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April 3, 2015 by Hope Gardens

1. Their gardens are ugly.
Tiny plants in a grid covered in construction gravel. No.
2. They make you sign over your DWP rebate in its entirety.
I allow my clients to spend their own money. If they wish, they can actually landscape their entire yard and still have pocket change.
3. You have little choice of plants or design.
There are SO many choices of native and drought-tolerant plants. You should benefit from that.
4. It’s bad for wildlife.
Setting up plants on a grid across a flat plain does not give hummingbirds or butterflies a place to rest and hide. Surrounding plantings with gravel cuts off access to insects and worms in the soil for snacking.
5. It’s not in line with permaculture, biodynamics or any environmentally-conscious trends in landscaping.
Plants as a rule don’t like to be surrounded by chemical-emitting construction gravel. This gives them no way to reseed or give off runners. We use untreated bark mulch around our plants.
6. It’s bad for the soil.
Covering the soil with gravel is like cementing over your front yard. It meets DWP requirements for being permeable for drainage but for the soil, it cuts off air supply and eventually will compact the soil cutting off even more air flow and killing valuable microbes and soil life.
7. It’s bad for the air.
They use as little plants as possible. I use as many plants as possible. As you know plants clean the air and provide us with oxygen. They also absorb heat as does bark mulch. Gravel reflects light and traps heat, increasing damage to the ozone.
8. They all look the same.
We start every job from scratch and every Hope Garden client is unique. Your input is valued and your wishes will be represented in your landscaping.
9. They use immature plants that have no curb appeal.
For the money they are getting, they can afford to use large, mature plants. But they don’t provide those. You can’t even see these plants from the curb.
10. They tell their clients they can’t afford a “real” landscaper.
You can! You can! You can! Guess who? Hope Gardens text us at 323-493-5177.
I would never attack another landscaping company unless I felt that their practices are harmful to the environment and misleading the public on an issue I am passionate about. Thank you for reading.



  1. Ken says:

    A friend of mine sent me these top ten reasons to not use Turf Terminators a while back. Your points sufficiently swayed our opinions, and we terminated Turf Terminators, especially the points about the wildlife, greater choices of plants, and general attractiveness of the garden. We also felt that they were glacially slow. We decided to go with you guys, as you know. We are very very happy with our new garden! Thank you.

    The only other thing I will add is that, in TT’s defense, they do offer a choice of mulch, so you are not stuck having to use gravel. Thanks again.

  2. Ella says:

    Do you offer services like turf terminators do at no cost to the customer?

    • Hope Gardens says:

      I can’t front the money for the garden like Turf Terminators does, but many times we can bring the landscaping in under the rebate amount so in the end, the landscaping is paid for.

      • Robert says:

        In my brochure, one of my choices of ground covering from Turf Terminators IS untreated bark. And, I have, it would seem, more choices of plants and designs than what you seem to indicate in your 10 reasons list. However, depending on location, the rebate amount could be as little as $.50 per square foot (as I’m sure you already know), or as much as $3.00 per square foot. I imagine customers on the high end (my rebate is $2.00 per) have far fewer complaints than those on the lower end.

        I would imagine that for you, those customers on the low end are problematic as well.

        However, for some, the lack of up front funding is a deal breaker. Not everyone can come out of pocket for the $4,000 on average such services typically cost and wait for the rebate check to come later.

        As such, I would love to partake in the type of services and diversity that you offer, but I cannot, under any circumstances, afford to do it on my own, even with the rebate.

      • John says:

        Will you consider a house in Simi Valley?

      • Steve says:

        I applied for the rebate through TT already. How can I claim my rebate & use it for your services? Do I need to cancel TT & reapply?

        • Hope Gardens says:

          The program has been closed as all the $$ has been allocated. Afraid for now you should stick with what you have but I would definitely not use the gravel. And do not pay to upgrade to mulch. Demand they give it to you for the rebate amount. Happy to answer any other questions!

  3. Darlene says:

    Drastic times call for drastic measures. I lived in Phoenix many years and had a lovely gravel landscape. Why so down on the gravel? AZ is loaded with gravel yards.

