Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
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.

04 Mar 2019

Ken’s Quick Tip: An Unwelcome Sign Spring is Near in North Texas

Henbit

At Village Green a sure sign that spring is near is the arrival of henbit North Texas lawns. And while any sign of spring is at some level is welcome, henbit is a weed.

As far as weeds go, henbit is pretty, with a rich green and cute purple flower, but we still don’t like to see it our lawns. During our winter months, brown is beautiful. In fact you can learn on why brown is beautiful in one of my previous Quick Tips.

So, how do you get rid of henbit? The best way is to prevent it from starting in the first place which means using a good pre-emergent in the winter. The trouble is if you are seeing henbit in your lawn now, you’re too late to do that this year and you need to use a broadleaf weed control to make it go away. A good rule of thumb is anything that will make dandelions go away will also take care of henbit.

If you aren’t the do-it-yourself type and don’t want to mess with chemicals another easy tip is to simply cut your lawn short. PLEASE DON’T SCALP IT!) If it comes back up, mow it again. Keep in mind these are winter weeds which means as our days get and stay warmer, they will go away on their own.

Finally, if you’d like to not have to worry about weeds period, give us a call. We offer affordable feed and fertilization programs based on eight annual visits a year. I promise with our expertise in North Texas (we’ve been doing it since 1980) we can solve any lawn or landscape problems. Give us a call at 972-495-6990 or or email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. We’d love to have the opportunity to earn your lawn and fertilization business in 2019!

22 Oct 2018

Ken’s Quick Tip: Update on Armyworm Invasion of North Texas

A few weeks ago, my Quick Tip was about the armyworm invasion of North Texas. In today’s Quick Tip I’d like to share a quick update about them, and pass along a funny story.

If you read my last Quick Tip, you know that army worms can cause extensive damage to your lawn, but that damage is short term.

One of my neighbors doesn’t take care of his lawn. They don’t water, and certainly don’t have a fertilizer or weed control program in place, which is evident in what was a brown, thin, and weedy lawn. You might think I’m judging them, but in all honesty, I find it funny considering Village Green is my family business. They are also nice people, who are probably not as passionate as a health lawn as me (and they’ve obviously haven’t realized Village Green offers affordable lawn care plans.)

When the armyworms invaded a few weeks ago, their lawn was destroyed. The army worms stripped all the leaves on their bermuda grass (all the way to the stem.) It was some of the worst damage I saw during the army worm infestation.

The good news is your grass isn’t dead, just cut back, and it will grow back eventually. It may look bad for some time and the armyworms are very creepy, but there’s really no long term damage being done.

Fast forward to this week and the armyworms are gone (we’ve not seen any for a couple of weeks.) And my neighbors brown, thin, and weedy lawn? It’s actually bright green and healthy (check out the photo with this article.)

While I’m definitely not recommending armyworms as a way to have a healthy lawn, in the case of my neighbor’s lawn it worked! Their scalping cleared all the weeds and bad grass and allowed (with our recent rains) the grass to reestablish.

You may be wondering where all those armywarms went? Next time you are at a high school football game look up at the lights. The record breaking number of moths we’re seeing in our area are those grown up armyworms.

f you have a question regarding your lawn or landscape give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. I love to answer your questions and they often become the subjects of my Quick Tips which help all our customers.

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