Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
10 Dec 2018

Ken’s Quick Tip: How to Protect your Plants this Winter in North Texas

The first day of winter is December 21 which means we’ll be seeing more cold fronts pushing through North Texas over the next few months (if not before!) I’m often asked what can be done to make sure plants survive an Arctic blast or worse, snow and ice.

Fortunately for us in North Texas it is rare for cold weather that is well below freezing to last that long (we’re too close to the Gulf of Mexico.) And while it may be uncomfortable to us humans (and pets,) the truth is these cold temps aren’t that big of a problem for our plants.

What really harms the majority of plants in North Texas is that our cold fronts often bring very cold and DRY air. That means when you see that temperatures are predicted to plummet, the best protection you can provide your plants it water them. If the soil is wet, even if the temperature plunges into the single digits, the soil temperature won’t drop below 32 degrees which protects the roots of your plants.

While your plants will survive the cold if you’ve watered, Village Green does recommend covering your blooming plants, such as pansies, or your more sensitive plants. But please use an old sheet or cloth towel. Do not cover your plants with a plastic sheet or tarp. This is bad! The plastic works like a magnifying glass, and will scald the plants underneath doing far more damage than the cold.

Have a lawn or landscape question? Give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. We’ve been helping our neighbors improve the health and beauty of their lawns and landscapes for over thirty five years and have a lot of experience and knowledge in what plants and trees will thrive in North Texas, which will save you time and money in the long run.

03 Dec 2018

Ken’s Quick Tip: What to do About Fall Leaves

Many of our customers wrongly assume that leaving fall leaves on their lawn is a good thing. Actually it is not, and the reason why surprises many of our customers.

When you leave your leaves (that’s a mouthful!) on your lawn it becomes accustomed to the added protection the leaves provide. Then, when that inevitable North Texas wind blows, the leaves will move exposing your lawn from the cold which could leave to freeze damage if our temps drop low enough.

Another concern is that leaves hold moisture in the lawn which sounds good in theory, but often leads to fungal problems in lawns in our area.

St. Augustine is especially susceptible to both freeze damage and fungal problems so piles of leaves is very bad for our St. Augustine customers.

Now that I’ve hopefully convinced you to get rid of your leaves, what do I recommend as the best way to clean them up in the fall? A mulching lawn mower is the way to go, simply shred them every couple of weeks. If you shred them, most of the time you won’t end up with nearly as many bags than if you simply rake and bag them.

Finally, what should you do with leaves in your landscape beds? Think of it as free mulch for the winter and let the leaves stay put (or use some of the shredded leaves from lawn in your beds.)

 

If you have any lawn or landscape related questions give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. We’ve been helping our neighbors improve the health and beauty of their lawns and landscapes for over thirty five years and have a lot of experience and knowledge in what plants and trees will thrive in North Texas, which will save you time and money in the long run.

26 Nov 2018

Ken’s Quick Tip: How to Plant a Healthy Tree

By far the two biggest mistakes I see when home owners (and some landscape companies) plant a tree is planting too low, and too much mulch. In today’s quick tip I’ll give you my secrets to planting a healthy tree in North Texas.

Mistake 1: Planting tree too low

This simply mistake is the most common one we see and does damage to the tree. It also is the main reason if a tree has been planted for a year or so and never really grown. Most think a tree is supposed to be planted with the root ball flush with the soil level. This results in people planting their trees too deep which makes it hard for your newly planted tree to thrive.

What you should do is plant the tree, so the root flare is flush with the soil level (to get a better idea of the root flare, think about a neck flares into a person’s shoulders. The problem is a lot of growers take the excess dirt from digging the tree out of the ground and pile a layer of that dirt onto the root ball. That means many trees arrive with a two to three inch layer of dirt that needs to be scraped away to export the root flare which most people don’t realize (or miss.)

The reason this is bad for your tree is that this excess dirt rots the bark off of the tree and prevents valuable nutrients from moving from the roots up to the branches. One of the symptoms of a tree that has been planted too deep is if you lean on a tree that has been in the ground a few years and that tree’s trunk rocks easily back and forth in the ground, that tree is slowly rotting.

Mistake 2: Too much mulch (a.k.a. mulch volcanoes!)

This is a case of doing something right, wrong. Mulch is great for plants and trees. The problem is when a person goes overboard piling too much mulch up against the tree trunk. The next time you are out and above, pay attention to the mulch volcanoes in your neighborhood. Most people, including far too many landscape professionals and lawn care workers, make this mistake.

For a tree to thrive nutrients and oxygen pass back and forth in a layer just underneath the bark. A telling example of how important this is for a tree, years ago, when a farmer wanted to kill a tree on their land, they would take their knife and cut through the bark all the way around the tree. This cut effectively cut off the tree’s supply of nutrients. This is called girding a tree and that’s exactly what happen when you plant a tree too deep or pile too much up around the trunk. The bark rots which cuts off the supply of nutrients.

Make no mistake, you need to mulch your new tree (and plants) but the way to do is to leave a gap of about two or three inches away from the trunk of the tree.

