I met Darla and The Garden Girls long distance-in fact I hired them because of their rave reviews on homestars. Until recently, I was a long distance landlord, coming to my duplex in Toronto every few month. Darla and her team have managed spring cleanup and planting, fall planting and fall clean up and we have been so pleased with the results. She always sends before and after pictures, was always on time and the prices seemed reasonable. The Garden Girls are also great at working within a budget. Now that I am back in TO, Darla came to do fall planting and recently fall cleanup. I think their work is great, the team is extremely reliable and I am always so pleased with the results. I can't wait until spring to do a big blooming planting. Thanks so much, Darla! Leslie
Thanks Leslie for the fabulous review. It was so weird my first call from California for a garden. Thought I was going to travel!! Instead we were able to work on your property in Toronto, ( much easier to carry our tools too). Finally we got to meet this summer, and now your coming back to Toronto which is fabulous. We hope to make the front pretty with lots of flowers. We look forward to coming back in the Spring!
My husband and I have renovated four homes and never have had such a bad experience as we did with Rhoda, and Armstrong and Nelson. When we first contacted the company in May, it was to do some work on the eavestroughs-this was done effectively, on time and for a fair price. That work is the only reason I advance the rating from ‘zero’ to ‘one’ star’. We own a duplex in Roncesvalles and live part-time upstairs. When my husband and I both had to unexpectedly leave town, we were relieved when Rhoda at A&N suggested she act as a home improvement manager and oversee all the work we’d been hoping to complete: repaint exterior balcony, repair and repaint some window sills, replace a bathroom fan, repair and repaint the shed. When our downstairs tenants, who have been there for several years and have been nothing but lovely, reliable, straightforward and co-operative, asked to retile their small bathroom floor, we happily added that to the list. When the first estimate came in high and with no cost breakdown, we asked for clarification. Rhoda then told us her contractor who’d made the estimate had been fired, and she would cut the estimate in half. We wondered why she’d fired her contractor, and why (as job manager) she hadn’t caught that the estimate came in as DOUBLE what it should have been. To our regret, we ignored that red flag and authorized work to begin with her ‘new’ contractor and the revised estimate. On the first day we received photos from our tenants. The gate repair work looked subpar and incomplete and we privately voiced our concerns to Rhoda. Her response was to send a blasting email to our tenants, cc’ing the new contractor and us. She included the heading ‘NEW RULES’ with instructions as to how our tenants were to behave in the future. We spent close to an hour trying to explain to Rhoda why it was inappropriate for her to be admonishing our tenants by email or otherwise, and how she needed to deal with our concerns directly-as the home owners and frankly, as the payors. We also raised our concerns about pulling the contractor into the fray before she’d even spoken to us, and it was then she let us know the ‘new’ contractor was her business partner. Onwards. Painting the shed and balcony and replacing the bathroom fan clunked along with several miscommunications. Rhoda decided to paint the upper balcony a different colour than what I’d specifically asked. She told me this was so it would match the lower balcony. She made this decision WITHOUT consulting us, and let us know AFTER the job was done. Incidentally, this was a job we were prepared to take on later to make match, but just not with her company. At this point, when we were so past ever wanting to deal with A&N again, we simply committed to finishing the last of what we had commissioned from them. A simple re-do of a bathroom floor. How hard could it be, we thought? After the bathroom floor was ‘finished’, our tenant sent us the photos. The caulking was a mess, the tiles had been laid unevenly, not matched and not flush, the lower cupboard door was now prevented from closing, there were metal shavings left all over the carpet in the adjoining room, and trash left behind the baby’s crib. The contractor had also taken it upon himself to dump some of his debris in the diaper pail. Some he just left on the floor. My husband and I took the time to carefully go over the pictures, and to speak repeatedly to our tenants about what had happened. Indeed, we even let Randy (A&N’s service manager) know by phone that we were weighing how best to handle this situation, but we anticipated we would dispute the charges. We sent an email to Rhoda with accompanying photos and a list of our concerns. She immediately responded with a vituperative email letting us know she would not fix the problem and that we needed to “pay up”. The tile not laying flush? That was because it was ‘Made in China’ selected by our tenants, and not suitable for the job…which begs the question as to why her contractor would lay this tile in the first place. The debris left by her contractor? Our tenants should know better and clean up after a worker has been there. The fact that the door wouldn’t close? A simple sanding job. And the messy caulking? Our tenants had re-caulked after the contractor left. Further complaints by Rhoda included that we were ungrateful that she had ‘repaired’ a bathroom pipe and was prepared to discount the charge-another job we did NOT authorise. She also wanted us to know what a great inconvenience it was for her to have to wait on the weather to paint our porch. Great-she didn’t paint in the rain-thanks, champ. Of course we paid her-everything but $400, for the botched bathroom floor and half of the tile costs. To re-do the shoddy work of her company will probably cost us twice. I have included some ‘low lights of Rhoda’s emails below. I can’t take any credit for the typos, misspellings and bad grammar. That’s all her. -in response to our first email clearly outlining the problems with the floor and including accompanying photos: "I can not take any more time than already spent on this flooring issue or your tenants bizarre concerns as it affects the final payment and invoice It is apparent to me where you are going with this unfortunate as it may be as it is evident after the "Gary Bashing " that he will not be returning to redo the floor or anything else with regards to the bathroom .Nor will I do anything else for 52 Fern ave No one in their right mind would expose them selves to such a toxic environment or risk after your erroneous assumptions and accusations . Your tone frankly is arrogant presumptuous and unfair" -in response to the floor not laying flush, gaps in between the tiles, cupboard door not closing: "You have taken the term specifications to a whole new level" -her suggestion on how to handle this dispute: "Final Position Gary will not be returning to do anything regarding the bathroom or the flooring" -her response to the mess left behind: "Gary will not return to clean the apartment ." -how she’d like to handle this: "It is irrelevant to me what your bathroom floor will cost or what you do with it" -same email, further down: "I am done discussing the bathroom as this issue has tanen the better part of today I would like payment ASAP so as to pay my bills And I thank you NOT for the appreciation shown for my extended care and concern for your project --too bad the disturbed tenants are giving you a story which you concur with ." -general rant about the weather, suggesting that somehow we are to blame: "If you want to get into the semantics of it all , let us start with the length of time it took for us to actually complete the job because of rainstorms and prohibitive weather and our taking care that the paint would be retentive during wet weather and our attempt to get it finished before the upper tenant returned. Instead of putting you on hold we focused on completion with many trips back and forth so as to check the status . As a result we lost other business opportunities because of your project and timelines ." -in response to the photos we forwarded from our tenants-lovely people, by the way- and her assessment that we shouldn’t have wanted to change the floor: "Your tenants were unfriendly ,obstructionistic and ill prepared for the 2 items done in their apartment . Frankly *****has a mood issue nice sometimes and cold other times--- hot and cold--- up and down-/- arriving 1.5 hours earlier than arranged and ******is germ phobic and stressed out with a new baby Their loyalty to you in being a stable tenant is understandable however no pther landlord would put up with their pettiness and interference . In fact they would have made them pay for their own floor change because nothing was wrong with the floor to begin with" -and my personal fave-her psychiatric evaluation of our tenants based on a brief consult about bathroom tile: "What about your ingrate petty accusatory accusations based on 2 people who are emotionally disturbed - showing signs from the day i made the first visit and on the day the job started This is an official clinical observation which I am legally licenced to do and able to make having had years of clinical psychiatric experience"
They live in the UNITED STATES and the house is a rental property . It was our intent to try to make their burden easier by project management .
Of the thousands of clients we have they are without a doubt the most unreasonable ungrateful people ever encountered .
We would not be surprised if they had several judgments against them from
Contractors go non payment and whose services they used to make money on the investments in rental properties . They tried to do it with us and are angry that we got paid except for the discount .
The summary of what transpired has been taken out of context and are blatant lies—They demanded service that was beyond the scope of the contract.
Seemingly very concerned with costs –considerable discounts were given and work done at no added cost-ie:replacement of a broken dangerous pipe in the sink-replacement of missing boards on the shed that was painted.
Numerous elongated emails were answered from them with finite detailsthey requested that were irrelevant to the final outcome of the project an attempt to frustrate us and set us up for their scam.
The tenant was calling them long distance to complain about subpar work on a gate the day we began –and the work had not even started .
We were not allowed to speak to the tenants while in the house .The tenant was uncooperative and unfreindly from the day we started.
We stand by our observations and assumptions that these individuals unfortunately are mentally ill ---and every attempt to please them was made –until ---it was intolerable for the contractor to return –this is when we made the decision to deduct the costs of bathroom tile project and also giving them a refund for supplies-- that were not part of the contract .
What purpose does this review serve ????? They want a total refund ?????so they pay nothing ???
We all know of dishonest people who do this regularly .
This posting indicates the viciousness they have weeks after the project has been completed .Just because we provide service which we did –does not mean we have to take abuse .The time spent on this project due to demands for service was far greater than projects three times the cost.
They had complaints as well with their previous PROPERTY MANGER who left before he finished a painting job and walked out leaving the painting half done .
ALL WORK COMPLETED AND THE COSTS ASSOCIATED were approved BEFORE THE PROJECT BEGAN AND IN FORMAT THEY HAD REQUESTED ITEMIZED COSTING ---In the end they decided on the final amount they wanted to pay and supported it with several pages of criticism to justify a $50.00 difference in the amount requested .
It appears now ,that they are still very angry at the fact that they can find no one to do the floor at the low price we gave them any additional costs has nothing to do with what we did ---they have 2 layers flooring that need to be removed that was there before we started.
Since we do hundreds of jobs per month –we will continue to try to reasonably please every one and still remain viable .
I am a Canadian living in LA, managing our TO place and property long distance. I was all over the internet looking for a landscape/garden company and found Garden Girls-yay! Darla was quick to respond, sooo easy to deal with, and also able to handle the inconvenience of billing a client (me) who is out of the country. The Garden Girls team came in and did a miraculous job cleaning up, sprucing up and hacking their way through overgrowth. Rave reviews from my tenants, but also I could see for myself with the before/after pictures that told the whole story. Darla suggested a manageable maintenance schedule, which I am relieved to have in place. The Garden Girls cleared out the overgrown outdoor parking spaces, and all along the side of the house, and weeded, cleaned, and spruced up the front-yard. Thank you, Darla!
Leslie, I thought it was so exciting when someone contacted me as far away as LosAngeles. The power of the web is amazing. You have a beautiful Toronto property and we really enjoyed working there. We look forward to keeping the property looking great and giving you peace of mind that all is taken care of.