I’m sitting here enjoying my new backyard patio/recreation/basketball area. Jim said to me often (though, come to find out he didn’t even know he was saying it), “going to make it beautiful!” That statement instilled a confidence in him, letting me know that I could rely on him to make me happy with the results. And I AM! In fact, I am more and more pleased every day that my family enjoys it since completion. I called Austin Dreamscapes for a bid to create a basketball court in an area of my yard that was on a slope. The job would involve cutting into the side of the slope, into solid rock, to level the area for a court. His bid wasn’t the cheapest or the most expensive, but he seemed like he would be easy to work with; approachable and open to my input, which was important to me. Excavation was the 1st major part. They weren’t able to bring in large equipment, so this had to be completed with a jackhammer; poor Marco did all of this. [Oh, before I go on, I should say Marco and Hugo, his main guys, are the best; hard working and very pleasant to be around.] The excavation, took a better part of a week due to the amount that had to be removed. When this was complete, they put the basketball goal in the ground, and we decided that the goal would look better placed behind the retaining wall – we were right (or maybe it was Jim’s idea). The retaining wall was built, and we then decided to expand the project with upper stone patio, which was on the inside curve of stone steps leading down to the court. The slab was poured. After that I asked them to put a stone planter at the other edge of the area, so that the area would have a nice finished and uniform look. The upper patio (about 4 feet above the court area) area became a concern for both Jim and I due to the risk of someone falling off. So Jim suggested putting columns and 1 rail across the top to prevent the accidental fall, yet leaving it mostly open for an unobstructed view of the court. The posts for the netting were initially going to be placed in front of the existing iron fence, but I asked Jim if we could use the existing posts. He was open to the idea of trying to find poles that could be placed inside of the square fence posts, and found some that fit perfectly. He special ordered the nets and when these were up, they looked great, without having 2 fences making the area look too busy or cluttered. Between the fence and the edge of the concrete, there were some areas of cement that came underneath the form board, and I asked Jim to get some river rock to put over it so that this could not be seen. That really added a nice finishing touch to the edge. On the side of the house, I had a small cedar gate (fence was long ago removed); the gate remained because it screened our trash cans from the street, even though it was old and weathered. Jim and crew removed the gate (& posts which were set in cement), made a flagstone pad/porch to keep the cans from killing the grass, and replaced the gate with a beautifully stained cedar screen. Lastly, Jim brought in mulch and grass to make the area look neat and finished. It was a pleasure working with Jim and his crew. I always felt he wanted to “make it beautiful” and that pleasing me was his goal. He was very easy to work with and listened to my ideas. Since the area was initially undefined, the whole plan grew and changed and gradually came together; each time Jim consulted me and got my input before continuing. The result was better than I pictured and we are enjoying our new play/outdoor area. My boys are much easier to get outdoors now that they have a place to play a variety of games: basketball, 4-square, tetherball, badminton, just to name a few. Oh, almost forgot. I had a stair landing that was abandoned (we moved the stairs to face a different direction in the yard), and Marco removed that with the jackhammer too. And they removed the wooden swing set (which was in cement) so that we could put our trampoline in that spot. OK, so nobody is that perfect, just so you know he is not superman, I have to give him a few points off for bits of debris left behind. I’m still finding bits of plastic and other debris. But I know if I pointed it out to them at the time, they would have cleaned it up. Jim is a “can do” guy, and I will definitely use him and Austin Dreamscapes for my next project.