here are a few ways to stay away from the complaint department:
Find a reputable company by starting your research at bbb.org.
Ask for references and do your own on-site evaluation of other work done by the company.
Get everything in writing. Everything. Whether it's pricing, types of plants to be used, type of service to be offered, document all work and costs.
Ask good questions. Ask about how the services are packaged and priced. Since lawn care and landscaping services are often performed in your absence, ask about timing and notification of treatments so you know what to expect.
Also, ask about toxicity of the applications and the precautions that need to be taken to minimize human exposure. An attractive lawn also depends heavily on regular maintenance. If you choose to do that yourself, ask about mowing and watering requirements.
If it's tree services you need, whether it's pruning or tree and stump removal, make sure you communicate precisely what you want done and have a clear expectation of what is possible. Because trees can be seriously damaged or even killed by incompetent companies, look for a qualified person with a track record of trustworthiness.
Above all, check references and look for businesses that are bonded and insured.
Be wary of guarantees without adequate explanations of homeowner care involved.
Finally, be especially wary of door knockers and itinerant workers. Most legitimate companies are too busy to solicit customers in this fashion.
Robb Hicken: 947-2115