If you are thinking about planting a tree or making any updates to your landscape give us at 972-495-6990 or email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. We’ve been helping our neighbors improve the health and beauty of their lawns and landscapes for over thirty five years and have a lot of experience and knowledge in what plants and trees will thrive in North Texas, which will save you time and money in the long run.

 

09 Nov 2018

Landscape Spotlight: Rediscovering the Outdoors from the Comfort of Home

There are many reasons our customers decide to update their landscape. Some do it for better curb appeal, while others want a great space to relax after a hard day at work. Then there are times like today’s landscape spotlight, when the reasons for a landscape go much deeper.

Take Ms. F, she loves spending time outdoors. Especially hiking. Unfortunately, some health issues have prevented her from being able to enjoy as much time as she would like outdoors. When David (our landscape architect) and I met with Ms. F we quickly realized that was her main goal. She wanted a landscape that would remind her of spending time outdoors and hiking.

Our first order of business was to haul off a stackable stone wall that had been the border of her previous landscape and replace it with a basket boulder border to give the landscape a more natural feel. We then replaced a struggling Japanese maple (it was getting too much sun) with a red-rocket crepe myrtle. These stay smaller and have striking deep red blooms. We left her existing, large crepe myrtle and yaupon holly in place and installed sherwood abelia around them which will have white blooms in the spring. We also installed spiral junipers (a favorite of hers) on each side of the entrance. In the backyard, we wrapped the landscape around her fence and installed a natural stone water feature at the edge of her stamped concrete patio, close enough for her to be able to hear it when she sits on her patio and enjoys her new space. A future feature of her backyard will be a pathway running the full length of her landscape so she can get closer to her plants and landscape.

I’m happy to report that Ms. F didn’t just like her new landscape, she loved it. We created a space where she can now enjoy the outdoors without having to leave her own yard.

We always take pride in our work at Village Green, but their are times like this project that have extra meaning for me and our team.

If you are thinking about updating your landscape give Village Green a chance to earn your business. We have transformed lawns and landscapes in North Texas since 1980. For more information or to get an estimate on your project give me a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.

UPDATE:
We got the nicest note from Ms. F, after she received our email featuring her landscape. She has given us permission to share.

Ken,

I love the spotlight article and even posted it to Facebook (with a high recommendation of course). Every time I read it I find there’s so much I want to add. Like how wonderful everyone is to work with, the professionalism yet friendship at the same time, how I was in tears when I found out the whole job was less than I thought it would be, that the backyard wasn’t just for me but for my friends and family to enjoy when I entertain. Just so much more. Your company and employees have heart…big hearts, and really listen to the client. That’s so hard to find these days.

Please thank everyone for me. And come back in 2 to 3 years for a landscape update!

Ms. F

 

09 May 2018

Landscape Spotlight: A Question of Texas Plants for New York Transplants

I met Mr. and Mrs. P in my Sunday school class as Suncreek UMC.  They had recently relocated from New York to the Dallas area and asked me for suggestions on what to plan around their new pool which was nearing completion.

Mrs. P wanted to make sure their pool had privacy, while still having an open feel with lots of grass.  She also loved a vitex tree that was struggling in their side yard.

Mr. P wanted to make sure they could access the back side of their pool and was concerned that their front landscape was nearly all perennials.  He felt they looked great in the spring but come winter, everything died back to the ground.  He wanted something that would give them enjoyment and beauty year-round.

Based on their input and suggestions we went with savanah hollies along their fence for privacy. These will eventually reach 15′-20′ tall and create a nice screen between their home and the neighbors. Andres, our stone mason did a fantastic job of creating a narrow flagstone band that created a walkway which followed the pool coping.  It reaches behind the pool without taking up too much of Mrs. P’s grass. We also moved her vitex tree into the back corner where it will eventually provide purple blooms, somewhat like a crepe myrtle.


In the front they had Anthony Waterer Spirea, which has wonderful blooms in the late spring but dies back in the winter.  We moved it to the corners of the home. This plan works as they will look great when they are in bloom and we have ever green Edward Goucher abelias as a backdrop for the winter months. To frame the entrance, we used gulf stream nandinas and giant liriope.  One thing to pay attention to in the photos is even though this is a brand-new landscape, it already has lot of different colors and textures.

I’d like to thank Mr. and Mrs. P for allowing us to showcase this project.  They told me they were delighted with our work and more importantly, thoroughly enjoyed working with our team. If you are thinking about a landscape project, give Village Green a chance to earn your business. We have transformed lawns and landscapes in North Texas since 1980. We have the expertise and skill to create beautiful and functional landscapes at all budget points. For more information or a complimentary estimate on your project, give me a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.

02 May 2018

Landscape Spotlight: Made in the Shade

Most of our landscape projects start with Village Green trying to solve a problem for the home owner. In the case of Mr. and Mrs. C it was to overcome a shade challenge. Village Green had worked with the couple over the years with some small changes to their lawn and landscape, but overall, they didn’t feel their yard was doing justice to their lovely home. Despite replacing the sod in their front lawn, there was too much shade for the grass to grow. They also had quite a few plants that were too tall for their placement and become thin and declining from over-trimming.

