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.
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.
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.
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.