My one-acre yard is wooded and sloped. A lawn was first established on it over 20 years ago shortly after my house was built. Over the years, the backyard got shadier, the grass got thinner and thinner, and the soil eroded. The grade of the yard and the sparse ground cover resulted in so much erosion that the tree roots in the backyard became exposed and the yard was a muddy mess every time it rained. I called Pitzer’s on a Thursday in early March to get an estimate for building up the yard with topsoil and establishing a new lawn. Norman Pitzer called me back the same day and arranged to come out the next day (Friday) to look at my yard. Norman and I walked through the yard together and I told him about my concerns. It was raining at the time, so Norman could see how the water ran through the yard. As he assessed the situation, it was very apparent that Norman had a lot of experience with this type of erosion and runoff issue. He explained in detail how he would tackle the problem and gave me a breakdown of his charges. His approach was educational rather than high-pressure. The following Monday, Norman called me to see if I had any questions for him and to point out a related concern he had thought about over the weekend. He came out again that day and we discussed his concern: the sloped garden area that ran from the end of my driveway down to the backyard. He suggested that, since I planned to invest a lot of money and effort in a new lawn, I might want to consider some measures to reduce runoff into the new lawn and erosion from that area. We both agreed that this area should be addressed with some tiered, stone retaining walls. Norman gave me a very reasonable quote for doing this. He also agreed to take care of some bare and sunken areas in my front yard that needed more soil and seed -- which he threw in at no extra charge. I hired him. Norman was very particular about the work that he and his team did in my yard. He made the timing of my project a priority because the weather had to be just right (dry ground for spreading the soil, followed by spring rains for germinating the seed). The project was very labor intensive. There was no way to get a soil slinger to the backyard, so the soil was all dumped in the street, carried back by bobcat (load after load after load) and spread by hand. Norman then spread and raked in a special blend of grass seed, hydro-seeded over that (because over-seeding would attain the best results), and again raked in the seed. He ended up providing an additional tandem of soil and repairing a large part of the side yard at no additional change, because he thought that improving the side yard would help slow down the runoff from the side to and through the backyard. After finishing the the seeding, Norman set up hoses and sprinklers around the perimeter of the seeded area to make it easier for me to keep the soil moist during seed germination. Five days after the seed was spread, we had a record-breaking storm that dumped 3 3/4 inches of rain on the yard in less than a day. Norman called me to follow up on his work and came out to see how the soil had held. There were a few ruts caused by the massive, flood-level downpour, but overall the yard was surprisingly intact. Norman made plans to come back and fill in the ruts once the ground had dried enough to walk on. Unseasonably cold weather and heavy rains continued mercilessly throughout the next month and a half. These affected the germination and growth of the new grass seed and made it impossible for Norman’s team to fill in the ruts without sinking into the dirt. (They did come out and attempt the repairs but found that doing so would do more harm than good.) Norman therefore arranged to re-hydro-seed the entire area, which he could do without walking on the area, and to come back when the ground was drier to fill in and reseed the ruts. When Norman first came to see me, he probably could have offered to do an abbreviated and more superficial job, using less topsoil and covering a smaller area, just to improve the aesthetics of the yard while keeping his costs down. However, he clearly wanted to do the job properly, so I would never again have a problem with bare areas or erosion. It was apparent that Norman had a lot of experience with this type of project. He talked about the importance of adequate amounts of soil, the right kind of soil, the proper grade, the right kind of seed, the best timing, etc. He also suggested several other things he could do to help the yard (like spreading gravel under the deck to reduce soil erosion from that area, trimming lower tree limbs in the backyard to allow in more light and wind to dry up wet areas), explaining how the combination of measures would result in a better lawn with less runoff and erosion. He was very sensitive to my wish to reduce or slow down any runoff that naturally flowed down to my neighbors’ yards. I always felt that Norman was very honest and was interested in doing the best work possible for me. He also used the best products, including the right shade grass seed mixture and premium topsoil with an appropriate blend of manure and sand. The project turned out to cost more money than I had originally planned to spend. However, given all the materials (e.g., 140 tons of topsoil, gravel, mulch, heavy stones for the retaining wall and walkway) and work that had to be done, the price was more than fair. In fact, Norman ended up doing far more for me than I had a right to expect under our agreement. He followed up with me on a regular basis and came out to the house many times after completing the project. Norman is very responsive, responsible, and courteous. He takes a lot of pride in doing a job well. In addition, he is an extremely nice, thoughtful person -- the kind of person I take pleasure in working with.