Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
08 Jun 2020

Summer Watering Guide

Now is the time to program your sprinkler controller for summer watering to make sure your lawn and landscape are getting adequate water coverage.

How much should you water in the summer?

The starting point for our watering plan is summer because that is the season your soil loses the most water. During summer we recommend watering roughly an hour per week per zone in full sun. We also recommend watering in 10-minute bursts, so your lawn has time to absorb the water. If you water more than that, you run the risk of the water running down your street or alley because of our infamous clay soil in North Texas.

This means in summer we recommend that you water in ten minutes bursts two days per week at 2 am, 4 am, and 6 am.

The reason we recommend watering at these times is that it is cooler, which means less evaporation. There is also less wind that can blow your water onto your driveway, sidewalk or street. If you water as recommended, you will have more water that ends up in your lawn, which is both environmentally and financially smart.

Some of the newer controllers have what is called a seasonal adjust section. Those are really easy to use with this system. If you have shady areas in your lawn, you typically need to water about half the recommended time you would in a sunny area.

Important Note for Rotary Head Sprinklers and Drip Systems.

Rotary Head Sprinklers (they slowly turn and send out long streams of water.) We recommend running them twice as long because it takes them longer to put out the same amount of water.

Drip Zones (drip systems work by maintaining a level of moisture in the soil.) They can be tricky because they put out water at different rates, and the water going into the ground can vary based on how the drip hoses are installed. We recommend that they run daily or close to it (roughly 10 minutes per day in the summer.) It is important to pay attention to your beds to make sure they are getting the proper amount of water.

Download Summer Watering Guide

If you need help with programming your sprinkler or have any other issues give us a call at 972-495-6990 or Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. We offer affordable sprinkler repair by our certified irrigation technicians. You can also watch this quick video where Ken shows you how to properly program your sprinkler controller.

06 Apr 2020
Ken Hyatt

Quick Tip: Crane Flies, Mayflies, or Mosquito Hawks?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions this spring about these mega-mosquitoes, which are crane flies. I’ve heard them called mayflies, mosquito hawks, skeeter eaters, and my favorite, mosquito on steroids!
Everyone can rest easy; these aren’t some dangerously huge mosquitoes that have descended on North Texas.

These inch-long, gangly-legged insects that are sneaking into your home and bouncing off the walls and ceilings are crane flies, and despite rumors to the contrary, they are neither predators of mosquitoes nor a colossal mosquito. And they are harmless (even though you may see reports on the internet that they can bite or sting.)

Adult crane flies eat very little, if at all, according to the experts. Some of them can sponge up liquids, such as dew and honey water. Sometimes they’ll visit flowers to take up nectar.

The reason they don’t eat a lot is because adult crane flies typically only live a few days. Crane flies spend most of their time as larvae living underwater in streams, the edges of ponds, within wet logs, or in other damp places, and then emerge as adults for a quick mating spree before dying.

In our area, we typically see crane flies in spring, and we are seeing a lot currently in North Texas. Rest assured, most of these crane flies will be gone soon.

If you have any questions about your lawn or landscape give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.

01 Apr 2020

The Secret to a Great Landscape

Examples of what you don’t want to do. These landscapes don’t frame the house or have anything interesting near the entrance. There are also far too many rectangles and mushrooms in this landscape design.

Today I am going to share a secret about how to create a great landscape design. Whether you do it yourself or use Village Green, the key to a great landscape is to follow the great painter’s lead and create a frame around your home.

How do you do that? You start with the foundation planting at the bottom of your frame. You want the foundation plants to be dwarf type plants and ground cover. The reason this is important, so the plants do not obstruct the view of your home and hurt your drive-up appeal. You mustn’t cover up any interesting architectural details like columns, windows, and doors (see examples.)

Examples of what you don’t want to do. These landscapes don’t frame the house or have anything interesting near the entrance. There are also far too many rectangles and mushrooms in this landscape design.

