A Whack Job? Gardener Allegedly Attacks Homeowner

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This is one gardener you might want to weed out.

A Laguna Niguel, Calif., homeowner got into an argument with his gardener, Francisco Calderonfarias (pictured at left), because he didn't like some of his work, authorities say. Calderonfarias then allegedly responded by attacking the homeowner and hitting him with the engine end of his weed whacker, after which the homeowner tackled him to the ground.

Calderonfarias was able to get up and go to his truck, though, and that, police say, is when things really escalated: The gardener reportedly grabbed his hedge trimmer and powered it up.

The homeowner ran into his house, locked his door and called the police. But before they arrived, Calderonfarias purportedly used his yard-tool-turned-weapon to destroy the homeowner's garden.

Police arrested the gardener on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism.

Read more about this strange attack on LagunaNiguelPatch.

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A Whack Job? Gardener Allegedly Attacks Homeowner

When 'This Old House' asked readers to submit their projects, more than 1,000 responded with work that showed the abilities of all you dedicated DIYers. Here's a look at 10 of the top picks for yard renovations chosen by TOH editors and readers.

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From This Old House

Who: Steve D.

Where: Newburyport, Massachusetts

After renovating our 1834 home we decided we needed a period garden to go with it. The garden evolved from a center ring of dwarfed boxwood. With the boxwoods in place, continued adding details keeping with a Williamsburg theme. The pergola was added for height. To the left of the pergola is a small vegetable garden. To the right of the pergola is a perennial cutting garden, where old English roses and lavender are planted.

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Who: Steve D.

Where: Newburyport, Massachusetts

Spring brings white tulips inside the boxwood ring. Red and white tulips fill in the back of the pergola complementing the yellow forsythia, which provides a natural border to the rear of the property. The lush lawn is a very important component of the entire layout. I designed and built everything myself, including a small water feature not seen here.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself

Cost: $5,000 to $10,000

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Who: Deborah T.

Where: Chicago, Illinois

When we bought our house, the seller's agent told us it was on the market for a long time because of the 33'x33' backyard, which was barely usable. A deteriorating 20'x18' garage and the awkward back porch stairs took up almost all the yard. We tore down the garage and built a high-end, one-car garage worthy enough to serve as a backdrop to the new yard. We also redirected the position of the porch entry, stairs, and landing.

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Who: Deborah T.

Where: Chicago, Illinois

Our remodeled backyard has no grass but is rather an easy to maintain perennial garden and stone patio. Once nothing but an embarrassment, the yard is now the family's preferred place to be during warm seasons.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself

Cost: $25,000 to $50,000

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Who: Ellen H.

Where: Amherst, New York

When I bought this house the backyard was covered in snow. After the snow melted, the yard wasn't much to look at. I lived with this ugly backyard for several years.

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Who: Ellen H.

Where: Amherst, New York

My dear friend helped me extend the base of this deck, then I did the rest myself. I enjoyed taking a sledgehammer to the old deck! I used the deck boards that were left to build flower boxes

Who did the work: I did all the work myself

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

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Who: Brian B.

Where: Thurmont, Maryland

This may not start off sounding glamorous but this project started when our septic line was blocked off by a maple tree's roots. My father brought an excavator in and we replaced the line very early one Saturday morning. When we finished I mentioned to my dad that I worked on designing the side yard garden and marked it a few days prior. So, we dug the hole to my specifications and this is what I got: a 2,500 gallon pond and koi, including the pair my wife bought as a wedding present.

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Who: Brian B.

Where: Thurmont, Maryland

My dad dug the hole and helped lay the stone but I created the fence, arbor, gates, and waterfall. I planted a wide variety of plants. A section is a butterfly garden and an herb garden, the other is a relaxing area with the hammock. Most of what you see is not mature, but in a few years it will certainly be heaven after work. The yard went from a plain drab side yard to a wonderful oasis to relax and spend my evenings with my wife watching the sun set over the mountains.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

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Who: Paul L.

Where: Leonia, New Jersey

We love to entertain, but our backyard was no place for a party. We wanted something with good plantings and a place to relax. I didn't have much experience, so I studied magazines like This Old House, where I found an organically shaped, broken-bluestone patio with steps on two sides like the one I wanted. Then I talked to contractors and people at stone yards as I pieced together the design. After getting estimates as high as $30,000, I became my own general contractor -- and laborer. The hardest part was leveling the yard.

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Who: Paul L.

Where: Leonia, New Jersey

I got 10 tons of soil, cheap, from a contractor who wanted to get rid of it. His crew moved it around the yard with small excavators, but I finished the job with more wheelbarrow loads than I could count. Some of the money I saved went toward exotic trees and plants, like Japanese maples, a river birch, carpet junipers, and blackberry lilies. It took about four months, working mornings, nights, and weekends, and I finished last summer, just in time for our daughter's birthday party. It was hard work but fun, and it all proves that a regular guy can do the job, and on a limited budget, too.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself

Cost: $5,000

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A good way to avoid your own altercations with a gardener would be to avoid having to hire one altogether. A group of entrepreneurs started renting out goats to manage lawns. Or you can make yourself a low maintenance lawn using xeriscaping.

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