When customers do stupid things

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Darryl G, May 23, 2012.

  1. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I posted this over in the homeowner section too to see if I could get feedback from homeowners as well.

    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. It's going to be encroaching on the sidewalk in no time 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. I'm not exactly the most talented designer, but I know this thing doesn't belong where they put it. It would be better as the centerpiece of this bed and would have room to grow. Don't people understand that plants grow?!? Would you say anything to them...give them your unsolicited opinion that they screwed up or just hold your tongue unless asked?
  2. clydebusa

    clydebusa Inactive
    Messages: 1,660

    If possible I would say something in a nice way. Main reason it would be easier to move it now before it gets established. It is hard for some to plant trees where they should. So many times you hear, I didn't know that tree would be so big.
  3. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    If I had a dollar for every Rhododendron and Holly that was planted a foot away from the foundation...oh wait...I have thousands of dollars from removing them, lol.
  4. PLS-Tx

    PLS-Tx LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 2,384

    Tell them they are stupid. Lol
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. macgyver_GA

    macgyver_GA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 826

    Hmm...My next door neighbor's yard is a prime example of this.

    He hired me this year to maintain it because he's a busy guy and I'm glad he did because he neglected his yard bad last year...wait who am I kidding, he's always neglected it.

    Pretty much every NO NO of planting you can think of. All hand-me-down plants that people have given them that are planted in random places that make no sense. His wife just put an emerald green arborvitae in this little corner bed section maybe 2 ft x 2ft between their house, front porch, and sidewalk. I told her a few weeks ago that it's going to get huge and that's an awful place for it and they might want to move it in the fall (too late now...the summer heat will probably kill it if they transplant now) before it gets too big.

    They have bermuda just like mine and this year they decided to make the beds bigger because the plants were hanging over into the yard. They asked me how they should expand their beds. They were having a friend who just lost his job help them. I told them, go rent a sod cutter (just like you saw me do with my lawn last year) and cut up the bermuda, then use a bed edger or a shovel and create a trenched edge to keep the mulch out of the grass and limit the bermuda from creeping into the mulch. Well what did they do? Their friend came over with a tiller and tilled up the bermuda and shoveled some of it out of the way, then just dumped the mulch with no sort of edging. Now when I edge the beds I fling mulch all over the place. Now the left over bermuda stolons and rhizomes they tilled into the soil have re-rooted and bermuda is growing in their mulch. I TOLD YOU SO! Not to mention he did half the mulch and hasn't come back to finish the rest.

    They're super nice people, they're just not lawn/garden people AT ALL and I'm glad they hired me this year. Hopefully I will have the yard looking better by the end of the summer. The wife keeps nagging her husband to get out there and trench the bed edges because she noticed who much of a pain and mess it makes when I edge.

    My other rant is I discovered about two weeks ago that one of my customers planted a new tree sapling about 30" away from the fence in his backyard. I have a 36" mower...gggrrr now I have to mow around it and string trim that spot.
  6. roberthathaway7

    roberthathaway7 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 115

    I had a lady call me because she wanted some shrubs moved across her yard. I said it's possible, but there's no guarantee that they will live, always risky, and I'll have to take a look to make sure they're not too big/mature because I'll destroy the root system if they are. "ok i'm at work but drive by ###address and take a look"

    These bushes are 7 or 8 feet tall, probably 6 inches at the base. she's FREAKIN crazy. she just wanted them moved across the yard because they're a little too big to be next to the house... after I told her that I wasn't able to do it and explained to her what it would feel like to get a bill from a tree service with a spade for some $20 shrubs.. she decided against it.

    Also, I was supposed to make this walkway out of those wavy stones for edging and gravel in the middle with pavestones to walk across...I get there and the old man had his tractor out, filled the bottom of this walkway he dug with a bucket full of boulder sized driveway rock, and had 5 sacks of walmart rock to make a layer on top. And he has put this wavy stones on TOP of the huge rock for a base...good lord. I just stood there and stared at it with a sad, sad look on my face.. "Weyall, whadya thank??" he says... farmers. I fixed it, and they were quite pleased, and I haven't answered another call from them since. lol

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