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C
"This is the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" which will result in me ending my Angie's List subscription. I am sick of buying coupons" and wasting my money. I have many expired coupons because what I wanted done isn't covered, or the contractor is too hard to get in touch with, etc, In this case I thought I'd contact the vendor before buying the coupon. My neighbor and I share a beautiful 700 sq ft deck in the beautiful South End of Boston. I take a lot of pride in the deck and have put a lot of money into it including the materials we used to build it, sound system, furniture, urban landscaper, etc. I have a small unit and it is nice that I can do all of my entertaining in the nice weather on the roof. The deck was built by DiPerro Construction who I reviewed on here and I recommend them. Lighting has always been a challenge on the roof. My neighbor put up those Christmas lights on the railing and I really tried to like them, although they were out of place in contrast to the quality of everything else on the roof. There is a very high end roof deck diagonal to us and I liked the uniformity of their white lights --- a much cleaner more professional look, and I decided that is what i wanted. My cousin was visiting and told me those were rope lights. I searched Angie's list for a lighting specialist and found this company. They had a $1000 offer and I thought that was a reasonable price to pay to get adequate professional lighting on my deck that would look nice like my neighbor. Instead of purchasing the coupon, I decided to do the consult first so I didn't waste $1000 like the hundreds I have wasted on other non-used coupons. When arrived, he was punctual and nice as described. I told him what I was looking for and we decided that what I wanted was rope lighting on the railing and tape lighting on the perimeter. The rope lighting would look like what my neighbor has (nice and white). said our deck was too big to just use that lighting and we agreed the perimeter lighting would be necessary. I asked if I could get this covered with the $1000 coupon. He told me that coupon was for quick, generic jobs. Typical Angie's list bait and switch, which should have stopped me from agreeing to go forward. The quote for the job came to $4200 which was sticker shock. Much steeper than I had wanted, but I convinced myself that it would be my last major expense on the roof and was a nice guy who seemed honest and sincere and it seemed like he knew my penchant for perfectionism and so splurging would give the roof that "over the top" effect that I like. WRONG. The lights were installed on Thursday. The railing lights are yellow !!! They look nothing like the white lights of my neighbor. The perimeter lights are a beautiful light as expected and are very nice.. So we have yellow on the railing and white below which looks hideous and embarrassing. said he didn't know why that could have happened since he ordered them from the same vendor. My neighbor and I agreed that it looked tacky. The railing lights don't seem to be adding much light to the deck anyway. I also can't get them to dim or shut off, which I think is a waste of electricity and rude to the neighbors. said he expected my reaction and asked what I wanted to do. Using the tape lights for the railing would put the project up around $5500, and doesn't sound very confident on his ability to execute due to the complexity of working around the railing posts. So I said that I would just like to keep the lights on the perimeter and asked him to remove the rope lighting. Final Cost? $3626 That is significantly more than the $1000 coupon ad that brought me to this vendor !!! I should have gone with , but I thought I'd save money if I had bought the coupon. As I said, I will be unenrolling from Angie's List after this. I really believe in this service, but the delivery hasn't matched the slick marketing. I am sorry and I hope that other people's experiences aren't like mine. Good luck. I really wish you all great success.

-Roger C.

F
"I had three separate appointments scheduled with this company and they no-showed all three times. No call, and no explanation. And on the final day they no showed," I called and left several messages and they never attempted to call me back or make it right. DO not hire this company, terrible customer service and no care for the customers time.

-Jill D.

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Angie's Answers

?
I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.


?

One of the more difficult issues facing you will be making sure you compare apples 'n apples while understanding the differences between apples 'n oranges.

Some things common to all:

How far from your (water) meter pit to the home?

Do you know what sort of water pressure you have?

Those two questions sortta drive the rest.  How many sprinklers you have is a piece of the puzzle but it is lower on the issues list than how much water pressure and gallons per minute of flow (gpm) you have.  Knowing the water pressure and gpm coming to the house is important because it is the info divided by the flow rate of the heads to tell you how many you can run at a time.

 That, plus the number of heads it takes to cover your yard will let them decide on how many zones to cut the yard into (each zone is X number of heads that run at the same time).

Will the different estimates be for systems that are all parts from a single manufaturer or will it be a collection of brands?  Some will tell you that the parts (controller, back-flow, heads and even specific heads) are better from different manufacturers while others will tell you that all from a single manufacturer will give you an optimized system.

