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Hardscaping reviews in Selbyville

  • D
    Creative Landscapes of Delmarva
    In starting, I have never had a paver patio installed and had no idea exactly how everything should be done, how it should look, what to lookout for and I was relying on the guidance and direction of Lonny Arter who is part owner of Creative Landscapes.    
    I met Lonny Arter, who is part owner of Creative Landscapes of Delmarva, at a home, condo and garden show in March 2013.  I explained what the type of patio I wanted and he gave me his card.  A few weeks later I called him and asked him to meet me at my house so I can show him where I wanted the paver patio located, get some ideas from him and get a quote.  A couple days later Lonny emailed me a quote and we eventually worked out the details for the work I wanted done.  Lonny was very responsive to all my questions and explained the phases of the job.  One of my main concerns was about standing water on the patio.  So, I asked if water would lay on the patio and he said with the way he would grade the patio, there would not be any standing water.  He also said that when the job was completed, it would look like they were never even there. So, all seemed to be falling into place and I was comfortable with what I was being told. 
    When Lonny and his crew started the work in early June, we had some days of rain, so the ground was went.  The patio was to be built in my back yard, so the all the materials and their machinery was located in my driveway at the front of my house.  They had a small front loader that they used to scoop out the dirt where the patio was to be built and drove that from my back yard, around the side of my house, thru my front yard to their truck to unload the dirt. Eventually there was the starting of some ruts.  It didn't seem too bad and I assumed any damage done, they would fix at the end.  As time went on and they used the front loader to carry the pavers to the back yard, the ruts were deep and ran from my front yard all the way to the back yard.  Throughout the process of building the patio and sitting wall, there were days in which the crew would not show up until the afternoon to work.  Some of those days were very nice in the morning and then called for rain in the afternoon, so their work schedule did not make sense to me?  Before they ever started the working on my patio, Lonny said they would be at my house around 8:30-9am to start working, so I am not sure why he said they would start in the am? 
    I asked Lonny to do a "random" pattern for the patio and half way thru it I realized he was doing an "I" pattern and I brought it up to him.  He said that was his mistake and he said he would remove all the pavers he laid and re do it.  I told him don't worry about it because I wanted to get the job done because I was having my son's birthday party at the end of the month and needed everything to be done by the end of the month (the I patter actually looks ok). 
    On the ends of the wall he said he did a "custom" job for the blocks at the end.  They did not look right to me or my wife, so he re-did them.  When he re-did them, they looked a bit better, but still seemed not how they should be.  Lonny said they had to be cut that way so the end of the wall looked natural.  He also said that if I do not really like how it looks, I can always put a planter in front of it to cover the cuts he made.  This should have been my first warning that it was not done right.  But as I stated before, I was going off his word since this is what he does and I have no experience in it.  
    A few days before the job was "completed" (job was completed on Wednesday June 26th) Lonny said he was just going to fill in the ruts with some soil and spread grass seed.  I told him that was unacceptable because my sons 3rd birthday party was going to be on Sunday June 30th at my house and there was going to be 10-15 kids running around my back yard.  I told him from day
    one of the job that everything needed to be done because I had a big party at the end of the month.  So, I told him he
    needed to put sod down where they damaged my yard.  He said he would, but I had to pay for the sod and he wouldn't beat me up on labor. I reluctantly agreed because I needed the sod put down asap.  Once the sod was put in and the patio was done (June 26th), Lonny said the other damaged areas of the yard where sod was not put in, that grass would grow back in a 2 weeks or so.  On this same day, the irrigation guy was at my house rerouting some of the irrigation lines.  As he tested the lines, he found 6 breaks in the irrigation lines where the sod was laid. So, Lonny's crew broke those lines while digging out some of the areas to lay the sod.  I told Lonny that his crew broke the lines and the cost to fix those was about $200 and that it should be taken off what I owed him.  I know he was not happy with what I requested, but he agreed to take $200 off.  When it was time to pay him, I was just so tired of dealing with him and against my better judgment, I paid Lonny the remaining balance that was due (minus $200 for the broker irrigation lines). I did consider paying only a portion of the full balance and then pay the remaining amount once the damaged areas of my yard completely grew back, but I decide the right thing to do on my part was to pay the full balance and trust that if there were any issues that came up, Lonny would address them. After Lonny and the irrigation guy left, I turned my irrigation on and noticed1 more break in a line where they laid the sod. I was so tired of dealing with Lonny, that I just called the irrigation