Village Green typically leaves trees in place when we re-design a landscape, but for this project, our resident landscape architect, David Daigle, recommend removing two 30’ tall little gem magnolias to open up the view to their home. This also allowed for more sunlight for growing grass.

It was a bold decision to remove such established trees, but the difference a year later is shocking. With ample sunlight their new zoysia grass is thriving and the view to their home is welcoming from the street. For this project we used gulf stream nandinas, Japanese boxwoods and giant liriope around the front to frame the entrance without it becoming overgrown when the plants mature. One of the huge magnolias was replaced with the airier Japanese maple which will provide color without towering over the home.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Mrs. C last week and she told me they are absolutely delighted with the results. They now have a landscape that matches their beautiful home (which you can now actually see from the street.)

I’d like to thank Mr. and Mrs. C for placing their trust in Village Green and allowing us to share their story. If you are thinking about a landscape project, give Village Green a chance to earn your business. We have transformed lawns and landscapes in North Texas since 1980. We have the expertise and skill to create beautiful and functional landscapes at all budget points. For more information or a complimentary estimate on your project, give me a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com

20 Apr 2018

Landscape Spotlight: 20 Years in the Making

I’ve known Mr. and Mrs. M for about twenty years. We first met while Debbie and I were attending Cornerstone United Methodist Church. Later I learned that they lived a few blocks from me, and that I regularly walked our dog by their home. Based on that connection Village Green has done some small jobs for the couple over the years, and after each one, Mrs. M would tell us that someday she hoped to get Village Green to install a new landscape for their home. Someday happened a few months back, when Mrs. M called and told me she was finally ready for us to do that landscape project.

As is often the case with landscape projects, both Mr. and Mrs. M had certain features they wanted in their landscape plan. Mr. M., who handles the landscape for the family, was a wealth of knowledge in the planning process. What was most important to him was that the back have a desert feel. Another important point was that we replace the plants in the front of their home. He also wanted to expand his beds further from their home and wanted to create a more rustic feel.

Mrs. M main feature was based on her favorite pastime, sitting in front of their home relaxing and watch life go by in our neighborhood. This is so important to her, that she invested in a large swing that she wanted to be worked into their landscape design.

One look at the before and after photos will show we made some dramatic changes to their home. We captured the desert look Mr. M wanted in the backyard along with the rustic look for the front. You will also notice Mrs. M’s swing on a beautiful flagstone patio.


My favorite part of this landscape story though was a story Mrs. M was kind enough to share with me. She had spoken to her father who lives out of state about their landscape project and he was surprised that after all these years in their home they would be investing in a sizable landscape project. Mrs. M sent her dad the design, so he could see the transformation and was surprised to receive a check paying for the entire project a few weeks. later. Her father wanted the landscape to be a gift from him. Mr. and Mrs. M were so touched and grateful they’ve decide to have one of the stones etches with ‘Thank You Dad!’ so they’ll always have a reminder of his generous gift. They plan to take a photo and send her father a print of the etched stone once it is installed.

I’d like to thank Mr. and Mrs. M for placing their trust in Village Green and allowing us to share such a great story. We take pride in all our projects, but this one, with their story is especially meaningful.

If you are thinking about a landscape project, give Village Green a chance to earn your business. We have transformed lawns and landscapes in North Texas since 1980. We have the expertise and skill to create beautiful and functional landscapes at all budget points. For more information or a complimentary estimate on your project, give me a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com

14 Apr 2018

Landscape Spotlight Update: Wide Open Spaces Revisited

Our landscape projects are a fun part of my job. I enjoy seeing our happy customers upon completion of their project. The before and after photos are fun too, because they are always dramatic.

The real test of a landscape though comes later. After plants have had a chance to establish and mature. That is when we see if our landscape plan worked as we had hoped when we designed the project.

Which is why I wanted revisit our project from Jan. 2017 (Wide Open Spaces…you can read it here.)

We finished Ms. J’s landscape in late 2016. It started out as an absolutely huge, blank slate. Ms. J added a pool and then the landscape all around the property. Our goal was to compliment the pool while creating some privacy without breaking up the view and improve the entrance.

A year and a half later, the entrance has Louisiana iris growing straight up and tall without crowding the sidewalk plus the feathery gulf stream nandinas have started filling out nicely. Around the pool the red sage and yellow colored kaleidoscope abelias soften the retaining wall. Along the back fence we use a combination of tall indian hawthornes, abelias and some little gem magnolias that have already started providing that privacy we wanted. You can see all the photos on GreenTalk Blog.

The first year of a landscape the plants grow a little but it’s really this second year, once the roots have become established, that the plants really start growing and blooming.

I love to revisit our projects and see our plan come to life. That truly is the most rewarding part of my job when it comes to landscape design and installation!

If you are thinking about a landscape project I hope you consider Village Green. We have been transforming lawns and landscapes in your neighborhood since 1980. We specialize in creating extraordinary outdoor spaces at all budget points for our customers. We offer a personalize one-on-one approach that will take your ideas and inspirations and transform them into that beautiful landscape you desire. If you’d like more information or an estimate on your project, give me a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com.