Friday, June 25, 2010

Treasure Garden Patio Umbrella

We bought an 11 foot Octagon Cantilever Umbrella by Treasure Garden with an O'bravia fabric. O'bravia is considered a C grade fabric, according to Treasure Garden's website.
It is such a beautiful umbrella. It's tall, has nice fabric and creates a lot of shade. And that's where the good comments stop. We bought this from a clearance center for $300. The "non-clearance" was on sale for $400, but says it retails for just over $1000. Our umbrella was returned, but we were told, "It wasn't even taken out of the package." Yeah sure, I know better now.
We got home, set up the umbrella and it wouldn't crank open. Ah, now we know why they brought the umbrella back. AND, we can't return it because we bought it in the clearance center. So, Doug and I set out to take it apart and figure out why it won't work - we figured it's already broken and worthless, so why not?
The reason: the company used a string about the size of a shoe lace, but weaker, to open and close this umbrella. The cord was broken and twisted up inside the arm. Really???? It retails at over $1000 and you can't put a decent rope/string/wire through it??? If the string breaks, the umbrella is worthless.
After working on the umbrella for a couple hours each day, for a few days, we went to Lowe's to get a galvanized wire to run through the umbrella. Guess what? It works.
For a very small amount of money we made the umbrella stronger and better than the $1000 retail version and we only paid $300. Granted it cost frustration also, but sheesh, Treasure Garden could have used something better than a weak shoe string.
Oh, and P.S., good luck trying to get parts or warranty info. Everything I searched for, on their website and others, said to go back to the store you buy it from. Really? A retail store is going to have spare parts or wants to deal with the manufacturer's warranty? No. That's why it's a MANUFACTURER'S warranty.

These umbrellas suck!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Topsy Turvy

I'm having something of a contest with the Topsy Turvy - I've got tomatoes in pots and hanging in the Topsy Turvy. I'm curious to see which one is better. So far, they are producing about the same amount of tomatoes:It was a bit of challenge to plant the tomato plant in the Topsy Turvy because there is a foam ring to put around base of the plant. It's hard to hold the plant and the planter while trying to add dirt. The first plant died and it was much easier to plant the second plant. I don't know if I was too worried about hurting the plant the first time. The second time I wasn't as careful and the Topsy Turvy was already full of dirt; I just put it on it's side and pushed the plant through the bottom.

The Topsy Turvy stand is twice as much as what you can get at Home Depot or Lowe's. Just make sure you buy a sturdy stand, these plants are heavy. We got ours for about $20 at Lowe's and it holds both plants; I just wish it could be a little higher off the ground - our stand is probably 5 feet or so.

I was going to wait to post about the Topsy Turvy, but thought I would tell you my experience so far - just in case you might want to buy one.