  4. Fred says:

    I have many homes in my neighborhood with the Turf Terminators offer. And also I vied their website.
    To say the least I am not impressed with the results they offer. They actually take away the “curb appeal ” and value to the homes.
    My grass is turning yellow and dieing.
    I have contact landscape design companies in my area but what they ask for to do in a decent design is so costly.
    I have about 900 square feet at $3.75 per square foot . I should get about $3.400 Total.
    I am wondering if you know of any other company that has more ideas than rocks and weed shrubs to offer.

  5. julie j says:

    I couldn’t agree more! TT’s yards are an absolute hideous depressing eyesore – so discouraged to see them popping up all over my neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. Are people really this stupid and cheap?! Even if you don’t understand the environmental details, how could shoving a bunch of rocks be healthy or aesthetically pleasing in any way? You could add to this list that the rocks heat up instead of having the cooling effect landscaping does, forcing us to use our ACs more & contributing to urban heat island effect! There has got to be a better way!

  6. Michelle says:

    Do you do anything for commercial properties?

  7. Peggy says:

    Wondering where you are located and what areas you serve?

  8. Let’s compare Turf Terminators to food service. Do you think that the quality of burrito’s at Taco Bell are of the same quality as say Chipotle? Start at the beginning. Where do they source the food from? Is it organic or full of trans fat? Is it local? Is it healthy? The food itself, how is it processed? How is it prepared? Do you want whole pinto beans at Chipotle or dehydrated refried beans that you add water to at Taco Bell? What about the meat? Is it real pieces of meat or processed? At the end of the day, I’ve ate from both places. Taco Bell serves a purpose, when you’re on the road and need a quick bite, it can settle your hunger. But if you had your choice, would you pick a a restaurant that cares about their quality of food or would you pick the restaurant purely on price? For a satisfying meal that you will want again and again, you’d probably pick better quality establishment. You know what you’re eating, it’s filling because it’s real food, and you pay a little more.

    Any landscaper or individual with a “green thumb” can install plants. It takes an artist to make a landscape special. Even saving water and installing water wise plants can improve your curb appeal. Work with a passionate landscaper who takes pride in what they do. It’s not about being FREE, it’s about being GREAT. TT does not understand local soil conditions, plant hardiness zones, and the dynamics that is landscaping. Look at the grass popping out of their “terminated” lawns. Look at the 1-gallon plants with unwashed gravel. Look at the soil prep prior to installing the plants. What’s the pH of the soil? What kind of nutrients does it need? To each their own, but give me a quality burrito any day. It doesn’t cost much more and it is actually satisfying. Live life with no regrets!

  9. David says:

    The comparison is above has no relevance because the simple fact of the matter is that the main selling point for Turf Terminators is no money out of pocket and not having to deal with the DWP for rebates. Yes, their landscaping is horrible but their service is one of convenience. If there was a company that could provide those services and do adequate landscaping, they would make a killing but now you mainly have to front the money yourself and deal with the aggravation of getting your money back or try working with Turf Terminators.

    • Hope Gardens says:

      There is zero aggravation in working with the city getting the rebate. It’s easy. And in fact i have gotten many gardens approved that were previously not approved with TT. The main selling point of landscaping should not be that it is free. Home owners are better off just not watering their grass than dumping several tons of landscape gravel on it.

      • David says:

        If you really think there is no aggravation, I’d suggest that you come up with a service that’s similar to turf terminators that provides better landscaping and you will do very well. Consider working with some type of local finance company that can do the inspection , paperwork and interim financing. The main issue again is money out of pocket and having to deal with the rebates which is NOT zero aggravation. Perhaps you’re working with only affluent and educated people but for seniors on a fixed income, this is a very big issue.

  10. adriana says:

    I stopped watering my lawn in anticipation of making it drought tolerant. I called turf terminators to consult. They couldn’t help me. One must hv 70% grass dor them to help. They basically suggested i start watering & grow my grass back…then they can remove it. This makes no sense!
    I wouldn’t mind paying someone to help me mk my front lawn drought tolerant and pretty . Anything would be better than the eye sore it is now.

  11. vic says:

    they’re also not as free as they claim. they wouldn’t do our lawn free because it was below their minimum area, plus, they also charge for certain kinds of rocks. their website says *nothing* about these things. false advertising!

