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I just gave a landscaping contractor a check for 21,500 dollars as 50%down payment for a significant job around my backyard and pool area. He did beautiful work for my own mother but now he is not showing up at my house. its been 4 weeks and I have one retainer wall removed and nothing else done. He says whatever you want to hear when you complain but he is a no show. what course of action can I take.

Hi Carolyn

I am sorry to hear about your predicament.

This is a difficult situation to be in and needs to be handled with care at this stage.

Looking at this from a contractors point of view the work should have been continuous after start unless there had been an agreed time scale otherwise from the off.

Are there any agreed terms and conditions for the project and did the contractor give you an idea of how the job was to be tackled?

Have you heard from any other source if the contractor is any kind of financial trouble?

I am not a legal expert and can only talk from experience but I think you should write a letter in the first instance detailing everything you think you agreed and ask specifically what the reason for the no show is.

If you do not receive a favourable response I sense that legal action may be required.

It is not the best of situations to be in but damage limitation should be your initial aim.

Hopefully, your contractor is experiencing a blip in procedure. Maybe he has taken on too much and is trying to keep more than one client happy at the same time.

Good luck with the outcome.


Nice article. As a landscape designer I would like to add that hiring good contractors can be a bit of of a challenge specially when there are literally hundreds of landscaping companies to choose from.

One way of finding the right one is to look around your neighborhood and ask the name of the contractor who did a splendid job in their property. This allows you to see first hand the quality of work rendered.

Also, a good contractor will walk you through the process of the project. How long will it take, will your idea work out, is it possible or not. Is it doable or not, will it be more expensive that you originally planned. They would advice you of what is more practical in achieving the same goals.

In short, a good contractor will work together with you and not just do what he pleases.

This is a really good article!

I agree the importance of selecting a good contractor to carry out your landscaping works and would strongly agree selecting a firm registered with BALI or APL.

I sorry to hear the problems that Carolyn Ryan are facing.

With an APL member you have a customer charter that all complaints are dealt with.

With APL members they are trustmark accredited which give you a warrenty for the works which covers you for your deposit and works for a total of 6 years, so say if the company took a deposit off you and went bust the trustmark will cover you and will either give you your money back or arrange for another APL member to carry out the works for the price quoted. I think a no brainer!!

I am a Landscaper and a registered member of the APL and have found clients are a lot more at ease with the works as they know that we have been vetted and on site inspected and know that we are not 'cowboys' but are fully qualified knowledgable landscapers.

I like to ensure that we plan the jobs so that we are on site for the duration of the project and not leaving time and time again (unlike Carolyns landscaper)

I hope this has given a bit of reassurance for people in selecting a professional landscaper.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any extra info [email protected] or visit my website which has the links for the APL and trustmark at

As a grounds maintenance contrator i can relate to this article. providing customers with previous work carried out is always a good idea, it gives the client some confidence in your workmanship

I recommend researching some of the best know landscape designers in their field. they can then do the design and recommend a quality firm to carry out the work too.


I was in a similar position to you a couple months ago and I found a company called Dreaming Green, I found them by typing gardener in London on Google. After I had a polite chat with them I found out that they actually helped out on an episode of cowboy builders (they were the good guys) and they pulled off a terrific job and at an affordable price.

i had faced a similar situation where i thought it is Garden contractor and it turned out to be someone else.

It's interesting how you suggest that the condition of a landscapers equipment and vehicle can be a tell tale sign of their aspirations. I have a few landscaping projects that require the knowledge and skills of a professional, so I thinking I will hire a landscape contractor. I never thought to look at their vehicle or equipment, but I like the idea of a contractor who uses equipment that isn't rusty and old.

I think it is really great how you mention getting quotes or estimates from reputable before the job starts. I never knew that a quote was binding by law but an estimate wasn't. My husband and I are looking for a landscape contractor for our desert of a back yard. This was really helpful since neither of us have hired a contractor before. Thanks for the advice, I will keep it in mind to specify a quote before the project.

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