Question for homeowner

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Darryl G, May 23, 2012.

  1. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    I don't usually post in this forum much but I wanted to get some feedback from homeowners.

    How do you feel about your landscaper telling you that you did something stupid with your landscape that will be a problem in the future?

    It's fairly common to have customers do things that I know will create a maintenance nightmare down the road...they plant things where they just don't belong, block off access to certain areas of their lawn, cut corners, use sub-standard materials etc. I usually just bite my tongue and don't say anything about it...what's done is done and it's their lawn.

    Here's the current situation: I have a customer that has a small looping sidewalk off their driveway that leads into their main sidewalk, but its off the side and really just for ornamental purposes. The area contained within it was nothing but weeds and they had asked me about planting grass in it last year. I told them that it was really more suited to putting some plants in. They said that sounds good, we'll have you do that next year. So last week I go there to mow and they had installed a beautiful Laceleaf Japanese Maple in it. Well....the problem is that they put it in a corner so that it's practically hanging over the sidewalk on all but one side now and they buried it way too deep. It's going to be encroaching on the sidewalk in no time (if it survives) and there's no way this bed is going to look balanced with it there off in one corner...it's clearly in the wrong spot and installed improperly. Don't people understand that plants grow?!? Should I say anything to them? Hold my tongue unless they ask what i think? If they ask, I'm going to tell them what I think...just not sure if I should approach them about it.
     
  2. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,540

    If it were me (but not necessarily the best one to ask), I'd be happy to find out about it, BEFORE the tree took root.
    It sounds like they still have time to fix things.
     
  3. cindyb

    cindyb LawnSite Senior Member
    from KY
    Posts: 354

    Always start with a postive. I'd say, that's a beautiful Japanese Maple and then let them know they grow quickly and it'll be hard to transplant. Maybe suggest another plant that would work in that spot.

    I would be thrilled if someone told me before I lost the tree.
     
  4. timslawn

    timslawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    I would appreciate getting advice about the tree, particularly if I asked you to work on that area. You have far more experience with trees than most homeowners and they'll recognize that.

    Just avoid the first part of what you really want to say ("That was really dumb to put this tree in that spot.") Just tell them what will happen and how it can be fixed, and leave it at that. I'd bet there will be some "I told you so" bickering between the owners after you give advice, and you don't want to be seen taking sides - might risk your contract!
     
  5. Capemay Eagle

    Capemay Eagle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,750

    Defiantly say something. Now is the time to move the tree before summer hits and it takes root. I think they would be happy to know.
     
  6. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    OK, that's for the replies. I'm mention it next time I mow. If they were able to plant it once it shouldn't be a problem for them to do it again. I'll try to remember to snap a picture to post here so you can see what I'm talking about.
     
  7. tekcor1

    tekcor1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    I know you got all the answers you were looking for, but I just wanted to add my two cents for future reference. If I did something dumb with my landscape and it was still fixable, I would be upset if you were my landscaper and you DIDN'T say something if I later found out that you recognized the mistake but bit your tongue. Of course as previously stated, try not to critize as much as possible. If they don't appreciate that you're trying to save their tree then they really are idiots. Good luck!
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Thanks for the additional input. I'm trying to ignore the fact that they told me they would have me do any landscaping work. I'm pretty used to customers picking my brain for ideas and then just doing it themselves, lol. I just want the place to look better, because at this point the place kind of looks like hell, to the point where I don't like even being seen there. It sat vacant for a year or 2 (forclosure) and was neglected, and the new owners are kind of slow to get it back in shape....they don't seem to have a very high standard for their yard. They keep saying they want to get it back in shape but when it comes to writing checks it just doesn't happen.
     
  9. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    I think I'm too late. I was in the neighborhood today and drove by and now they have about 6 other plants in there as well...dwarf boxwoods I think. Of course they're about 6 inches from the edge of the sidewalk...sigh.
     
  10. avguy

    avguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 552

    Darrel....subtly is your friend here. Because it is one of your accounts you look at it from a different view than your customer. When you get the opportunity, compliment them on the effort they have put into "their" project and then comment that you wished "we" hadn't planted that maple so deep and that you are concerned for it's longetivity......takes it from being "their" project to now being "our" project......just another opinion
     

Share This Page