To whom it may concern,
I am very unsatisfied with a company recommended to us by a stone yard to put in a set of stone steps and retaining wall. I am not blaming The stone sellers; I only send this as a warning to others. John De Boer Landscaping was a disappointment. I left them to their work for the first 4 days of the job without interruption. The first conversation was to inform me they would not be digging the retaining wall as agreed. A major part of the project was digging a 4 foot deep retaining wall, which was clearly requested, described in the contract and applied to the cost. During the build I was informed they would be only doing a fraction of what we agreed (about 1 foot deep), They waited to inform me that they would be skipping it, until after the 40% deposit was paid. So I ended up with a 12 inch deep retaining wall not the 4 foot we had agreed to, with no reduction to price. There are a few technical things they said they would do to compensate for the change but nothing was done. As the paying customer, I felt like I was not being taken seriously and had lost control of my project. On the 4th day, we went out to see the progress, thinking we would cut our losses. At least they had rebuilt the wall in the right place. Due to weather, it had been tarped most of the time when they were not working but on the 4th day we could see how bad the stone was looking. I had a beautiful dry lay wall started by a previous team. Tim asked if I wanted it exactly the same, or could he uses some mortar. I agreed, imagining a clean evenly spaced mortar joints with similar stone placement to the previous build. What I got, was crooked walls, grossly uneven joints, poor stone selection including one stone with a 1 inch deep 3 inch wide hole in it, and mortar sloped all over the face of the stones that were once pristine. Tim assured us it was fine. We pointed out several things that were wrong, including a 5 inch mortar joint, and concave stones that looked like they came from a different wall. We were upset and complaining loudly, even saying "it looked like (the SH word)," to quote my mother. Tim insisted it was a good job and would not admit it had gotten away from him and also said it was illegal for us to yell at him or his workers, as his way of muzzling us from expressing our disgust with the work. Later he pulled me aside and blamed it all on his workmen, explaining they had family issues, an abusive mother, and he would fix what he could, which ended up being the 5 inch mortar joint. We also ask him to fix a very ugly stone arrangement and he agreed, too little too late. The project was a nothing like how we imagined it would be. We decided I would stay with them for the rest of the time they worked, as I did not trust that anything we agree to would be done. One day he began cutting stone at 7am on the Easter weekend Saturday, disturbing my neighbour who came out to complain about the noise. When Tim was approached by the neighbour, he told them he always starts at this time and wouldn't apologize as he was sure of the by-laws but in reality he was wrong. He later informed me, there would be a delivery charge of 100$ each time he had to go pick up for the job, which seemed okay until it seemed he was picking things up one at a time, and anything he broke in transit, he informed us, would be at my cost and I would be billed an additional 100$ to get the replacement. They arrived at 5:00 p.m on the day they were to finish the job and in less than an hour walked off the job leaving the project unfinished. With only 15% remaining on the bill, they insisted they wanted their money when they were done. I explained the job was not done until the city approved it had been done satisfying the permit. This was too much for him and he threatened to start smashing. I reminded him we have security cameras and he calmed down and packed up.
Not only was the project poorly constructed, they agreed and charged me for things that they later chose not to do, or skipped. I do not recommend them for stone work and am very disappointed.