You want your foundation planting designed to guide your eye to the entry of your home. Use a variety of shapes, forms, and textures to achieve this, and the style of the landscape will dictate your arrangement. Nearly always simple is best, and less is more. Keep the variety of plants to a minimum and mass them, so your eye is drawn toward the entry. The area around the door should have a vertical accent (3′-5’ tall) with seasonal color and more variety to draw your eye to this area.

The corner of your home should consist of larger shrubs and ornamental trees, usually 6′ or so, that make up the sides of the frame. This planting serves as a backdrop for the layering of plants that will help guide your eye to the entry. Tall plants at the corners and progressively smaller plants draw the eye to your entry.

The top of the frame generally consists of shade trees in your front yard; however, a grouping of ornamental trees along the foundation or shade trees in the back that is visible from the front can achieve the same effect.

If you have any questions about your landscape or want more information give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.

09 Mar 2020
Ken Hyatt

Ken’s Quick Tip: How to Prevent Poa Annua in your Lawn.

Poa Annua is a very common weed for us to see in North Texas in early to mid-spring. It is a grassy type of weed, with little seed heads. It comes up from seeds, which makes it an annual weed. Learn more about the causes and prevention of Poa Annua in this informative quick tip by Ken Hyatt, Founder, and President of Village Green. The best way to prevent weeds, including Poa Annua, is with an annual fertilization and weed control plan. If you are interested in hearing more about what Village Green has to offer, give us a call at 972-495-6990 or see the frequently asked questions about our program.

If you have a lawn or landscape question give us a call at call us at 972-495-6990 or Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.

19 Feb 2020

Ken’s Quick Tip: What’s that Grassy Weed in my Lawn?

Rescue grass is common in wintertime in North Texas. In our area, it germinates in mid to late December and is around through January and into February. The best way to get rid of rescue grass is to prevent it. At Village Green, we use a pre-emergent that works well. Like most things in life, it is all about timing, and if you don’t apply a good pre-emergent at the right time of the year, you’ll more than likely have to deal with rescue grass. When we take on a new customer’s lawn that has a rescue grass problem, we use a product that will make it go away, but the thing we always remind our new customer is that it takes a little time and patience to work. The best way to prevent weeds, including rescue grass is with an annual fertilization and weed control plan.

If you have a lawn or landscape question give us a call at call us at 972-495-6990 or Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.

08 Feb 2020

Ken’s Quick Tip: Why You Should Aerate Your Lawn.

If you live in North Texas, one of the most important things you can do to help your lawn thrive is annual lawn aeration.

The reason why is our North Texas soil. It is made up of tiny particles that compact over time. The longer you go without aerating your lawn the harder it is for your lawn to get the vital water, oxygen, and fertilizer it needs to thrive. If your lawn has a lot of traffic, whether it be people or pets, the problem can be even worse (this is why golf course aerate their greens and fairways a few times a year.)

Most of our customers don’t need to go that far, but aerating your lawn once a year is a wise investment for anyone who wants a healthy lawn.
Whether you do it yourself or hire it done, it really boils down to time. Aeration is simply punching thousands of tiny holes into your soil so water, oxygen, and fertilizer can more easily travel to the root system.

Village Green typically schedules our lawn aerations in late winter and early spring. If you’d like to learn more or find out the cost for your lawn give us a call at call us at 972-495-6990 or Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.

19 Jan 2020

Why You Want a Beautifully Brown Lawn in January

As contrary as it may seem, too much green in your lawn in January is a sign that you have a lot of winter weeds. That’s why I always tell our customers that in the North Texas winter, brown is beautiful. Let me explain why.

There are two types of weeds, the kind that sprouts from seeds and those that come back from their roots every year. When we apply a winter pre-emergent it creates a barrier in the soil, blocking most weed seeds from growing which means Village Green only has to spot treat the weeds that come back from their roots. These treatments during winter, when your lawn is dormant dramatically cut spring weeds. This is important because it not only saves time, it, more importantly, but also saves herbicides.

