Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
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.

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.

05 Jul 2017

Landscape Project Spotlight: HOA Help for a McKinney Lawn

It started with fall aeration. Which is not that unusual for Village Green. Most of our landscape projects start with us doing smaller jobs for a customer, earning their trust, which leads to future work. That’s how we’ve grown our business since day one, and how we ended up working with Mr. and Mrs. B in McKinney, Texas.

When Mr. B reached out to us regarding scheduling their aeration he mentioned he had problems spots in shady areas of his lawn. His HOA was unhappy about these problem areas and he was curious if Village Green had any suggestions to resolve the problem. When I visited the home, I gave them a few recommendations, but the more we walked around their property the more problems they brought up about their landscape. In addition to their bare spots, their Indian hawthorns were dying and Mrs. B wanted something pretty in her backyard with lots of color to look at while she watched her grandkids playing. She also wanted to have landscaping around their pool, mentioning a tropical look. Mr. B was more concerned with the lawn, wanting to replace his struggling bermuda grass with St. Augustine before his trees got too large to establish grass underneath them. As we walked and talked it became clear that the best way to handle all of their ideas was with a plan that could be done in phases over time so we scheduled our landscape architect David, to come out and design a long-term plan for their home.

One of the techniques David uses on front landscapes is to put larger plants further away from the entrance and smaller plants closer to the front door. The thought behind this strategy is that the plants on the outside edges of a yard tend to be seen as people drive by the home. This means you need fewer but larger plant to catch people’s attention. The plants at the entrance of a home are viewed as people walk up to the front door which means you want more plants, with different colors and textures because people will have more time to enjoy them.

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As you can see in the before photos above they had dwarf burfurd holly hedges lining their entrance. Those are great plants in the right location but they want to be 15 feet tall which means you have to put in a lot of work to keep them in check. Not to mention that they are so large it can feel like you are squeezing past them to get to the front door which isn’t a very welcoming feeling. We ended up replacing them with a ground cover called liriope, creme demint pittosporum – a small creme colored shrub, along with nandina – a feathery plant that turns red in the winter. We also left room for annuals which means lots of colors from the shrubs and annuals.

Further away from the entrance, where the trees have caused so much bare dirt, we used larger, variegated pittosporums, taller nandinas and oak leaf hydrangea – a large, drought tolerant hydrangea. In the sunnier areas, we added the St Augustine grass Mr. B requested.

Eventually their plan is for us to work on their backyard too, but in the meantime Mr. and Mrs. B are excited to see what their landscape will look like as it fills in and I’m sure the HOA is excited that all of that bare dirt has been replaced with beautiful plants.

Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. B for trusting Village Green to get the job done. I’m extremely proud of this project and happy for the opportunity to feature it in this profile.  Village Green has been around since 1980 and understands what it takes to design and install beautiful landscapes for our customers. If you are interested in learning more give us a call or shoot us an email today.

23 Jun 2017

Landscape Project Spotlight: Graduating to the Next Phase

Talk about pressure!  Mr. and Mrs. B’s landscape project in Plano had a hard deadline (their daughter was graduating high school) coupled with the fact that the family was celebrating the big event with a special party at their home and invited many family and friends.  Needless to say, everything had to be done just right, and on time, or we ran the risk of causing the family a lot of added stress!

For Village Green this type of project is NO problem.  We are a family owned and operated business and love playing a small role in our customer’s life, and contributing to something as joyous as this graduation was all the motivation we needed.

In addition to our hard deadline, this landscape design had a few other factors to consider.  Actually, five other factors in the form of the family dogs (one of which is a Great Dane who is well over 100 pounds!)  We had to keep grass in their backyard.  There was also an existing brick-fire pit and hammock that meant a lot to the family so we had to factor that into our final plan.  One last consideration was that while privacy wasn’t a huge deal, screening the view of their neighbor’s home was, so we had to solve that challenge in our final design.
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As you can see from the before and after photos, our landscape architect, David, designed a backyard that will cater to their dog’s needs.  We made sure we kept as much grass behind the pool as possible, while also adding grass in their side yard.  Under the hammock and around the fire-pit, we added decomposed granite to create a nice seating area.  From there we added shade loving plants and ground cover, such as hydrangea and Mondo grass along their back fence where there was too much shade to grow much else.  Between the houses we added a majestic beauty Indian hawthorn tree. Many people are familiar with the small variety that gets a few feet tall, but this one will grow to over 15′ tall and will screen the neighbor’s home from view, as well as provide beautiful blooms in the early spring.

