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Ugh. This reminds me of a hardscaping experience I went through last year. We hired a landscape architect and a mason and a fence builder who had worked together on prior projects to construct a retaining wall with some piers and fencing. The design fee was in the thousands. Once the wall construction began, they all argued about the measurements and the plans and the wall turned out to be unlike what we'd planned. Out of scale, poor masonry work, incorrect installing of the drainage tile, etc. I'm sure that I'll have to redo it down the road, but can't quite see forking over another $40K very soon to deal with it. Instead, I'll probably cover it as much as possible with trees and shrubs. My wall, while not as bad as the one you've presented, could easily make to the pages of 'hardscape don'ts.'

John Black

Yeeesh. This is what happens when homeowners choose price over quality. I'd wager the builders of this monstrosity aren't licensed (and probably were chosen for their low bid), and aren't insured, so if/when the staircase implodes the owner will be SOL. Even for experienced designers, working out the scale and dimensions of features like this can be tricky; I've taken to using SketchUp or even building tangible scale models so that everyone (including me!) has a precise idea of what the finished project will look like.

Cheryl Corson

And not even matching the brick color and coping style of the house itself? Great writeup. We always loved those "fashion don'ts' in the magazines. They're fun, and instructive.

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