Husband and I are pretty good gardeners. We can grow vegetables, flowers, and shrubs, but we can’t grow grass. We have struggled with our lawn since the day we moved into the house 30 years ago. Over the years the garden beds have become larger and the square footage of grass has become smaller. The neighbor’s and our own trees have shaded large parts of the lawn where no grass would grow. Husband’s grill area was on a bare plot of dirt and weeds. He has grilled in the mud for years. All we ever had success with was putting down bags of mulch to mitigate the muck.
Three weeks ago, one of the secretaries at my work stopped by and handed me a brochure for her and her husband’s new concrete and landscaping business. Both are Hispanic. She is born in California; he is from Mexico. There also is a landscape architect as a co-owner. This was really good news, since we have approached other local masonry and landscaping companies over the years and none were interested in taking us on. They were too busy and our job didn’t interest them, I guess.
I thought long and hard about getting involved in a business relationship with someone I worked with. She doesn’t work for me directly, but we are on the same floor and I see her all the time. What if they did a lousy job? What if there were legal problems? What if the cost was too expensive and we had to disappoint them? How would this impact our personal boundaries at work? We decided to take the risk. We were desperate. Our yard really needed some sprucing up.
Ruby, Fernando, and Lorenzo the landscape architect came over. We explained our needs, they measured and gave us an idea what they could do. The next day Ruby helped us pick out the color and pattern for the decorative concrete. They had a proposal in less than a week, it was very reasonably priced, and we signed a contract. They were to put in a large cement patio for the grilling area, put a cement path in a shaded area on the south and west side of the house that would encircle the deck, and replace a smaller patio that bordered our deck. They also were to replace a wooden fence that was badly in need of repair.
They started work a couple of days later, and were just about finished last weekend. They will come next week to dye the edges of the concrete a dark grey to contrast with the slate colored cement that is patterned to look like stone. (The concrete has to cure for a week or two before they can apply the dye.) We are very happy with the work. Both Husband and I felt such a sense of calm walking on the new concrete. The flower beds look awful with all the construction workers trampling on them, but they will rebound next spring.
Have you ever been in a business or professional relationship with a coworker or friend? Why or why not? How did it work out?