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.
Pati Villarreal knows the distinctive soil of Galveston Island—she's been tilling it since 1991. As the owner and operator of Island Lawn Care, she and her crews adeptly manage the untamed growth of palms and ferns and keep traditional straight-edged lawns looking neat and green. When hired to do regularly schedule maintenance, they change up the path they take through the yard with the mower to reduce the appearance of ruts in the grass, practicing what Pati calls an "alternate mowing pattern." In addition to keeping yards healthy and aesthetically pleasing, the adept workers can design landscapes, install plants and flowerbeds, and bribe lawn gnomes into staying put.
Despite the many flourishing yards left her wake, Pati doesn't consider a neat lawn to be the sole thing she's selling. "Our primary product is reliability," she says. This dependability surfaces in the business’ commitment to performing regular yard work, providing convenient electronic means of payment, and communicating in both English and Spanish.
Owner Robin Curtis and her dressy canine sidekick, Sadie, welcome guests into the cozy, flower-filled storefront of Aroma Garden Creations, where invigorating scents urge browsers to peruse the lace-lined shelves stocked with Robin's homemade soaps and toiletries. Glassware brimming with colorful bath salts send perfumed wafts of air through the boutique's selection of straw hats, jewelry, and wineglass koozies. Signs made from old barn wood depict catty sayings, and a pink claw-foot tub cradles a reclining mannequin, whose relaxed gaze lands on customer favorites such as oatmeal-peppermint soap and aromatic linen sprays. Robin can also ship special orders filled with her private collection of shea crèmes or Grammy's sugar scrubs, crafting perfect gifts for girlfriends in other states or just-out-of-reach bathtubs.
Brandon Ward, the owner of Ward Mowing Service, handles each job personally. He and his crew—which sometimes includes his 7- and 4-year-old sons Tanner and Cole—arrive to maintain lawns with ease, whether performing services such as mowing, pet-waste removal, or pool maintenance. He also specializes in landscaping and miscellaneous services, which range from veggie-garden installation and hedge trimming to fence repair, leaf cleanup, and flower-bed service.