And, are the contractors equally certified?  Not only education and experience but certifications from the various manufacturers who's parts they want to use.  And, will their installations be the same?  Will they open trenches all around your yard and be a week getting the stuff layed, connected and back-filled?  Or, will they pull the flexible pipe and be in 'n out in one day with water flowing to cover their intrussion before they leave that day?

Will your system need to be blown out with pressurized air at the end of the season to avoid winter freeze and bursts or will it drain automagically?

I know, I took your simple question and made it hard.

When I bought my system about 9 years ago, I had a variety of estimates and the differences sortta fell into the mess I listed above.  The low estimate was a person who seemed to be from the "get it in the ground and fix it later" school.

The highest estimate was from someone who seemed more concerned about my yard and the final result than I was.  The low person was using parts 'n pieces from a variety of manufacturers.  The high person was certified by the company that made all the parts he was wanting to use and he carried a fairly high rating from them for his past performance..  He would vary for me if I wanted but he had sound reasons from the controller to each of the heads as to why he preferred his "brand".

It doesn't look like you are a member of Angie's List.  Given the size of the investment you are looking at, this might be a great time to join and see how others in your community have rated the contractors you are considering or if there is one you should add to your list. 

My yard is between 12 and 15,000 square feet less the house, deck, two mini-barns and it is interrupted with a number of blocking (blocks the stream of water) evergreens and planting beds.

The low estimate I had was about $2,500 and would take three days to put in from the time they began to trench.  I don't recall how many heads he wanted to put in but if it was off, he'd be able to put another anyplace and tie it to the nearest zone to give me good coverage.  Uh, this was the get it in the ground 'n adjust later person.

The high estimate I had was around $4,500.  This proposal was for seven active zones each having 5 to 7 heads.  There was enough capacity (extra zone controllers and space within the system controller) built in to add drip irrigation at a later date for the planting beds without having to replace anything.  He drew the entire yard and gave me a copy with the heads marked showing the "throw" of each and the overlap he built in to avoid any missed areas.  And, they wanted to arrive in the morning and leave that evening with the system watering to cover their tracks throughout the yard.  One day and they would not leave until it was working as advertised!

I took the high estimate.  I have a neighbor who bought from the other folks.  Both of us are happy.  He is really happy because each time he calls his company for adjustments or corrections (yep, they got it in the ground and are still putzing with it) they are out within the week, they are really easy to do business with and their service calls' costs haven't gone up a whole bunch.

Sorry, you can't look at the price and divide by X number of heads and have a fair comparison.

?

1) IF you are talking the root crown - the portion where it is not one solid truck or "bole", but still a solid or near-solid mass of roots coming off the base of the trunk, then that has to come out on way or another. Typically, once you get beyond about a 3 foot circle then you are in the radial portion of the roots where they spread out laterally, and are a foot or more apart, and new roots can grow in that area fro the new tree OK. Of course, be prepared to have to trim some volunteers so the old tree can't come back, and be sure to fertilize the new tree per recommendations because the old roots will still be trying to extract water and food from the soil to support the tree that they do not yet realize is gone. Do NOT put stump killer or poison in the old tree - will kill new one too.

2) The proper commercial way to do this is to have the entire root crown and larger roots removed with a stump grinder - looks like this -

http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/attachments/build-yourself/117273d1230307978-stump-grinder-questions-stumpgrinderred.jpg

You need a tree service that can grind down at least two feet below ground level and remove the root crown and larger root segments. If you hve large roots running laterally quite a ways, he can grind them up too - ditto to "trippers" sticking up above ground. Just be sure to have it clear (spray painted) upfront how far he is going for what he quoted - typically about $150 for tree up to 1-2 feet in diameter, up to $500 for a massive sycamore or walnut or cottonwood or redwood with 6 foot diameter crown. While you can rent stump grinders at tooll rental places, I REALLY do not recommend it - the rental ones you can afford to rent for one use are pretty light duty, and they can chew a person up in no time flat if you lose control when it snags in the wood or hits a rock.

