DC Landscaping Company

Part of the You Can Learn Landscaping and Gardening series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, YouCanLearnSeries.com
July 9, 2006

You know I really don't like saying negative things about people and companies. I think it causes bad karma. But, I also don't like being taken advantage of by companies. This article is about a company, DC Landscaping that I feel took advantage of me.

I will present the facts, as I see them and you can evaluate whether I am wrong or not.

In the fall of 2004, we began conversations with DC Landscaping to do some landscaping for us in our backyard. They sent a professional landscape designer to our house and we talked about our desires for the back yard landscaping. Jim, the designer, looked at our back yard and talked to us about what we liked and didn't like concerning flowers and trees.

After spending an hour or so talking with us about our desires, he went back to the DC Landscaping office and put togther a landscaping plan. Mary and I evaluated the plan and liked some of the things in the plan, but we also asked for some changes to be made. We did this a couple of more times and finally we all agreed on the plan.

We Place a Deposit for Thousands of Dollars in April

Jim wrote up the plan and gave us an invoice for the work to be done. In April of 2005, we put a deposit down for half the amount of the landscape job. The cost of the project was many thousands of dollars. Jim informed us that it was going to be a few weeks before the weather was good enough in the Chicago area to do the work.

The last week in May 2005 the weather was considered good enough to do the job. DC Landscaping had purchased the plants previously in the spring and they were sitting around their facility. When the landscaping team came to our house, they marked out the landscape plan, removed the sod and planted the plants we had ordered. There were day lilies, russian sage, threadleaf coreopsis, cone flowers, star magnolia tree, crimson king maple, viburnum, dwarf lilacs, gold flame spirea, roses, yarrow, dianthus and phlox. We gave Jim a check for the balance of the landscaping project.

The Plants weren't Healthy

The first thing we noticed were the plants weren't that healthy. Even in early spring we were in the beginnings of a drought. We don't really think that DC Landscaping had done a very good job in keeping the plants watered before doing our landscaping. Mary and I did our best to keep the plants watered and healthy through out the summer.

Most of the plants survived the hot dry summer. We lost a couple of black-eyed susans and one of the viburnums. Mid September, we called DC Landscaping to let them know that we would like a replacement plant for the viburnum we lost. I spoke to the receptionist and she told me that they would start replacing lost plants in the near future. I was happy with that answer and so I waited.

After a couple of weeks, I hadn't heard anything from DC Landscaping. So I called to check on the status. The receptionist answered and told me that Jeff would call me back to tell me when he would replace the viburnum. Another week or so went by and Jeff still hadn't called me back. I again called and the receptionist said that Jeff would call me back. I hadn't heard from him yet, so I figured I would go higher up the management chain. I just wanted an idea when the plant would be replaced. If they told me it was going to be the end of October or something, I would have accepted that as an answer. But, they told me nothing.

No One From DC Landscaping Calls Me Back

The receptionist informed me that Jeff was the owner and I couldn't go any higher than him. I let her know that I was interested in a date when the viburnum was to be replaced and could she have the owner call me. She said she would try, but she couldn't force him to call me. I said okay.

I waited another week and decided that I had enough. I called back and received the same message from the receptionist. I said, "I need a phone call when this plant will be replaced. If I don't receive a phone call, then I will contact the Better Business Bureau, West Chicago Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Attorney Generals Office." Later that same day I received a phone call from DC Landscaping and was informed the plant would be replaced within the week.

Sure enough the plant was replaced. Again the plant looked a little worse for wear. But we had our plant. We thought we were done with DC Landscaping.

The winter was a little strange, with cold weather early and then some unusually warmer weather in late winter. My wife and I were concerned that all the plants would experience some weather related problems but luckily the plants came up and were not affected by the heavy frosts. Even the Star Magnolia bloomed with large, beautiful, white flowers. The Crimson King Maple produced buds that looked like they were going to bloom any day.

The Crimson King Maple Dies

A couple of weeks later the Crimson King Maple still hadn't bloomed. We waited another week and decided that the maple had experienced a heavy frost just as it was about to bloom and it was too much for the plant.

So in Mid May we began the arduous task of talking to DC Landscapingagain. I called and talked with the receptionist again. She said she would tell Jeff. Nothing happened. I contacted them again within a week. Nothing happened. I tried again a week later. No answer and I left a message on the answering machine. I tried a couple of more times that week and received the answering machine. I thought maybe the receptionist was on vacation.

After 5 Weeks, DC Landscaping Calls Us Back.

The following week Mary began calling. She experienced the same problems I had. The receptionist did nothing to help us and Jeff never called us back. After five attempts at being nice to them, she threatened them about contacting the Better Business Bureau and the West Chicago Chamber of Commerce. A couple of days latered she received a phone call from DC Landscaping. The receptionist called Mary back to let her know that we didn't contact them soon enough. She claimed that we didn't request the plant to be exchanged soon enough. The plant was only guaranteed till April of 2006. One year from the date when we originally signed the contract.

So even though the tree had not been planted in our backyard until Late May, DC Landscaping considered the one year guarantee on the Crimson King Maple to have begun in April when we signed the contract.

This is a photo of the landscaping done by DC Landscaping and the dead Crimson King Maple in the foreground
This is a photo of the landscaping done by DC Landscaping and the dead Crimson King Maple in the foreground
. The Crimson King Maple is the tree that DC Landscaping wouldn't replace for us. Click on the link to see a larger photo.

Do Not Use DC Landscaping for Your Landscaping Needs

Needless to say, I recommend you do not use DC Landscaping for your landscaping needs. And the main reason is because if you have a problem with them you will be totally dissatisfied with their customer service. If Jeff would have called me back immediately to inform me of his decision, then I would not have had a problem with it. But, because he NEVER called me back, then I was just another poor sucker that he was allowed to take thousands of dollars from and not provide the service he guaranteed.

I need to say this again in case you didn't read it the first time, do not use DC Landscaping for your landscaping needs. There are plenty of landscapers in this area that are anxious to do work for you and will be responsive to you and any problems you might have. DC Landscaping does not fit into this category. So save your money and more importantly, keep from being frustrated with their customer service. Don't use DC Landscaping.

I have tried to present this article fairly. Email me if you think I am being unreasonable.

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