|Part of the
You Can Learn Landscaping and Gardening series.
By Ken Brown
Updated: 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
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
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
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.
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