We engaged Elmvale to make a proposal for our landscaping requirements. A representative dropped by for an initial visit, followed a few weeks later by two senior reps who made what we thought was an attractive proposal. (Their enthusiasm was actually contagious!) We paid a deposit and were pleased to see them begin the job within a few days.
The contract was a straight-forward job of adding soil, fabric and mulch/river wash. However, the soil was not applied as per the contract. We had to plead with them to apply it in a small area at the corner of the back yard, but that was all we got. The contact also specified ‘edging’ along the perimeter of the rear flower beds. We saw no evidence of this. The crew worked hard but toward the end of the day we suspected that they wanted to finish and be done with us. When they pronounced the job done we reluctantly paid the balance, but it left a really bad taste in our mouths. Here’s why:
As we contemplated the experience, we felt compelled to point out to them that the contract had called for the application of soil throughout the back yard no fewer than four times. Their first response was: ‘it was not needed’. This despite the fact that we had been quoted a price which included the application of soil and had paid in full. Nor could we agree that any edging had in fact been done. What really grated was that an Elmvale rep had initially mentioned to us at the beginning that soil was indeed needed. Yet they retroactively contradicted themselves by saying that it was not required. In short, the contract was not fulfilled.
We dispatched an email pointing this out and noting that since the mulch, fabric, and wash had been applied, there was little prospect of adding soil. We therefore felt justified in asking for a refund for that part of the contract which was demonstrably not fulfilled – i.e., the soil that they did not apply and the labour that was not expended. At the time of writing (almost 4 weeks later) we have received no response.
We cannot deny our backyard looks better than before (previously it was wild and neglected). But corners were definitely cut: in addition to the soil issue, the edges are done with no proficiency; the border between the lawn and mulch is indistinguishable (see photo). We are ready to do our part to maintain our property, but the experience has not been entirely satisfactory. The dismissal of our concerns with a blithe ‘You were happy that day’ struck us as an attempt to evade responsibility for not observing the full terms of the contract on the day they were here so the crew could wrap up, insist on payment, and move on.
We regret that Elmvale, in effect, altered the contract without our consent and, having done so, did not offer to adjust the invoice accordingly. This is unfortunate for us and for an otherwise good landscaper’s reputation.