3) Another way is to go out to where the massive roots taper off to something you can reasonable cut - say 4-6 inches in diameter, and cut them all in a circle around the stump, then with a come-along or CAREFULLY (not more than a few hundred pounds) with a vehicle with a trailer hitch, put a steady pull on a good rope or strap or chain in a shallow notch cut around the top of the stump (so it does not pop off easy), then while it is being rotated up out of the ground walk around and cut any root you see still attached or trying to lift out of the ground. This works much better if the stump is left about 4-6 feet high so you get some real leverage on it with the pull, but if already cut down short run chain or strap over the top of it and around a large root on the far side of the stump. I use a Sawzall with foot long coarse tooth wood cutting blade for this - goes through roots really fast, and blade is only $1 or so apiece so ruining one or two hitting rocks is no big thing, and also reaches in under the stump better and safer than an axe. I helped a neighbor take out a back yard full of birches this way - took us about half a day to remove about 15 trees with about 6 foot diameter circle of crown and roots, leaving holes about 1-2 feet deep where each tree was. Remember this - whichever way you use to take it out, you will need maybe 1-5 wheelbarrow loads of good growth medium to replace the divot. 

4) Cheaper route - cut off flush with ground level (or leave some stickup as a planter or stool or feeder base or whatever), and plant new tree at least 4 feet away from old crown, in a spot between the old roots.

?
'Reasonable' is one of those words that means wildly divergent things to different people.  Check with your local high school to see if they have  any sort of agricultural program.  If yes, perhaps someone in that program could help you.  Being a landscaper myself, I must say it sounds like you want something that is - first and foremost - cheap.   This is NOT the best way to look for any service.  You would be better served looking for 'competant' than with 'cheap'.  The nicer you want your flowerbed to look, the more important it is to find someone who REALLY knows what they are doing.
?

Natural stones will have some degree of variance given the lack of pre-made consistency.

 

1/2" is too much from stone to stone and should be able to be fixed with additional leveling sand. 

 

 

?

Landscape Lighting Companies in Boston

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!

360 Sport Systems

100 Cumming Center
Beverly

3D Landscaping

PO Box 692063
Quincy

A Cut Above

Wakefield

A Cut Above Landscaping

91 Southbridge Rd.
Charlton

A.J. Robinson Corporation

48 Swan Avenue
Fitchburg

ABC Landscape

108 Summer St
Arlington

ADAM LANDSCAPING

56 ACADEMY RD
North Andover

Advanced Agriculture Inc.

171 Dalton Rd
Chelmsford

Advanced Electrical Service Co

P.O. Box 761207
Melrose

All Pros Electric Inc

10 Middlesex Avenue
Wilmington

B P Logue & Co

3 Industrial Way
Tyngsboro

BENOIT'S LIGHTING INC

16 PLEASANT ST
Leicester

Berardi Irrigation

1049 Turnpike St
Canton

BILL MURPHY ELECTRIC

15 NAPLES AVE
Woburn

BISCO

60 STERGIS WAY
Dedham

Bob Mahoney Electric

78 Linwood Street
Lynn

Bocash Brothers Landscaping

17 Clark Rd
Weymouth

BOISSONNEAULT ELECTRIC CORP

36 Chuck Drive
Dracut

Bond Electric

161 Surrey Ln
Dracut

Boston Builders Bureau

30 Stearns Road
Brookline

Boston Irrigation

330 Cochituate Rd
Framingham

Brendan P Sullivan Electric

16 West St
Pembroke

BRIAN J DINSMORE LANDSCAPING

14 TOPLIFF ST
Billerica

BRISTOW ELECTRIC CO INC

74 FOREST ST
Attleboro

Brothers Property Management

2 Langevin st
Spencer

Brown Landscaping

136 Hamilton St
Worcester

CARDOSO ELECTRICAL SERVICES

414 LOWELL ST
Wakefield

Carlos Marini Electrician

483 Chestnut St
Franklin

Casello Electric

61 Golden Run Rd
Bolton

Castle Electric, Inc.

106 Access Rd
Norwood

Cederholm Electrical Contractors

14 Clapp Ave.
Weymouth

Christopher Nicholas Ellis

59 Bridge St
Salem

Colameta Landscaping - Groton

45 Pleasant Street
Groton

Combat Corp

24 Wright Ave

Concept

1794 Bridge Street
Dracut

Construction Specialties, LLC.

9 Poplar Street
Worcester

Crane's Property Maintenance

405 Groveland St
Haverhill

Cutting Edge Homes, Inc

100 Waverly St Ste 8
Ashland

D C KAUFMAN ELECTRICAL INC

18 Bailey Pl
Newtonville

D&E Construction

PO Box 870267
Milton Village

D.J.SALMON LAWN & LANDSCAPE, INC.

