5 On Your Side

Landscaping Issues Bring Wake County Couple To Five On Your Side

Posted October 31, 2005

— The man whom a Wake County couple hired to do a landscape job has a bit of a history with Five On Your Side. His company has a new name, but the problems seem very much the same.

Ritch and Terri Russ wanted a tree buffer between their back yard and Interstate 540 because they can hear traffic on the busy roadway. In August, they hired Tim Wrenn, owner of Southern Exterior Concepts.

The Russes paid Wrenn almost $12,000 for a landscaping job that included a berm and 15 trees. At $225 each, Ritch Russ said the trees were to be at least 14 feet tall.

"I was willing to pay that to make sure that we blocked out the sight and sounds of (Interstate) 540," he said.

But problems started soon after Wrenn delivered the trees. They just sat in their yard for three weeks.

Wrenn eventually agreed to plant new trees.

"That was the day that he and about 10 to 15 guys with about three different types of equipment showed up. It was wonderful. I thought 'Finally.' But still when they left, it looks worse now. It looks like something out of a Stephen King novel," said Terri Russ.

The crew left the yard ripped up and muddy. Plus, the trees were not 14 feet tall.

"Now, we've got more sight and sound of I-540, but also just a huge mess in our back yard. He doesn't call back. He doesn't return my phone calls," said Ritch Russ.

Russ called Five on Your Side, who called Wrenn. While he does not deny he and Russ discussed tree size, he said the contract never specified it.

"I just want what we paid for," he said.

Wrenn replaced the planted trees and removed the dying ones from the front yard. He's now working to finish the rest.

According to the Russes, Wrenn plans to finish the remaining landscaping Tuesday.

Back in 2000, Wrenn ran a company called Autumn and Aquatic. His customers complained to Five On Your Side that he took their money, but he did not finish the work. After Five On Your Side got involved, he fixed the problems.

Four months later, Wrenn opened Southern Exterior Concepts. Five On Your Side has a second complaint against the new company. Wrenn resolved it by refunding the customer almost $3,000.

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