    company and asked them to come back out and fix that break.
    During the next few days, I noticed that many of the sodded areas were sinking in and some areas of sod were below my existing yard line.  On July 1, I called Lonny and told him of the issues and he said he would come back down and fix them.  I also told him then that another line had been broken by his crew.  I did not ask him to pay for it, but I thought he might say he was sorry or offer to pay for the break, which he did neither.  Later that day I sent Lonny a text to let him know exactly where the problem areas
    were and asked him to walk all the sodded areas and fill in all the low or sinking spots.  Unknown to Lonny, I purposely stepped on one of the low sodded areas and my foot sunk right into the sod leaving an obvious damaged area (I did this because I knew I would not be home when the came to fix the sod).  On July 2 at 1:06pm I got an email from Lonny that they finished and that I should leave my irrigation off and let the yard dry out.  At 2:06 I texted him back thanks for the update and that the irrigation had been off for a few days. At 6:38 I sent Lonny a text that I got home and looked at the sod and that there are still numerous areas of sod that are still sinking or below the existing yard level.  I also said that I was not sure what areas he filled, but it was not all of them and he needed to fix the problem areas completely (The area where I purposely stepped into the sod was not fixed).  He texted back at 6:57 that with all the rain, my yard is saturated and let it dry out and give the sod a chance to take and then look at it.  At 7:00 I texted him that there is sod below the existing yard level and that level of the sod is not going to change when it dries out and to please call me to discuss.  He never responded to that text.  On July 3 at 10:23am, I left Lonny a message that he never answered my text from the night before and for him to call me about getting them back to my house to fill in the areas under the sod that were sinking or below the existing yard level.  As of this post (9/30/13),  I have never heard back from Lonny.  So, I had to spend about 90 minutes of my own time pulling up the sodded areas that were issues and filling in with dirt and then relaying the sod.  This is something they should have done.  So, my opinion is that when the check I wrote him cleared my bank on July 3, he knew he had his money and was done with me.  I see no other way to explain it.  My opinion is that the contractor made a very poor attempt to fix my yard and once the check cleared, he was done with me, thus no return calls or efforts to fix the problems. Also, as last week, my grass has not fully come back in areas of my yard in which sod was not laid and I spent about 4 hours prepping the bare spots, laying some topsoil and grass seed.
    Now for other issues which were brought to my attention by another hardscaper and a construction supervisor after the job was done and I also noticed a few other issues. 
    1. The other hardscaper and a construction supervisor both asked me why Lonny's crew did not put plywood down on the grass to
    prevent damage.  They both said this is standard, especially if the ground was wet. If this was done, my yard would not have been so damaged.
    2. The other hardscaper showed me some areas of the patio and sitting wall that were not done to industry standards, especially the "custom" ends of the sitting wall.
    3. I found numerous cigarette butts around my patio area and in the flower one in my house smokes, so the workers thought it was ok to just leave there cigarette butts laying around my yard.
    4. Coming off my steps, there pavers are not level, they are off 1/2" to 3/4". 
    5. The fire pit top stone cap is not centered with the copper bowl.
    ***6. The patio is graded towards the fire pit and sitting wall.  So, when it rains, my fire it is surrounded by water and if it is a heavy rain, it has taken as long as 7 hours for the water to go away.
    In light of my poor experience, I highly recommend that no one use Creative Landscapes of Delmarva or Lonny Arter services and I wish I would have never hired them.  I know I cannot change what happened to me, but I want to make sure that others know what they are about so they can make an informed decision.

    - David W.
  • A
    Whitaker's Landscape & Construction
    This was the third landscape contracter that worked on my paver problems. He is a nice young man with 8 years experience working for another company. This is his first year in business. He was polite, prompt and honest.
    - Joe N.
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Patio Pavers in Selbyville

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