I wish I could split this review into two. My project had two components. I had a paver patio installed as well as a wood gazebo, wood gate, and wood planter. The two types of work were different teams and I have very different levels of satisfaction for each. However, all the work was done by Cactus Landscaping and managed by Kirill.
For the most part, I was generally happy working with Kirill. From the initial estimate to the project nearing completion, Kirill was available by text for quick questions and clarifications.
Everyone at cactus Landscaping came in teams. Their vehicles were all branded and everything was very professional looking. They left my yard and the general area as tidy as you can expect, considering what was going on. Each day that the teams were in they accomplished a lot. I feel like making their deadlines is important and I appreciated that effort.
The patio and sod: 10/10
This team was excellent. The patio footprint was excavated and levelled quickly and accurately. The stones went down quickly and the guys did a great job lining them up to an existing patio. Kirill even was able to find the same brand used on my older patio. The colours are off but that appears to because there is a coat of something caked on them. Im not sure if its supposed to wash away with rain. Ive had a fall, winter, and spring however, the coating has yet to wash away. Overall, I think the patio guys did a fantastic job and I hope the colour of the stones eventually come through.
The wood team was another story. While the gazebo, gate, and planter look very nice, i cant recommend these services and I have various degrees of satisfaction with the end products. Again, at first glance, the work is nice but the wood guys just didnt execute what was expected.
The Gate: 9/10
Kirill and I talked about the gate: keeping the frame and door tight to the house and ground, the lock and handles. When the guys built the gate, they encountered an issue and rather than speak to me, they drilled a hole through the door and tied a string to a latch on the other side. There was no handle and the frame stopped almost a foot from the ground creating a huge gap, that would allow critters in (this was the only reason I had a new gate built). I asked the team to put my old handle on the door so I could open it and then texted Kirill to let him know I was disappointed about this. He agreed to get back to me the next day however, the next day I had to follow up with him. In the end, Kirill had the team fix the hole and put a proper lock on it.
The Gazebo: 5/10, looks sturdy and well built but not what we agreed on. I spoke with Kirill and we agreed on the gazebo size and height. We discussed the roof that would go on it, I had outlined that I wanted the roof to slope for both privacy and for rain and snow to be able to slide off on to the grass where the patio ends. The gazebo posts went in and I raised a concern that the posts were all very close in height. Kirill advised me that there would be a gradual slop but assured me that rain and snow would run off. After the top beams went up and before the roof went on, I raised concerns with Kirill and the wood guys about the top looking very flat. Again, i was reassured that rain and snow would run off. When the roof went on, I texted Kirill pictures of the top of the gazebo the morning after a rainy night. The water had pooled on the roof. Kirill texted me back saying, It will be accumulating a bit as the slope isnt very steep. But it is enough for excess water and snow to melt and drip away. I waited until after winter to write this and I can confirm that snow just accumulates and does not slide off. The water does pool enough to form about 100 small puddles that will likely be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. This is a beautiful structure that I wish I didnt build. The lack of slope does not give me the privacy it was intended for and worries me that Im going to have a ton of mosquitoes in my yard every summer. Top that with the builders actually ignoring my concerns and its just frustrating seeing it. Rather than piece of mind and privacy, i got the opposite. I mostly regret having this done.
Garden Box: 2/10, looks very pretty but the box frame and facing dont line up and the capacity is ridiculously small (due to an unnecessarily large frame). This was the last thing they built for me. Every time I look out into my yard, i feel buyers remorse about this planter box. It is a perfect example of what happens when your contractor hears you but doesnt care to make what you agreed on or correct/admit mistakes by this workers.
I asked Kirill about building a garden box. It took a lot of back-and-forth to finally land on the cost, size, and style of this box. Initially, he was charging me over $2200 for a box faced with fence boards.Then he was going to build a basic box with three 4x4x10 beams, stacked. I admit my error, when he had no pictures of previous work to show me, I should have backed out then. When we finally agreed on the planter style, the guys started to build the inner box of the planter. I noticed the inside of the box was much thinner than I expected. I went and asked the guys and they advised me to speak with Kirill. I measured the box and saw that the width was almost a foot short (for a box thats supposed to be 2ft wide, thats almost half the capacity). I texted Kirill. After some time, he responded and we had a discussion about the parameters of the box. Kirill said that the dimensions of the planter arent based on the capacity of the planter but the outside dimensions. I feel this is was a mistake on someones part because any reasonable person would expect a finished planter with a capacity approximately the same size of the planter box. Also, they were adamant about using 4x4x10 beams to build the box frame. It didnt make sense. The outer dimensions of the box were large but the inside had little capacity and definitely did not meet my needs. To top it off, there is a large gap between the planter box and the outer facing that is large enough that a small animal could fit! We also agreed on the location of the box and that it would be levelled. Instead, the box follows the grade of the yard and is slightly slanted. I literally hate looking at this thing in my yard. Its too small, incomplete, not level, and reminds me that Kirill didnt care to have his guys make it right while still in the building phase. Basically, these guys have built a very luxurious rodent condo in my backyard.
Overall, it is very hard to rate this experience. On one hand, Kirill was easy to talk to and he delivered on exactly what we spoke about in regards to my patio. I would 100% recommend Cactus Landscaping to build your patio. The stonework Kirill was accommodating and able to provide a way to make things happen. Heck, I tacked on two other jobs (door and planter) to the original project because I could trust this guy to come through - he was even able to accommodate and include some other things within the original project scope and cost, which i very much appreciated. Quite honestly, my backyard, prior to Kirill, was terrible and the work Cactus Landscaping did makes it completely useable. I do thank them for that.
On the other hand, the wood work services have left me dissatisfied and disappointed. Its almost like the woodwork Kirill was a different guy. i cannot recommend their work (though it is nice looking when you first see it). Sadly, I doubt the gazebo or planter are even fixable without a significant cost to me.