Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
19 Aug 2017

Landscape Project Spotlight: Burgers & Landscapes

Getting older, especially as a business, has many rewards!  Probably my favorite is that we have formed many long-term relationships in our community with our customers who have used us over the years for their lawn and landscape needs.  

This Landscape Spotlight is a perfect example of what I mean.  We first met Mr. and Mrs. T at Big O’ Dad’s in Richardson.  This was a local burger spot that served great food, and Mom, Dad, my brother Keith and I would often take a lunch break from mowing and chat with the owners and all the other regulars at this neighborhood hang-out.  Big O’ Dad’s was like a burger restaurant version of the bar in the TV show Cheers and where we met Mr. and Mrs. T who were regulars like us and used us to do work for them in the 80’s and 90’s when they lived in Dallas.  Sadly, years later Big O’ Dad’s closed, and Mr. and Mrs. T moved out of Dallas but in 2006 they needed help with their lawn they remembered the Hyatt Family and Village Green Lawn & Landscape.

A couple of years ago the couple asked us to create a long-range plan for landscaping their home.  Their main priority was the backyard which they wanted to work on first, but they also had the desire to do their front yard at a later time thus wanted a cohesive plan.

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A great feature in their backyard is a large, glass enclosed patio, that allows them to enjoy their outside space year-round.  The problem was they didn’t feel there was anything good to look at, and wanted to install something beautiful to enjoy from this patio.  We surrounded the area with plants, using taller Savanah hollies in the corners to screen the view of the neighboring roofs, and flowering, medium sized Edward Goucher abelias along the fence line to soften the look of the fence.  We added a flagstone patio large enough for a table and chairs and installed a large, stone water feature to create a relaxing feel.  We completed that work roughly two years ago. 

This is why long-range plans are great.  You can do them in phases which allow you to be less concerned with the cost in the planning stage since you are doing it over time.  It gives you the freedom to create your dream landscape on paper and then decide how quickly (or slowly) you want to work through the plan.  That’s what we did on this project.  We installed their backyard two years ago and then last year we worked on the front.  The front had a large tree that was shading out the grass underneath.  We used a red bud tree underneath the large oak tree.  Red buds add great color in the spring and also work well as an under-story tree, a tree that does fine underneath a taller tree.  We used plum yews, a medium, fern like plant to give to give texture in the shade and added a dwarf plant called kaleidoscope abelia because it changes colors from yellow to red plus has soft pink blooms.  We used some gulf stream nandinas to frame the entry and added some annuals to welcome guests to the front door.

I really enjoy stopping by and checking in on our landscape and visiting with Mr. and Mrs. T.  They are a great couple and I really appreciate them letting me single them out and share our story with this spotlight.  It’s so much fun to remember the days when I was putting my way through college with Mom and Dad’s help, stopping in at our shared favorite lunch spot, Big O’ Dad’s. That was a lot of years ago now, but life is funny, because that’s how I’m currently putting my own daughter through college pretty much the same way.

06 Aug 2017

Ken’s Quick Tip: Two Important Tools Every Homeowner Needs

It’s a home owner’s nightmare.  You look outside and realize your sprinklers are running, and judging by the water running down the street, they’ve been running all day long.  You run to your sprinkler controller and turn it off, but nothing happens!  Your sprinklers are still going full blast.  You have no idea what is going on, and more importantly all you want to do is to get it to stop! 

Most customers are surprised to learn that when valves wear out and fail, most are designed to fail in the open position (great design, right?).  The thing to remember is that turning them off can be pretty easy if you have the right couple of tools on hand and know where your cut-off is located.  

All sprinkler systems are required to have a backflow prevention device.  This device keeps the water from your sprinkler system from getting sucked backwards into your drinking water.  If your sprinkler system was installed in the past 30 years or so, your home probably has what is called a double-check and is usually near your water meter.  You can find it by looking for a big, rectangular lid made out of green plastic.  Inside that box you will find a long gadget with two handles at either end of it.  Sometimes the handles will look like faucets but most of them are T-shaped.  The T-handle will be in line with the device.  To turn the water off to the sprinkler system, simply turn either of the handles (it doesn’t matter which one) perpendicular (cross-wise) to the device and that will turn the water off to the sprinkler system and still leave the water going to your home.

Getting the handles to turn can be tough at times because they get old and rusty.  If you’re lucky, you can use your hand but most of the time you’ll need to use a pair of channel lock pliers or a T-handled meter shutoff tool made especially for the job.  This gadget works nicely turning the handles with the added plus of not reaching your hands down into the muddy hole.  If you can’t get the handles to turn or can’t find the cutoff, you’ll need to turn the water off at the meter.  That’s where the second tool comes in handy – a meter key.  This is a must have for all homeowners.  The meter key allows you to open your meter and turn the water off to your home.  A sprinkler leak is bad enough, but at least it’s outside.  If you have a pipe break inside your house, you don’t want to wait for the city or a plumber to come save you.  Use this key to open the meter.  Near the face of the meter you will find a short stub that turns. Use your T-shaped meter shutoff to turn that valve until it stops.  Yes, you’ll be without water but at least you won’t have water running down the street or, if it’s a plumbing leak, inside your home.  Where can you find these tools?  Any hardware store will have them.  In fact, some stores sell a tool that has the meter key and the meter shutoff combined into one.

If you’ve ever had Village Green do any sprinkler work on your home, you probably noticed that our technicians always inspect the doublecheck making sure to turn the handles.  The reason we do this is to make sure if you need to turn them in the future, they will be easier to turn because we’ve recently turned them.  They can be very hard to budge because of the before mentioned rust and age.  It’s a small part of our overall service call, but we feel it is important. As I hope you know by now, customer service is what Village Green is all about and why we’ve been around since 1980.

As always, if you have a question regarding your lawn and landscape give us call at 972.495.6990 or email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com.  I love to answer your questions and often turn them into Quick Tips to help teach our customers on all things lawn and landscape related!