The exception is St. Augustine lawns. These lawns are sensitive to being treated with products and blanket treating a St. Augustine lawn with weed control products almost always stunts its growth. While Village Green does apply a winter pre-emergent to St. Augustine, our strategy is to apply it at half the recommended rate. Our ultimate goal for our customers with St. Augustine lawns is to make their grass so happy and healthy with proper watering and fertilization year-round that in the winter their lawn is too thick for weeds to touch the soil. This is what we call Mother Nature’s weed control!

At Village Green, we can’t prevent all weeds, but I guarantee you we can prevent most of them. That’s why we’re celebrating our 40th year in business in 2020, we deliver quality lawn control and a fair price.

If you need help with your lawn or landscape give us a call us at 972-495-6990 or Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. We would love to earn your business.

25 Apr 2019

Ken’s Quick Tip: Make Your Bed!

“I had my plants installed 8 years ago and they are the same size today as they were when they put into our landscape?!?”

I hear that statement often when I’m out on landscape project calls. The home owner is usually looking to make some updates in their landscape but are afraid they’ll get lackluster results. They often assume the reason the plants haven’t grown as much as they would like is because the previous landscape company used plants that were not good for North Texas. The real cause of their problem often comes as a surprise, because they had no clue the previous landscape company skipped one vital part of the project. They didn’t properly prepare the bed for the new plants.

It’s definitely not the most glamorous part of the project, but prepping the soil is critical in North Texas because of our unique soil. In fact, the only other place that has soil like ours in North Texas is in Africa!

If you’ve ever tried to dig with a shovel in North Texas, you know this unique soil is a challenge! If wet, it gets gummy. If dry, it is as hard as concrete. This is why you have to prep your beds properly before you do any planting.

Consider a new plant. They’ve been raised in soft, loose potting soil. If you pull them out of their pots and stick them in a bed without any prep they’ll be in shock because their roots have a hard time making the transition from the soft loose soil to the tough North Texas soil. What ends up happening is the roots grow around inside the original potting soil and the plant becomes stunted and root-bound. This is why a plant may have been installed years ago yet be roughly the same size as when they were planted.

Some will tell you it’s a lost cause to spend too much time and energy into amending the soil in North Texas. And while it is true, our clay soil will gobble up any amendments over time and eventually revert back to its original, tough natural state, it is still a step you cannot skip if you want a successful landscape.

The reason for putting in the hard work of tilling and mixing loose, healthy compost into our soil is that it gives the new plants a mix of our clay soil and a soil similar to what it has in its pot. This will give the plants a few years to send their roots out into the looser soil and lets them acclimate or adjust to their new home in North Texas.

Keep in mind you can’t till the soil after the plants have been installed. Your only chance is to do it prior to planting. Another key factor is to make sure you use compost (believe me all compost is not created equally!) Village Green uses what I feel is the best on the market, which is a garden mix. It is a blend of compost, decomposed pine, azalea mix, loam and expanded shale which is the perfect mix for any new plant to send roots out in a new landscape!

If you need help with any lawn or landscape problem we would love to earn your business. We install landscapes ranging from $2,500 up to $100,000 +, and have been helping our North Texas neighbors create beautiful outdoor spaces since 1980. Give call us at 972-495-6990 or Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.

20 Mar 2019

Landscape Spotlight: Dr. & Mrs. F’s Canyon Creek Project

Like many of our landscape clients, Dr. and Mrs. F’s project started with a service call. The couple had recently purchased a home in the Canyon Creek neighborhood of Richardson and needed help with their irrigation system. After finishing that repair work, Johnny, our irrigation tech took the time to train Dr. and Mrs. F on how to properly set and program their irrigation controller for the new home. The couple was so impressed with Johnny that they asked about Village Green handling their fertilization and weed control. Fast forward a few months and the clients were not only happy with our results, they were also impressed with the level or service and attention to detail Orlando our lawn care technician gave their lawn, so they decided to hire Village Green for their landscape project.

This project had an easy start thanks to the client’s experience and knowledge (they had re-done a landscape at their previous home in Haslet). They knew the value in working with a good landscape design done by a professional architect who specializes in using plants that not only look nice but also do well in North Texas’ weather and soil.