  12. Nancy says:

    My next door neighbors have just redone their yard with Turf Terminators and it is pretty bleak looking. A sea of coarse gravel with a few plants here and there. I tried to get them to reconsider, but they just wanted an easy, fast solution. It’s a shame that Turf Terminators Is creating ugly neighborhoods that will long outlast the drought. By the look of what they did next door they must be raking in the bucks because they sure aren’t putting much of the rebate into plants or decent looking gravel.

    Last year I had my lawn removed and turned my front yard into a beautiful California native garden (all my own planning and work) with many beautiful blooming plants which people are constantly remarking on as they pass by. I love it so much I go out to look at it several times a day–I never get tired of it. I have native salvias, calif. fuschias, achillea, penstemons, buckwheats, manzanita, ceanothus, and some non natives such as lavender. It is such a good feeling to know I am helping Mother Nature to thrive.

  13. Jackie says:

    I had turf terminators replant my front and back yard. My front yard already had a raised berm with flowering plants and and small olive tree planted in it, that I kept.
    And I also have two L-shaped picket fences at the corners of my yard with more flowering plants in it. MY landscaping saved the look of the front yard. My big problem with turf terminators is their customer service is non-existent. Phone calls are not returned for several days. And I am constantly calling, because my plants are dying off four or five at a time! They’re beautiful when they grow large and flower, but so many have died and they replace them with new, small plants. And their employees are somewhat hostile, too. I would never recommend them to anyone.

    • Hope Gardens says:

      I’m so sorry you are having that experience. I’m sure now that the funding has dried up they will disappear forever leaving thousands of people without help or direction. I’ve heard from many clients about their misleading/hostile/non-existent customer service. I’m hoping to have some workshops on how to care for native gardens. I hope you get to a place where you can enjoy your garden!

  14. Ricky says:

    I am renting but the owner is really cool as long as I run it by him our back yard had grass, but now that you can only water in Burbank 2 times a week, I decided to let it die and now its patchy and dirt, do you guys still work with that?? Also the front yard is dying as well do to the water situation

    • Hope Gardens says:

      Hello! I’m not sure if you are asking about the rebate program or just our landscaping services. 🙂 We work with any situation but DWP likes to see some grass still alive to give the rebate. It is free and easy to apply but you do have to be the homeowner to submit the application. Here’s a link to what is still available rebate-wise.

  15. Gwen says:

    Great article, and really great comments. I applied to have my lawn replaced by Turf Terminators twice. The first time I called and cancelled two days after the representative came out and measured because I felt uneasy about the photos posted on their website and on Yelp featuring work that they did.

    A year later, I realized I had to face the fact that I had to do something. Even though I was still watering 2-3xs a week my grass was dying and had really become the eyesore of the neighborhood. I called TT and they came out again, re-measured and took new photos. I started feeling uncomfortable about using them again, and now the reviews I read told the whole story: weeds popping up, plants dying, grass reappearing. If that wasn’t troubling enough, based on my calculations, my front and back yard would yield them about $7,000 in rebates although I highly doubt I would get more than $700 in plants and ground covering.

    Thanks to this article I’ve decided not to go through with it. I don’t have the money to pay a landscaping company to design and install a water friendly yard for me (which is why TT was so attractive), but what I will do is try and solicit the help of a friend who loves gardening, along with my gardener, and try to do something myself one area at a time. I really like the look of pulverized gravel and think even I can come up with something more eye appealing than them. Yes, TT is convenient but I’ll be darn if I let them make all of that money from my rebate and stiff me with some cheap, home improvement store plants that are going to die a short death.

  16. Jonathan says:

    Nice article, 101% real. TT has collected over 10 millions from DWP and to be honest all theyve done is make ugly “yards” i do garden service and some of my clients have told me TTT is a disaster. They cut live turf and without first making sure all grass roots are gone they plant and install mulch, weeks later grass and weeds come back. Thay are making cash but i feel sorry for the victims(not clients)

  17. Jasmine says:

    I hate this company they came and approved us but then realized they couldn’t put the sprinkler system so they just put rocks and weeds. there not even plants like their Oasis Packages show on their website.
    Then when we complained they told to bad were not giving nothing.

    I on a serious mission to let all social media know how crappy this Turf Terminators Company really is.

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