I’m happy to report that Mrs. B says the party went off without a hitch and that she LOVES her new landscape.

Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. B for trusting Village Green to get the job done. I’m extremely proud of this project and happy for the opportunity to feature it in this profile.  One of the things I love about this project is that Mr. and Mrs. B had Village Green design both their front and back yards, but only completed the work on their back yard.  That is one of our strengths at Village Green, we’ve been around since 1980 and understand what it takes to create a design that is a road map to follow for our customers.  If all the work can’t be done at once, no problem! Village Green can and will work with you in phases.  Since we’re working off a solid plan you can rest assured that the work we do will always be cohesive and complement each phase regardless of how much time passes between phases.

26 Feb 2017

Landscape Spotlight: Made in the Shade


Village Green has been in business since 1980, and one of my favorite parts about that longevity is the ability to have long term relationships with many of our customers.  A great example is Mr. and Mrs. M. in Plano.

In 2007 we worked on their landscape by focusing on planting around their foundation and adding some plants around the base of their oak trees (which were big back then.)  They love their St. Augustine lawn, but those oak trees provide a lot of shade, and the fact is that causes bald spots in the best of lawns.  The couple have done all they could do to keep their grass thriving, but the reality is those oak trees are much larger today and they were fighting a losing battle.  After replacing the grass a few times, they finally realized it was time to throw in the towel and call Village Green for an update.

David, our landscape architect, redesigned his original drawing for their home, extending their front beds to cover the bare areas caused by the shade.  They love their original stone border so we had Andres, our mason, move it out, re-using their original stone and adding more that matched as needed.  Mrs. M. likes boulders so we brought in a few more and placed them where she wanted them.  We added flirt nandina, a colorful dwarf nandina, along with care grass – all of which will do much better in the shade than their St. Augustine.

The end result – Mr. and Mrs. M. love their updated landscape and Village Green was able to build upon a solid landscape design we did over a decade ago. If that isn’t a text book win-win I don’t know what is!
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Since 1980, Village Green has specialized in creating extraordinary landscapes for our customers. Our personalized, one-on-one approach allow us to take your ideas and inspiration and transform them into a beautiful landscape that will enhance your home and happiness.  If you’d like for us to help update your landscape or solve a problem in your yard, give us a call at 972-495-6990.  You can also email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.  There is no obligation for us to discuss a project and we’re always happy to give an estimate on your projects.  We would love to earn you landscape business.

13 Jan 2017

Landscape Spotlight: Wide Open Spaces

A new year, a new year landscape spotlight!  And today’s is perfect.  Like 2017, which is wide open in front of us, Ms. J’s home in Frisco, Texas was the very definition of a ‘wide open space.’

Ms. J called us soon after moving into her newly built home for some recommendations on what kind of plants she should consider installing.  David (our landscape architect,) and I arrived for our initial consultation to find a beautiful new home on a huge corner lot.  I remember being struck with the fact that she had enough land for several soccer’s fields! 

Since Ms. J’s home is a corner lot, her home is one of the first you see coming into this new neighborhood.  This was a key point in our plan, because it was extremely important that her landscaping represent her and the neighborhood well.  Another consideration was that we had to provide her a certain amount of privacy without compromising her wide open space.

As you will see from our design, our solution was to attack this landscape two ways.  For the areas that would be seen at a distance (people driving into the neighborhood in cars) we went simple beds.  We used fewer large plants.  In the areas where people would be walking post or enjoying the home close-up we used a variety of smaller plants with lots of colors and textures.  The end result is when you drive by you see a stunning landscape that doesn’t overwhelm the eye, while maintaining the majesty of the large lot.  Up close, well you can get lost in the details of the plants, their shapes, textures and colors.

