LLE was recommended to us by our pool company (since they do not handle the landscaping), and was the less expensive of 2 quotes we received (in hindsight, this should have been our first red flag). The pool company assured us that they had worked with Shawn for several years and that he did good work, so we were confident in our decision. Initially, Shawn was great to deal with: eager, responsive, confident. He worked with us to develop a plan for the backyard, and there are aspects of the early work that we are quite happy with today.
We had expected Shawn to be present for the entirety of the job, but he contracted some guys that he had previously worked with to install the pool coping. The work was passable at best, and we had to have them adjust many of the stones because they were not laid carefully. They also placed them too high, leaving a huge gap between the pool shell and the coping that was later filled with mortar (and is constantly chipping away to this day). As the weather turned cold, the work got sloppier. It was clear that they were rushing and the patio itself had large gaps (finger width or more) and sloppy cuts, along with uneven heights from one paver to another. My wife was home when he hit the house with the equipment he was using, but he didn’t mention it to us, and there is clear damage to the parging on the foundation to this day. Shawn had taken on too much work and was having to split his time (poorly) between several jobs, and wasn’t able to dedicate enough of his time or attention to completing the project properly and on time. When the patio was complete, they brushed in the polymeric sand but never tamped the patio so the sand did not fully penetrate the gaps and, in many areas, never hardened. The photos show just a few of the problem areas that I (the homeowner) ripped up and re-did properly because I couldn’t stand the look at it anymore and I knew that even if Shawn did stand behind his work, he was incapable of the level of detail that was required.
Our yard had drainage issues before the pool went in, and I communicated my concerns to Shawn. He assured me that he could fix it, and installed some big-o pipe to collect and re-direct the water. Unfortunately, in his infinite wisdom, he ran a perforated pipe over the gravel filled hole for the pool, which did absolutely nothing to address the drainage. I ended up running my own drainage line across the back of the yard to direct the water the other way, and installing a sump pump with buried discharge line to manage the water.
The waterfall feature turned out to be a beautiful showpiece, but Shawn made a stupid decision to bury the water line connection below the ground and I’m fairly certain it has leaked since day one. I haven’t yet dug down to find the connection, but I plan to when time permits. In the mean time, we try to minimize our use of the waterfall because of the volume of water we lose. The patio stairs (photo included) is another story. In an attempt to save me money, Shawn bought a large stone and cut it up in order to build the stairs. I trusted that he knew what he was doing, but his first attempt was a disaster. One of the stones cracked down the middle and had a huge chunk missing. I asked him to replace it, but I was never happy with the results (both from a cosmetic and practicality standpoint). He said he’d fill the gaps with mortar and we’d never see them, but they look horrible (mortar is cracked and a different colour than the rocks). My concerns that they would be painful on the feet went unanswered, but someone hurts themselves on the stairs multiple times per week. Also, they are SO large that they take up much of our seating area. Eventually, I plan to rent a piece of equipment and replace them myself with something smoother and more attractive.
I would NEVER recommend LLE to anyone, unless they want to save a little money the first time around and re-do the entire project later.