I believe I’m going to be taken to small claims by a landscape designer who did absolutely terrible work. ?

I have a landscape designer attempting to collect almost $700 from me for what I believe to be absolutely horrible service. She is charging me $350.00 alone for putting together a pencil drawing, (not to scale and not done with any professional graphics) of two medium size flower beds claiming it took her Six 1/2 hours to design and draw what to me looks like a child’s drawing. No other data was provided other than the names of plants placed and the handwriting is so small I can hardly make out the names of the flowers and/or shrubs. No estimate was done, no contract or paperwork done upfront either. We didn’t have any talk aboution of fees at all. Shame on me for not asking but if I thought for 1 minute she would be charging this much I of course would have denied the work. She also wants to collect $150.00 for picking out about ten plants and placing them in a very small courtyard in my backyard claiming it took her three hours to do this. I feel I’m being taken advantage of…….any thoughts out there?
additional data: I already paid her $200.00 for the plants, she charged me an additional $150.00 for picking the plants out at a local nursery and simply placing on the beds – she didn’t plant them. I had a friend help me put them in the ground. there were approximately twelve plants, none over one gallon. Over and above this work she is charging me the $350.00 for nothing more than the rudimentary drawings of names of plants hand written and I never received any original copies. she was too rushed as she was leaving town and had to scan and email them to me. I know, shame on me for not getting an estimate up front put come on, if you could see the plans your jaw would drop. I didn’t approve for her to move forward with purchasing any plants or any other additional work after I received the $350.00 invoice.

5 Comments on “I believe I’m going to be taken to small claims by a landscape designer who did absolutely terrible work. ?

  1. Contract laws vary state by state, but I do not believe that any state considers there to be a contract, if there is no signed paper contract, no verbal agreement and no money changing hands.

    Do you have a bill of sale for the $150 she is charging you for the plants she actually planted? I’m thinking you may be stuck with that bill, regardless, because they did work and planted plants.

    I think what I’d do is ask around for names of really well-known, professional and ethical landscape companies/nurseries, call 1 or 2 of them and speak with their landscape engineers about what to do. They may be willing to help you out, especially if it might mean that you will use them for your projects, instead!

  2. First, what was the other almost $200 for.
    Second, the $150 for the installation may be reasonable. It depends on where you live and your market as well as the size of the plant and other factors. In the Atlanta metro area, in sounds right.
    Third, the design sounds pricey, but then college graduate designers are pricey. I am quite good at designing, but self and tech school educated. I would draft a plan correctly for $350, but I would do the entire front or back yard, or both if small and easy. When my husband and I had our landscape business, I would do a hand sketch for free if you used us to do the installation.
    Whatever her credentials, I do not think that I would pay if I am dissatisfied with the results.

  3. Hhhhmmm, it’s a difficult one.
    Ethically she*s in the wrong for not making her scale of fees clear from the outset. I always let my client know what I charge & give them an estimate up front.
    But she could argue that you did not ask & that you commissioned the work.
    If the sketch is sub-standard as you describe then that should be apparent to any mediator should it get that far.
    Perhaps check with the local or state industry body, horticultural or design, if they’ve an acceptable scale of rates & see where she fits in in that respect.
    Her rates do not sound excessive to me it seems the case is more of sub-standard work and a failure to disclose her fees upfront.

  4. get another landscape designer to offer their opinion of the whole layout, plan, and final work of the first, plus alternative costs and possible/plausible solutions. It may cost you some more money, but without a 2nd opinion from an alternate business, you cannot win in court.

    In my opinion, her fees for the work are not out of line, and are actually economical for what was promised. many others not cutting you a break, would charge in the area of $1500 or so for the same plan and effort.

    Perhaps in the future, you should have your local nursery or home center perform the work you request.

  5. Maybe you’ll end up on 1 of the Judge Shows. LOL

    Seriously now.
    Since no contract was signed, did you have a verbal one? Why wouldn’t you talk about the price before letting someone do the work. Have you taken pictures of the work? If not shame on you. Make sure you take the drawings to court with you.
    Did you tell her to go ahead with the work? Do you have any witnesses that overheard your conversation with her?
    You need to think of all these things before going to court.
    Maybe you should beat her to the draw and file the claim first. Just make sure you ask that she pays the curt cost if you win.