Speaking of plants.  We installed nandinas, irises and a dash of annuals at the entrance.  These plants grow up, but not out, to help direct people to the entrance.  Just beyond that entrance, Andres, our stone mason, installed a flagstone sitting area.  As you can see from the photos, he did a stellar job in making the joints no wider than an inch or so. 

We also installed savanah hollies, little gem magnolias and a couple of vitex trees along the rod-iron fence to screen off the pool area from the street.  Another benefit is that the vitex trees have purple blooms during the summer which add great color.  Around the swimming pool you’ll note we installed fan palms, sages, pink muhly grass and a number of smaller plants.

The end result is a fantastic project for the Village Green portfolio.  More importantly though, Ms. J is ecstatic about her new home and landscape and still has enough room left for a soccer field (or two!)

Thank you Ms. J for allowing me to spotlight this landscape project.  Village Green has been transforming lawns and landscapes in your neighborhood since 1980.  We specialize in creating extraordinary outdoor spaces at all budget points for our customers.  Our personalized one-on-one approach allow us to take your ideas and inspiration and transform them into a beautiful landscape that will enrich your life.  If you’d like more information or an estimate on your project contact us at 972-495-6990 or Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.

 

12 Nov 2016

Landscape Spotlight: From Bare Dirt and Dated To Serene Sanctuary

Today’s landscape spotlight illustrates how much our work can transform a home. Michael and Melissa D’s home was the definition of a blank slate.  But their property was amazing with a lot of potential, and as soon as David (our landscape architect) and I started discussing the project I knew we had the opportunity to create Michael and Melissa their dream landscapes.

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Michael and Melissa’s landscape request was simple.  And specific.  Update our tired front yard and make the mud in our backyard disappear!
 
The front yard part of this project was pretty straight forward for us but the back was quite special because of the yard’s unique features.  They have a large patio that overlooks their backyard which includes a lovely koi pond and a bridge that leads further into the large backyard.  The yard, which has many large trees that provide ample shade, was pretty much nothing but bare dirt (which turned to mud when we had rain.)

Their backyard was amazing (even with all that dirt!)  Even with a koi pond with bridge, it was very large and curved around the back of the home.  One of Michael’s dreams for the space was to have pathways through the backyard that he could use to walk or sit and enjoy the abundant nature his property provided.   In the photos of the project you’ll see our design accomplished that goal.  There are paths through the backyard with a large, stone water feature dropping into the koi pond which create the perfect ambience for that leisurely stroll Michael desired.

The entire property has a lot of large trees which provide ample shade but also make one of Melissa’s goals for the front, growing grass, a challenge. She also wanted to get rid of the dated look, and tame what landscape they did have which she felt had become overgrown to the point of covering up the home’s exterior features.  She felt this made the entrance feel cramped.

As you’ll see in my photos, our design created an open look for the front of the home.  We replaced their grass with a ground cover called mondo grass and, closer to the home, fern like plants called plum yew.  On either side of the entrance are soft caress mahonia which is a medium sized plant that will frame the entrance and make it feel more inviting.

Most couples will appreciate the biggest challenge Michael and Melissa faced when I presented our design.  Which area to do first,  Michael’s dream backyard or Melissa’s front?  After a few days they called to say that they had compromised, they would be doing both at the SAME time!

Thank you Michael and Melissa for allowing me to spotlight this landscape project.  Village Green has been transforming lawns and landscapes in your neighborhood since 1980.  We specialize in creating extraordinary outdoor spaces at all budget points for our customers.  Our personalized one-on-one approach allow us to take your ideas and inspiration and transform them into a beautiful landscape that will enrich your life.  If you’d like more information or an estimate on your project contact us at 972-495-6990 or Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.

12 Oct 2016

Barry T. Landscape Project Spotlight

I’m excited about showcasing this project for Barry T because it illustrates that Village Green has the capabilities to handle a wide variety of landscape jobs.

