Friday, May 11, 2007

$8000 for concrete ??? Are you kidding me ??

Just got a few estimates for some landscaping for my yard.

Now I have nothing against contractors making a living. God knows they do great work and are licensed and all that, plus they have to fight the fight against illegal immigration more than some other professions I know, because they (illegals) undercut their prices so drastically. But come on for God's sake !! $8000 to put down concrete ??? sheesh !!! And that doesn't include any any tile work or anything. Just Concrete and sod.

Here's the background...
3000sq ft back yard.. clean and empty. No landscaping done on it so far whatsoever. I want to put in circular slabs of concrete in a few specific places and cover the rest with sod and a sprinkler system. The Contractor said he would need to till the entire yard and then compact it and the labour would be about 60% of the cost. That's just nuts !!! Plus as always I always have known contractors to underestimate and then later add on stuff and go over budget.

Am I being unreasonable or is he over-quoting me ??

Should I just rent the compactor and the tiller from Home Depot and do it myself ?

Maybe get a non-licensed person to do the concrete ?

Please give me any advice you may have
(email me -

Here is what my lawn currently looks like.
(Click to view detail)

Here is a computer design I did myself of what I want it to be.

The concrete would be where the tiled circles are in the diagram.
The big rectangle already exists
(Click to view detail)


  1. shoot... my b/f could do it... and wouldn't charge you no $8000 dollars... hes a jack of all trades... he could make it look nice...

  2. He probably saw your pool table and your cars and stuff in your house and figured you were Mr. Moneybags.. Little does he know you hardly have money for groceries these days !! :o

    My gardener charged me more or less that much, but he did a whole lot more, including tree planting and prep and some paving around the deck...

  3. I'd ask neighbours about their experiences and shop around a bit, because concrete and sod is a commodity work.

    When I had house settling because of a water leak, I had to pay whatever RamJack asked, because they pretty much have monopoly in the area for that sort of work. But plain concrete should not be like that.

    BTW, I think I paid something like $7K for jacking up and the concrete on top.

    -- Pete

  4. I forgot to mention that the design looks very nice. I would only rearrange the circles to make a path between the BBQ areas. You're going to beat a path in the sod there anyway.

    Another thing I forgot to ask, how do you plan to water all that lawn area in the back? Are you sure they didn't quote you on the sprinkler system?

  5. nope, just sod, tilling, compacting and concrete...
    the sprinkler system would run another 2k in labor and materials..

  6. Actually man, that is the sad truth these days, labor rates are so high it makes one wonder.. especially when you are trying to get the most bang for your buck...

  7. Where are the plants dude? I suggest more plant area and less sod.

    Do all the grunt work yourself if you want the hassle. The tilling is a process That is very time consuming. Till, level, then Roll thats the process.

    1)rent tiller from United rentals on larch rd.(they are the best in town) and get the big hydrolic one because it will move itself as aposed to you pushing and pulling.
    2)When you are done tilling done spend a lot of time leveling the area out yet insted rent a ditch witch(Trenching machine) and trench your irrigation lines.
    3) Map out your irrigation plan and put your irrigation in, some skill is required and you may want to pay someone to connect pieces all together.(most of cost of labor is in trenching) You could do the irrigation yourself its eazy, like legos, buy a book at home depot.
    4)install SOD or better yet seed.
    5) What I would do then is do each pad one at a time. Small concret jobs are not to difficult. I just put a walkway in my front yard.

    That process is backbreaking but you should finish the job pretty reasonable. You could save more money by seeding the lawn instead of sod.

    Just some ideas.

  8. woops I ment to say DONT spend a lot of time leveling out the yard after tilling. The reasoning behind this is its all going to need to be leveled after you put in irrigation ditchs anyways.

    Ofcourse you know not to put sod in without irrigation. If the contractor is willing to do that for you he is not really looking in your best interests.

  9. I saw people watering by hand and also with portable sprinklers, but in reality this is a sure way to forget it one day (for a week).

  10. that's great advice. Thanks you guys !