Why Landscapers Can’t Build Lake Shorelines
75% of the jobs we do involve removing and replacing existing riprap.
Most of our customers have been left heartbroken by a landscaper. They thought they were getting a great deal and would save a pile of money. Until their poorly installed riprap crumbles like an old donut.
There’s an old adage that applies to shorelines: buy cheap, buy twice.
What about the other 25%? Usually it’s people in their 50s and 60s who have dealt with enough contractors and “bought cheap” one too many times, and have come to recognize that quality pays for itself.
A landscaper will say (to himself), “Hey, all we have to do is slap down some fabric, throw down some rock, and make several thousand dollars! Miller time.”
And because they are only quoted a few thousand dollars, many first-timers will take a pass on our craftsmanship (“Those guys sound expensive”) and hire the landscaper (“What a bargain!”). We know that because we often get calls from those same customers within a few seasons. Many of our happiest customers are the ones who didn’t originally pick us.
Be careful with native shorelines, too. Some landscapers push them because they’re less work and quick to bang out.
Yes, we also do native shorelines. They have their place in the world. But we’ve been called out to tear down many a “native” shoreline in favor of installing riprap instead.
Now, most of these landscapers mean well. They just don’t know any better. They haven’t studied the DNR requirements. They don’t understand the engineering. They don’t understand what really needs to be done to protect that shoreline against erosion or shifting ice. They may even honestly think the only goal is to make the shoreline look pretty, when in fact that’s secondary to preventing erosion so that you have a shoreline.
We used to be like those landscapers, about 18 years ago, but then the light came on and we started following DNR recommendations and requirements on every single job. Over time, we even improved on the recommendations.
Look for shoreline specialists. Look at what in-depth content they have on their site, look for pictures of their work, and look for reviews that say homeowners have been extremely satisfied with high-quality results.
Otherwise, you’ll probably end calling us anyway later to tear down the “affordable” landscaper’s haphazard work.