Barry, who lives in Richardson, is a single dad who doesn’t have a lot of time to spend working on his lawn and landscape.  He also didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the update, so he had set a modest budget for this job.  Another major factor was the non-working sprinkler system that the previous owner had installed.  In the end Barry wanted Village Green to install a nice looking landscape on a modest budget that would be easy to maintain.

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The past couple of landscapes we’ve profiled are based on designs from our landscape architect, David Daigle.  Since we had a tight budget on this one, Barry asked me to come up with a design and plan for his home.  You can see my ‘fancy’ design above, and quickly understand why our larger landscape projects require David’s professional design work.  That being said, my design, although simple gets the job done in a way where you quickly understand the idea for this project.

Since Barry’s sprinkler system doesn’t work, and he doesn’t have any immediate plans to fix it, we decided on heat tolerant plants such as nandina compactas, Mexican petunias and variegated pittosporums.   These plants need water to get started, but once they are established, they are fine with occasional watering making them the very definition of low maintenance.

As you can see from the photos above, this is a very informal, natural landscape and Barry will only need to prune the plants once or twice per year.  Which is perfect for this single dad, he can stay focused on his family instead of the landscape!

I followed up with Barry the day we finished our installation to make sure he was happy with my design and our installation work.  He told me that his new landscape is the best on the block now, and was so energized and proud that he had already been to Home Depot to invest in some soaker hoses to get those plants established!

A huge thank you to Barry for allowing me to spotlight his landscape project which shows we have the capabilities to handle a wide variety of landscape jobs.  In fact, since 1980 we have specialized in creating extraordinary landscapes at all budget points for our customers. Our personalized one-on-one approach allow us to take your ideas and inspiration and transform them into a beautiful landscape that will enhance your home and happiness.  For more information and/or an estimate on your project contact us at 972-495-6990 or Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.

05 Sep 2016

Troy S. Landscape Project Spotlight Tour

Troy S., is a typical Village Green landscape customer.  He takes a tremendous amount of pride in the overall appearance of his home, but with a hectic work schedule, he doesn’t have the time to dedicate to landscaping.  This has resulted to Troy’s landscape taking on what he called a ‘hodgepodge’ feel which detracted from the exterior beauty of his home.

Which is why Troy came to Village Green.  He wanted us to help him create an inviting, low maintenance landscape that made complemented his home.
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As you can see in the photos above, we left the larger plants in place in the front of the home and replaced the shrubs with smaller, dwarf and semi-dwarf plants, such as carex grass and kaleidoscope abelias . 
You’ll note on Troy’s design that it looks like we went overboard on plants, but the reality is that most of our selections will only get a foot or so tall which means as they mature they only rarely will need to be trimmed.  The plants were also selected because they open the home up so you can see more of the beautiful details of the exterior.  In the circular drive bed, the original shrubs were tall enough to screen the view of the home which made the home less inviting.  Which is why we replaced some of those plants with smaller ones such as purple heart and trailing rosemary.

In the back, Troy was less than pleased with seeing his neighbor’s roof every time he looked back across his patio and pool.  Our plan provided savanah holly trees which will eventually screen the roof.

Another problem area for Troy was what he felt was a wasted area behind his outdoor fireplace (where he stores his bull shaped grill.)  We made sure to fill in the area with blooming cannalilies.  The rest of the backyard landscape was fine, so we decided to keep most of the plants, and added some small perennials around the pool to give the area more color.

For those of you who wonder if landscapes can be installed in hot weather, I’d like to point out that this landscape was installed just before our hottest weather this summer.  And as you can see from our recent photos, the plants we chose did just fine in our North Texas heat.

Troy is very pleased with our work and we appreciate the opportunity to be able to spotlight his lovely home to our customers to illustrate the landscape capabilities of Village Green.In fact, since 1980 we have specialized in creating extraordinary landscapes for our customers. Our personalized, one-on-one approach allow us to take your ideas and inspiration and transform them into a beautiful landscape that will enhance your home and happiness.  We are currently scheduling landscape projects for the fall, which is one of the best times of the year to install a landscape.  For more information and/or an estimate on your project contact us at 972-495-6990 or Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.