Since we got bamboozled in 2014 by a company hired to renovate our on-suite bathroom and bedroom, we have been extremely mistrustful of the construction industry. Although this changed for us in 2018 when we contracted “DBK Bathrooms and Kitchens” to add an extension to the house and remodel our kitchen and dining room, the bitter taste of the 2014 project remained when we were getting landscaping companies to quote the work we desired for our backyard.
After 4 months of searching and meeting with 6 companies and contractors, we settled on Yards Unlimited. Three of the contractors we met with never sent us a quote; one never provided references; and another was at par with Yards Unlimited but we were not convinced of their project design process. Yards Unlimited provided references who gave them great reviews when we contacted them.
The initial contact with Ian Stewart, owner of Yards Unlimited, was pleasant and we followed his advice and first met with his designer Jeff Rolland to flesh out our desired outcome. Similar to the approach our 2018 designer took, Jeff spent a great of deal of time listening to our ideas and came on site for a walk-around, and unbeknownst to us, he was observing how we were walking towards our backyard and how we were standing in it. This, coupled with our discussions had him suggest the design we accepted, which responded to our desires and most importantly, our needs … which at times were not aligned. This would now lead to the actual quote.
At Yards Unlimited, it is Ian who priced out every item of the project. This allowed us the flexibility to modify material or parts of the project to suit our budget. It only took 2 redrafts to land on the final scope of work. All the paperwork and contract were completed in October last year and we also confirmed the contract with “Al’s Fencing” who would get that part of the backyard project done and who would coordinate their work plan with Yards Unlimited’s. The ballpark start date: May 2020. We were excited about the prospect of having a fully redesigned backyard in time for summer 2020. Then: COVID-19 popped up.
Yards Unlimited was very understanding of our concerns about scheduled payments due in April in light of the COVID-19 situation and they delayed the required payments until the Ontario Health Authorities gave the green light for construction projects to commence. For weeks leading up to the start of the project, Ian kept us informed and with the weather cooperating, the project started on May 18th and everything was completed within the schedule presented to us in October last year: within three weeks.
The crews that worked on the landscaping, the garden and deck construction were respectively led by Graham, Michaela, and Blair. All three worked extremely well with their teammates and their craftsmanship is only equaled by their attention to client service. Not one question we had seemed to bother them and in fact, they would proactively reach out to us to gauge our appreciation of the work being done, as it was happening. They were very cordial and very pleasant to have around. It was even sad when they left.
We don’t think we’ll ever get past our 2014 experience and this is unfortunate for the Industry and for companies who genuinely care for the work that they do and for the clients that they serve. That said, we would absolutely recommend Yards Unlimited to anyone looking to remodel their yard and property. We will think of Ian Stewart, Jeff Rolland, Graham, Zack, Michaela, Rochelle, Blair and Mina their bookkeeper for years to come, at least as we are sitting in the Gazebo having a meal with family and friends or relaxing and conversing over refreshments in our new outdoor living room Thank you Yards Unlimited !!