672 Millville Road
Uxbridge

Dale Design, Inc. Landscape Architecture

147 Cambridge St
Winchester

Dan Brown Electric

78 Plain St
Middleboro

Daniel and Co Landscaping and Design

120 Brookside Ave
Jamaica Plain

David J. Black Electric, LLC

741 Pulaski Blvd
Bellingham

Douglas S. Welton, Electrician LLC

922 Whipple Road
Tewksbury

Dumont Landscape Construction

302 Union Ave
Framingham

Earth Works Inc

160 Flagship Dr
North Andover

Earthscape Landscaping Inc.

409 Martins Pond Rd.
Groton

Elite Theater

74 Summer Street
Kingston

EV Landscaping

9 Newbury Neck Road
Newbury

Fairway Landscaping & Lawn Care

718 Washington St
South Easton

Falcone Home Solutions

133 Blue Hill Avenue
Boston

FB Electrical Services Inc

50 Kearney Rd
Needham Heights

Galway Electric Co. Inc.

329 Great Plain Ave
Needham

Garbarino Customs

37 Pine Island Road
Milford

Gardens Are, Inc.

100 Violetwood Circle
Marlborough

GC McGowan Design

53 Curtis St
Scituate

GLENN KRESCO CORP

98 E CHARLTON RD
Spencer

GLYNN ELECTRIC

11 RESNIK RD
Plymouth

Grasshopper Irrigation and Lighting

14 Boxcar Blvd
Tewksbury

Grasshopper Irrigation Inc

14 Box Car
Tewksbury

Greenworld Landscaping Corporation

1226 Columbia Rd.
Boston

Group Work Design Build

7 Windsor Dr
Plymouth

Grow & Mow

174 tremont st
Carver

GUERRINI LANDSCAPE INC.

703 EAST ST
Mansfield

Gulla Landscape Inc

467 Washington St
Norwood

H.O. Services

97 Mass. Ave.
Lexington

Halliday Construction

1408 Centre St
Roslindale

Handyman Pro

126 Washington St
Franklin

Harris and Company Landscaping

38 William Way
Bellingham

Hemenhalt Construction

PO Box 332
North Easton

Homesafe Property Preservation

P.O. Box 255884
Boston

J Martin Landscaping

34 Bartherick Rd
Westminster

J S PETITPAS ELECTRIC

237 GROVE ST
West Roxbury

J&S Landscaping, Inc

1 Oakland Street

JAM Creative Landscaping Inc.

235 West Boylston St
West Boylston

JAMES IRRIGATION

19 FROTHINGHAM RD
Burlington

James J Carleton Electric

PO Box 241
Boston

James M Butler Electric

10 Cowing St
Westroxbury

JARVIS LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS INC

65 Forge Village Road
Groton

Jim Fisher Electric Company

PO Box 2244
Natick

JJ Calnan and sons Contractors

17 Reservoir Road
Lynn

Jmac Tree and Landscape

102 Reservoir St
Needham

JMS Electric

20 Rutland St
Hudson

JMV Construction INC

33 Murdock st
Somerville

Joe O'Connell Electrical Services

20 Fairview Ave
Wilmington

John's Landscape Services Inc

30 Garden St
Arlington

Johnson electric

27 Oak St
Billerica

Joseph Kelly Electrician

368 W. Broadway
Boston

JP McCurdy Electrical Services Inc

17 Walnut Rd
Swampscott

JP O'Brien Electric LLP

12 Oakwood Rd
Wilmington

JTECH ELECTRIC INC

14 Murray Street
Chelsea

Kehoe Electric

72 Lowell Rd
Pepperell

khyco

210 PARK AVE, STE 291
Worcester

King Property Service

2029 Quaker st
Northbridge

KRIS-JON'S LANDSCAPE DESIGN

685 N BEDFORD ST
East Bridgewater

Landscape Depot Inc

350 Irving St
Framingham

Landscape Oasis LLC

P.O. Box 262
Norfolk

Landscape Visions Corp

P.O. Box 1294
Concord

Landscaping Concepts Inc

1673 Fall River Ave
Seekonk

Larchmont Engineering & Irrigation

11 Larchmont Ln
Lexington

Lowreys Landscapes

379 Chestnut St
Uxbridge

Lucidi Irrigation Inc

PO Box 1251
Framingham

M-Power Electric

East Weymouth

M. Foley Electric Inc.

69 Arborway
Boston

Marie Opidee Electric

10 Pumping Station Road
Peabody

Mass Hydro

679 Washington Street
Attleboro

MATT'S LANDSCAPING

120 POND ST
Seekonk

Mercer Construction

383 Savin Hill Ave
Dorchester

Metrowest Irrigation Co

57 Morton St.
Framingham

Midurski Bros. Landscaping Inc.