The couple had only one request for the job in regard to what they’d keep (their holly and crepe myrtle trees in front.) And Mrs. F wanted a large boulder in her yard (more on that in a minute!) Everything else was fair game to go.

As far as their requests for their new landscape, they wanted more color and felt that their beds needed to be expanded for depth. They also wanted to make sure that their plants were drought resistant and easy to take care of. Problems that needed to be solved in our design were a muddy side yard where their grandkids entered the yard to play basketball and overall drainage problems (including water getting into the garage after a heavy rain.)

Based on all of that our final plan to provide more color and depth included using Edward Gaucher abelias (a plant with soft, white blooms) on the outside corners to give color and height. We put in dwarf Indian hawthorns along their foundation to give some spring color and to provide a green background for their smaller perennials, trailing rosemary and dwarf Mexican petunias. We used flirt nandinas to frame their front porch (these will reach about two-feet tall and provide vivid red color in winter.)

To solve the problem with that muddy patch near their gate, we installed decomposed granite and put a flagstone stepping stone in front of the gate.

The other drainage issues were solved by removing the bad black corrugated pipe (you can learn why this pipe is bad in my recent Quick Tip) and replacing it with solid PVC pipe.

We also added an extra downspout near the garage to help their gutters from getting overwhelmed during a big rain (which is what flooded the garage.)

How’d it turn-out? You can see for yourself in the pictures! As for our drainage work, I with Dr. and Mrs. F after a recent Texas gully washer to see how it performed. They told me their garage didn’t get one drop of water in it after the big rain.

And the icing on the cake, they went on to tell me how much they loved the plants that we put in and had high praise for our landscape team (Hannah, Kristian and Salvador) who were polite, friendly and most important true professionals. Mrs. F said that even when she made some late changes to the design plan, Hannah quickly came up with a solution for her concerns that satisfied her request.

What’s up next for Dr. and Mrs. F? “Death Valley” (their playful pet name for their side-yard) and a boulder (I told you we’d get back to that in a minute.) It was important that we get that area right because see it several times per day as they pull into their garage.

They had planned on putting in a second driveway in their side-yard which is a series of levels made from railroad tie retaining walls. The driveway didn’t fit their budget, so they decided to have us work on Plan B (re-landscaping the area with plants and most important, placing that boulder Mrs. F wanted in the yard for her grandkids to be able to play on and jump on!)

If you are thinking about updating your landscape, give Village Green a chance to earn your business. We’ve been transforming landscapes and solving lawn problems in North Texas since 1980. For more information or to get an estimate on your project give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.

13 Mar 2019

Ken’s Quick Tip: Picking the Right Pipe

Example of ribbed pipe that will inevitable become clogged in North Texas

A critical component in a happy and healthy lawn and landscape is proper drainage. Your lawn’s health depends on how well it can retain and drain water. While grass needs the right amount to grow, too much water can impede oxygen uptake, slow metabolic processes and invite root rot. To make matters worse, in North Texas our infamous clay soil isn’t the best for natural drainage. If we get one of our famous gully washers and your downspouts aren’t properly connected (or you have other drainage challenges) you’re going to end up with standing water.

Choosing the right kind of pipe.

Most contractors in North Texas like to use a black flexible pipe that is ribbed (see example.) They like this pipe for two reasons, it’s cheap and easy to install.

These pipes are not good for drainage though because they tend to sag down to every low spot in their trench and become easily clogged by leaves and other debris which causes all kinds of problems.

At Village Green we only use a 4″ PVC pipe in our drainage system work.

This pipe costs more than the cheap black flexible kind and is harder to install, but the quality and smooth inside (that won’t become clogged) more than pays for itself over time.

If you have a drainage issue or any other lawn or landscape related problems, give us a call at 972-495-6990 or or email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. With nearly 40 years in North Texas, we have the expertise to solve your lawn and landscape problems and would love to earn your business in 2019.