After fighting in World War II, Lynn Gripon studied landscape design at Texas A&M and in 1951 opened a gardening shop with the help of his green-thumbed wife. Now operated by his son, Lynn's Landscaping & Water Garden Center has blossomed into a lush showroom of outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, manicured putting greens, and the shop's bestselling disappearing fountains—glazed pots overflowing with water that seems to disappear into the ground. Waterfalls tumble over miniature boulders before slipping into calm ponds filled with leisurely koi, flowering lily pads, and sunken galleons. Knowledgeable staffers serve as tour guides to the veritable forest of plants and dispense helpful tips for creating backyard utopias. Lynn's professional landscapers transform backyards into tiered gardens, spacious party zones, or verdant hiding places for the family's pet T-rex. Designers plot the set-up before gardeners, and handymen plant trees and shrubs or install decks, gazebos, water-efficient sprinklers, and koi ponds. Every design is built to last with quality materials, such as outdoor fireplaces and kitchens made with glass-fiber-reinforced concrete and Vista light fixtures made with weather-resistant carbon composite and bulbs modeled after Superman's eyeballs.
If a Houston homeowner's landscape is a family made up of verdant lawns, colorful flowers, and leafy shrubs, then the trees are the shy middle children. Unlike the lawn, trees don't get doted on with nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Unlike flowers, trees are not patiently pruned, weeded, or plucked and pinned to a grandmother's lapel. Sadly, most homeowners only pay attention to trees once it's too late; by then, their foliage has wilted to a pale yellowy complexion and they’ve started hanging out with bad crowds of bagworms or pine-bark beetles. At Texas Tree Team, arborists make sure that these gentle specimens get the nurturing they need to survive and thrive. Their services care for trees throughout their leafy life span, from planting and feeding to pruning and stump removal. The team also protects trees threatened with displacement or removal by construction or urban sprawl, preserving shade and blossoms for future residents. Along with protecting mature trees, the company also plants new saplings, dotting landscapes with trees ranging from color-sprayed magnolias, bradford pears, pecan trees, or crepe myrtles to palms hearty enough to weather even the hottest heat waves.
A lush lawn and garden center teems with trees, flowers, and fragrant mulches, inspiring homeowners to create cozy stomping grounds for their farm animals and household pets. Inside Gulf Coast Equine and Pet Center, bags of feed from brands such as Purina and Nutrena await trips to swine troughs, dog dishes, and the Triple Crown trophies from which the coolest horses eat their meals. An onsite pet salon grooms dogs large and small, paying close attention to families' and pets' personal tastes as groomers create each dog's new 'do.
In more than 1,112 stores worldwide, Edible Arrangements' Fruit Experts arrange pieces of premium fruit in stunning displays for all occasions. Customers can customize their order to suit any occasion, receiving chocolate-dipped fruit such as pineapples, granny-smith apples, and juicy strawberries that, unlike the sodas found in most mummies' crypts, don't contain any preservatives. Fruit Experts can dip fruit in gourmet semisweet or white chocolate. For birthdays and anniversaries, chocolate wielders can personalize bouquets with gifts such as plush teddy bears and mylar balloons.
At Nasa Flowers, Teleflora florists fill vases, baskets, and centerpieces with fragrant blossoms that range from traditional to exotic. The staff arranges flowers for all occasions, gathering long-stem roses for anniversaries and stalks of bamboo for dinner dates with pandas. Add-ons such as chocolate candies and soft, stuffed bears transform birthday blooms into hug-worthy greetings, and balloons add joyful messages to wedding and baby gifts. Upon request, the shop delivers its creations internationally, helping customers to brighten friends’ homes, offices, and vacation yurts.