118 Cushing Street
Stoughton

Mills Electricial Inc

233 Copeland St
Brockton

MJ Home Services

Florida Ct
Maynard

Modern Concept Builders LLC

469 Mill St.
Worcester

Modern Landscaping Inc

328 Main St
North Easton

MR. RESPONSE ELECTRIC

P.O. BOX 194
Dudley

MTS Electrical Contracting LLC

31 Vincent St.
Saugus

Nardone Electrical Corp

100 Winchester St
Medford

Natural Path Landscaping LLC

9 Baker Street
Foxboro

NEENA'S LIGHTING

380 BOYLSTON ST
Boston

New England Star

255 Whipple St
Fall River

New School Tree & Landscaping

144 Pollard St
Billerica

Nicholas Tomaszczuk Electric

89 LEBANON ST
Melrose

O-Bees Electric LLC

48 Meadow Lane

Odd Jobs Done Right

33 Sylvanus Wood Ln.
Woburn

On Call Electric Inc

61Emmett St
Marlborogh

Only Connect LLC

99 Blanchard Rd
Cambridge

PATIOSCAPES

95 Arcadia RD
Westwood

Philip's Electric LLC

350 Massachusetts Ave
Arlington

Plus Landscape Solutions, Inc.,

120 Parker Street
Acton

Ponch Excavation LLC

3841
Roslindale

Pride Fence

20 Eustis Street
Saugus

Pride Landscaping Corp

143 Bow St
Everett

PW DiMasi Electric

63 Boynton St
Waltham

Quality Services, Inc.

29 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston

R F COOK ELECTRIC CO INC

15 DAY ST
Arlington

R.M.C. SERVICES

31 POPE ST
Hudson

Ralph Williams Landscape Design

104 Yellow Birch Lane
Lancaster

RAPID ELECTRICAL & CONTRACTING

55 SYDNEY
Somerville

REDMOND DESIGN GROUP

153 Lexington Rd
Lincoln

Robert Downey

685 Boston Rd
Billerica

Robinson Bros Electric

32 Lasell St
West Roxbury

RP Management

120 Main Street
North Chelmsford

S. F. HUGHES ELECTRIC, INC

64 Lewis Ave
Walpole

Salvatore Torcasio

18 cherry place
Newton

Sean Duffy Electrician

174 Gay Street
Norwood

Sean K Rego Electric

157 Errol Rd
Brockton

Silvestri Industries Inc

401 Wareham St # B
Middleboro

Simple Joy Gardens

McCormack Sq
Boston

Skapars Design Group LLC

2 Tower Dr
Dover

STEVE & SONS HOME REPAIR

46 BOSTON AVE
Somerville

Steve's Lawn Care, Inc.

PO BOX 233
Arlington

Stone Wall Designers Inc

114 Wheeler Rd
Stow

SUBURBAN YARD SPECIALISTS

P.O. Box 310
Winchester

T & G Electrical

14 Chickering Rd
Dedham

Tatiana de Queiroz

46 Edgeworth St
Worcester

Tendai Furusa Electrician

55 Middlesex St
N Chelmsford

The Electricians & Co Inc

50 Branch Street
Malden

The Gardeners Landscape

6 Main St
Kingston

The House Doctors

349 Marlborough St
Boston

The Veron Company

112 FOREST ST
Marlborough

Tompkins Landscape & Irrigation

128 Main St
North Andover

Top Notch Transitional Services

3 Boulevard St
Milton

Twins construction

104 waterhill st

Tyler Megaw Electrician

29 Elm Street
Amesbury

urbgardens, llc

4 Rutland Sq
Boston

W.J. Rossetti Licensed Electrician

235 grove street
Franklin

Walnut Hill Contracting

PO Box 654
Natick

Waterscapes of New England

PO Box 112
Groveland

Watertown Landscaping Inc

67 Smith Pl
Cambridge

Watts Control, Inc.

300 Eliot St.
Ashland

We Do That LLC

71 Grovers Avenue
Winthrop

Weed & Feed Inc. dba DHT Golf Services

8 Meadow Park Rd.
Plymouth

WHITMORE'S YARD CARE INC

656 Plymouth St
East Bridgewater

Wilde Irrigation

1490 Main St
Holden

WSC Landscape Construction

P O BOX 2693
Framingham

Yankee Mailbox Sign & Lantern

777 Madison St
Wrentham

Young Landscapes

Po box 142
Westminster

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