Monday, October 1, 2012

10-month inspection due, landscaping

We are coming up on our 10-month inspection/final review meeting. The list of issues with our new home is very short. Basically, we have a few stairs that are creaking too much (particularly going from the first to the second floor) and there are a few areas where the floor is creaking and deforming more than is really acceptable (mostly on the first floor). We have one window (on stairs to basement) that shows evidence of water seeping in and a small problem with the way the dishwasher was installed, but that is essentially it if you exclude the usual drywall-related issues.

Frankly, we are extremely happy with the build quality of our home. To have such a short list of minor problems is a testament to how well Ryan Homes can build houses. I imagine this is one of the advantages of going with a large builder - they build so many homes that they've had the chance to iron out almost all of the problems at the design and construction phases.

With that said, I'm not all that impressed with the landscaping aspect of the work. We have sod everywhere that was laid atop the loam common in these parts. The preparation of the soil prior to laying was substandard. Existing weeds were not treated with any sort of weedkiller and because no rolling was done (of the soil or the sod after it was laid), various areas have sunk over the last few months to make the ground uneven and a little awkward to mow. The lawn has been attacked by voracious grubs and populated by crabgrass and field grass.

The choice of plants in the front of our house was not well thought out. Closest to the front porch are variegated leucothoe, but then we have physocarpus opulifolius (eastern ninebark diablo) in front of them. They are growing quickly and will soon obscure the leucothoe completely. To make matters worse, no landscaping fabric was used beneath the mulch and weeds have been fairly rampant.

My wife has been hard at work managing the mulch beds, and she plans to move or replace the plants in front of the house next year. To address the problems with the lawn, we've decided to bring in Scotts Lawn Service to help us manage weeding, feeding and insect damage. It will probably take a year or two to get it looking the way it should.


  1. you complaint on how the grass was laid is common. In my neighborhood, very little was done to removed the excessive amounts of rock. Some worse the others. Grading has been an issue as well. The Invisible Fence installer noted to me "whoever built this neighborhood did a poor job on the grading". He said this because his machine was incapable of laying wire with so many rocks directly under the grass.
    I still have severe complaints about the drastic sloping of my yard. I think Ryan should have put in a retaining wall in a few spots, but that would cost money.
    In the end, I feel like Ryan's philosophy on the landscaping is "go piss up a rope".
    Sad, because as you, I am pretty happy with the house.

  2. My yard is so lousy with rocks anywhere we dig (or try to dig) is rocks, rocks, rocks. And mostly construction rocks at that! Plus, the people who have a fantastic lawn asked the PM to leave all the stuff and they did it themselves. Everyone else's lawn really sucks. We supposedly got the upgraded lawn package, but it's awful, just awful.

    As Sgt. Rich eloquently put it... Ryan is not interested in giving you a decent lawn. They care about cranking out a house in XX number of days. Period.

  3. I had to turn comments off on this post because it started getting spam from landscapers.