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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

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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!

Simple Joy Gardens

McCormack Sq
Boston

Single Source NH

22 Millennium Way

Skapars Design Group LLC

2 Tower Dr
Dover

SMART LANDSCAPING

47 Belvidere Ave
Framingham

Soma Grounds & Irrigation

49 Fairview Hill
Lancaster

south shore landscape

126 A first parish rd
Scituate

south shore landscaping

po box 66
Scituate

Spera Landscaping

732 Brimfield Road po box 991
Warren

SPS Companies Inc.

646 Lowell St
Lawrence

STATE STONE MASONRY

221 Haverhill St
North Reading

STAY GREEN IRRIGATION CO

93 GEORGE LEVEN DR
North Attleboro

Stepping Stone Landscaping LLC

819A Loudon Ridge Road

Sterling Irrigation

21 Holden Rd
Sterling

STEVE & SONS HOME REPAIR

46 BOSTON AVE
Somerville

Steve's Lawn Care, Inc.

PO BOX 233
Arlington

STEVENS & SON LAWN MAINTENANCE

235 MILLBURY ST
Auburn

Stevens Lanscaping +

40 carpenter hill rd
Charlton

Stone Ridge Landscape & Design

35 Birchmeadow rd
Amesbury

Stone Wall Designers Inc

114 Wheeler Rd
Stow

SUBURBAN YARD SPECIALISTS

P.O. Box 310
Winchester

SUDBURY LAWN & LANDSCAPE CO.

345 BOSTON POST RD
Sudbury

SULLECTRIC Inc.

PO BOX 550
Milton

Sylvester Electric Inc

1168 Lakeview Ave
Dracut

T & G Electrical

14 Chickering Rd
Dedham

T&B Landscape and Irrigation

85 Flagship Drive
North Andover

Tatiana de Queiroz

46 Edgeworth St
Worcester

Tendai Furusa Electrician

55 Middlesex St
N Chelmsford

The Gardeners Landscape

6 Main St
Kingston

The Handymen Can

665 Mammoth Road
Lowell

The House Doctors

349 Marlborough St
Boston

The Irrigation Company

16 Worcester Road
Princeton

THE LAWN GUYS

PO BOX 1327
Burlington

The Productive Gardener

120 Pearl St
Cambridge

The Veron Company

112 FOREST ST
Marlborough

Thibault Electric

106 Gardners Neck Rd
Swansea

THOMPSON LANDSCAPING

14 COACHMANS LN
Haverhill

Three Phase Electric

9B Patriots Way
Sterling

Tompkins Landscape & Irrigation

128 Main St
North Andover

Top Notch Transitional Services

3 Boulevard St
Milton

Topping Landscaping

20 Albion Rd
Billerica

TOWN & COUNTRY LANDSCAPE

268 MILE HILL RD
Boylston

Trugreen Chemlawn

735 E Industrial Park Dr

Turf Technologies Inc

77 Industrial Dr
Uxbridge

Turf Works

7 NASHOBA TRAIL
Littleton

Turner Electrical Services

192 Stafford St
Charlton

Tyler Megaw Electrician

29 Elm Street
Amesbury

Unique Landscapes

100 Francestown Tpke

Uniquebuilders Inc.

44 Pond St
Norfolk

W H Ferris Landscaping

5 River Park Terrace
Andover

W.J. Rossetti Licensed Electrician

235 grove street
Franklin

Walnut Hill Contracting

PO Box 654
Natick

WALSH LANDSCAPING

3 Bancroft Place
Stoneham

Waterscapes of New England

PO Box 112
Groveland

Watertown Landscaping Inc

67 Smith Pl
Cambridge

Watts Control, Inc.

300 Eliot St.
Ashland

We Do Grass Landscaping

209 Bost Post Rd.
Wayland

Weed & Feed Inc. dba DHT Golf Services

8 Meadow Park Rd.
Plymouth

Weston Electric

11 Henshaw St
West Newton

White Birch Property maintenance

27 Cannon Hill Ave
Groveland

WHITMORE'S YARD CARE INC

656 Plymouth St
East Bridgewater

WikWorksInc

394 Lowell Street
Lexington

WJC Services

320 Central St
Rowley

WSC Landscape Construction

P O BOX 2693
Framingham

Wye-Delta Electric Inc.

170 Sherman St
Canton

Yankee Mailbox Sign & Lantern

777 Madison St
Wrentham

Yard Enforcer

10 jeanne st

Young Landscapes

Po box 142
Westminster

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