We engaged Green Apple in the summer of 2021 because they advertised themselves as the leading experts in Toronto regarding Front Yard Parking Pads. We paid for a front yard design. In short, we received the absolute bare minimum level of support, a generic unusable design that was way over our budget, and lots of wrong information.
Build Cost: The design was quite generic and not suitable for our home. We reached out to 15+ landscaping contractors for a build quote, and every single one of them gave us a quote of at least 2-2.5x the budget we had told Green Apple for the design. 0/10
Design Cost: The design cost is significantly higher than other landscaping companies. They maintain that this is due to providing support and knowledge for front yard parking applications. It is not worth it as no support is really provided. Another minor issue is that we were told that if we paid in advance we would receive a small discount. However, when the landscape designer got on site, he told us we had to pay there and then or he would leave. We intended on paying in advance anyways, but it seemed strange to mislead us about payment options. 2/10
Design: Every single one of the contractors we contacted for a build quote identified the same issue with the design (which we flagged during the initial design review and were told it could not be changed). Essentially, the design is unusable for actually doing the work. We had to make significant modifications in layout and materials, which begs the question as to why we paid so much for the design in the first place. 2/10
Support during the application process: As mentioned, one of the key points they advertise is that they are experts in front yard parking applications. Be warned, the extent of the support is that they e-mail the application in then send you a short pdf on how to talk to your neighbors during the polling. 2/10
Timeline: The timeline between requesting a design and obtaining and submitting the design to the city was good. A total of a bit less than 2 months including site visit, design, one revision and submission to the city. 7/10.
Some additional details on issues we faced with the design:
- The front yard parking pad dimensions were wrong as it did not include the required 0.3m driveway (no-parking-zone)
- As mentioned before, the cost to build as per the design was over 2x what we told them our budget was.
- There is an excessively large planter that we flagged during design and were told it was necessary. Not a single landscaping contractor was comfortable with building it as per the design as they did not think it would look good.
- We were told to not request a curb cut until then end of the process. When we asked the city bylaw officer about the curb cut, they told us that we should have requested it at the start and now it will be significantly delayed.
- Approximate cost of services:
- Company Response
We always strive to satisfy our clients. It would have been better to let us know that you were not satisfied with our service, and we could have taken steps to satisfy you.
When you first contacted us, you had told us your budget for adding a parking pad to your property was $20,000. I had told you immediately on the phone that this was not a sufficient budget to do your project. I added that perhaps you could find another company that could do it for that budget, but I did not give you any assurance.
Our offering with parking pad applications is to design the parking pad, submit the application for you, and then coach you through the whole process. After we had done the first two items, you contacted us once when you were doing the poll to ask about how best to do the poll. We sent you a coaching document that discusses best practices for the poll. You thanked me for it, and then we never heard from you again. To now blame us for lack of support is not fair. If you needed more help, you could have contacted us anytime. Other clients contact us throughout the process asking various questions, and we are always quick to answer.
Your criticism that the planter size was too large was dealt with during the design process. In an email exchange, you had asked if the planter could be made smaller, and our response was, “We can reduce it, but the retaining wall needs to be there.”
Your comment about the parking pad dimensions is incorrect. This 0.3m no parking zone is something the city puts on their sketch; however, it is not required for us to show this on our submitted plan. This 0.3m zone indicates you are to keep your back bumper this distance from the city sidewalk.
Your comment that the curb cut extension you wanted should have been requested upfront, we double-checked with the city, and it can be done either before or after, and I was told it did not or would not delay the permit issue. Therefore your understanding of this is incorrect.
In conclusion, you blame us for things that were not a problem and for something within your control to have changed.