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.
The dedicated grass whisperers at Scapes Environmental Design spruce up front-yard foliage with a retinue of mulch-cutting mowers. Green carpets of up to 4,500 square feet are scythed once a week, kept short enough so as to not sprout unsightly dandelion colonies or swallow up immobile sunbathers. Each mowing is accompanied by an edging of grassy cuticles from sidewalks, driveways, and front curbs, the viridian debris eventually whisked away by a blower. Whether for a month or a one-time service, Scapes Environmental Design relieves homeowners from the onerous task of intimidating grass back into the netherworld, freeing up time for weekend getaways or getting to the bottom of their pet parakeet's recent sullen comments.
A local, family-owned business, Natural Wonders Landscaping knows how to make lawns look their best in the unique climate and soil of the Houston area. Landscape designers help customers plan the perfect yard, and technicians install and maintain landscapes with a range of services. Lawns enjoy mowing, aeration, fertilizer, seeding, and weed and pest control, and sprinkler repair services keeps turf moist. Tree-removal and trimming services let sunlight fuel the growth of grass instead of daily sprinklings of protein powder. Technicians also install and maintain concrete, flagstone, and tile.
The perfect combination of flowers, plants, and landscaping can drastically transform the look of a home—something that P.J. Whitehouse, the owner of Heights Plant Farm, knows firsthand. When searching for a business location, she eschewed the traditional storefront and instead purchased an old house. She then transformed this building's front and back yards into a sea of flowers, potted plants, and trees.
To help customers make over their own yards, P.J. and her staff design landscapes for free, creating the perfect arrangement of flowers, trees, and plants. And to ensure these new residents live healthy lives, they run a deliver-and-dig program. With this service, gardeners will deliver, plant, and potty train each customer's chosen flora.
While plants dominate the outdoors, P.J. devotes her business's interior to handcrafted jewelry, locally produced honey, and relaxation aids. She also stocks the works of local artists.
For 23 years, Mike Lowery has tended to greenery and coaxed blossoms from flowers in the nursery of Another Place in Time. Over the years, he's learned sure-fire ways to diagnose a plant's health. That's why he visits local growers personally when he buys plants, flowers, and trees, handpicking the healthiest specimens.
Visitors to Mike's nursery can find unusual succulents, tropical blooms, and exotic houseplants to display in a window or feed to a vegetarian venus flytrap. The nursery's gift shop is filled with goods such as Texas-made candles and chimes that fill gardens with wandering melodies.
Barbara spent her childhood on her father's cotton farm, surrounded by the science and business of growing plants. And when it came time to start her own career, she pursued horticulture, and so her son Jacob enjoyed a similar upbringing. Inspired by role models such as Seattle Urban Farm Co., Barbara and Jacob decided to bring their agricultural know-how to city folk, and help them raise fresh, organic vegetables in their own homes.
Along with a small team, Barbara and Jacob transform a small portion of clients' yards and back decks into produce producers. They construct raised garden beds out of durable rough cedar planks and fill them with soil rich in organic fertilizers and nutrients to help earthworms grow into beautiful eels. They then plant a different crop in every square foot of the box, which means their three standard sizes of beds can sustain anywhere from eight to 32 different crops. They see their vegetable gardens as a long-term investment for their clients; after all, the growing season lasts all year thanks to Houston's climate.
Having resolved at a young age to pursue his passion for green building, Jeff Kaplan created the Urban Land Institute's Young Leaders Program when he was just 21 years old. In late 2007, Jeff started The Green Painter by New Living, a green building and home store whose high environmental standards earned the shop a B Corporation certification. Today, New Living sells exclusively eco-friendly products from ethical businesses. Kaplan's efforts at revitalizing Houston's small businesses and affinity for wearing capes earned him the title of Green Hero from the U.S. Green Building Council.