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.
Beyond Paradise Nursery spreads scores of succulents, shrubs, flowers, palm trees, and other seasonal plants across its spacious 3-acre facility. Homeowners can fill empty spaces with long-lasting blooms such as 3-gallon Double Knock Out roses ($20), or let the colorful petals of a 3-gallon loropetalum ($16) cheer up a lonely lawn ornament. Encore azaleas ($25 for a 3-gal.) turn their vibrant faces toward driveways and porches; the blossoms of Little John bottlebrushes ($20 for a 3-gal.) blow in the breeze like miniature pom-poms. During the holiday season, a variety of poinsettias will also be available.
For more than 60 years, Maas Nursery’s green-thumbed staff has been tending to the blooming foliage, gardening supplies, and décor at the 8-acre facility. The 4-inch vegetable plants ($1.50 each) and 4-inch herbs ($2.49 each) garnish entrees, season sauces, and spice up expired milk with garden-fresh zest, and colorful 4-inch perennial bedding plants ($1.99 each to $35 for a 20 flat) and bonanza camellia shrubs ($62.99/5-gallon size) add zing to monochromatic lawns.
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.