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A Grading and Drainage certificate should have been issued by the permitting authority along with an affidavit by the contractor performing the work ensuring the work was in compliance with the approved plans.
Since you are not getting satisfaction from your builder, I would take all of your documentation to your city or county permit office (call ahead to determine who to speak with). Standing water in any developement is unnaceptable and the municipality may require them to fix it.
If the local governement can't help, contact an attorney specializing in land or propery law and ask them to send a letter to the builder. Spending a few hundred dollars for this may go a long way. If you have to go to court, I would do so.
My neighbors and I had sanding water and grading problems that we were able to demonstrate to the builder, and the builder came out and put drains in, no questions asked. We did not have to go to the county or hire an attorney. They recognized the problem and fixed it.
We are moving to robotic mowers for our business location and my home. This will reduce the labor costs associated with lawn maintenance. We are also converting all of our lawn equipment to electrical. This will stop the noise, the emissions and is clean. We will keep you posted as we progress. MoBots of the Triangle is our company.
The biggest issue we run into is not having enough black dirt (quality soil) on on hand. Trucking in more soil can add thousands of dollars, and it's not often evident at the start of construction or remodeling.
There could be infection spreading under the bark. Sooty Canker is one possibilty, black powdery fingus spreading under the bark. Have an arborist look at it. May be able to remove infect branches, treat with fungicide and save the tree if it has not progressed too far
sounds like too much water. Pine straw has acidity in it and helps transfer the nutrients properly to acid loving plants. Fertilizer could also be needed. Plant nutrient deficiencies vary and sometimes the necrosis in the leaves can identify the issue or which nutrient is lacking...
Gardenias, I love Gardenias! Have you tried a fertilizer for acid loving bushes? You can go to a nursery or even The Home Depot or Lowe's and explain what's going on, and then they can recommend what you should do for them.
Besides the painting suggested by Chad of Lonestar Painting which can truly makeover the appearance of a home, I suggest that the trees and shrubs be professionally trimmed and thinned out. Application of weed control and fertilization of the lawn will provide a healthy and attractive canvas to your yard that can be supplemented with a dose of spring color annuals
A very quick and cost effective way to upgrade your homes exterior is a cleaning and color change. Pressure wash to clean it up and paint the shutters and front door. They can remain the same color or pick a fresh new color. You can also take any old fixtures that have faded over time and paint the metal with a fresh satin or gloss paint. Same with metal railings or metal awnings. Possibly a one day job with big results.
We just had sod installed at the office here at Crown Builders in Charlotte, NC. The landscaper told me to water each day for 15 minutes the first 10 days. From 10-21 days after install water every other day. After 3 weeks and beyond cut the lawn as needed. It should be fairly well rooted and can take normal wear and tear. Give it 1" of water each week. Apply balanced turf fertilizer 6 weeks after install.
Depending on the severity of the runoff you might want to contact a Civil Engineer. As an engineer myself, with a specialty in drainage and hydrologythere are many issue to consider when dealing with offsite drainage. For instance if you redirect it on to another property it's possible you could be held liable for any impacts tha occur. Just a thought.
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