Allen, Tx Swimming Pool Landscape

The owners of this Allen, Texas residence contacted Garrison Gardens to explore some landscape design ideas and develop a plan that could be completed in phases. This property featured some unique challenges being situated on a corner lot with an alley on the east side. The easement to the back of the property limited the depth of the planting beds.

One of the first needs discussed was some shade and screening along the west fence line. We designed a mixed tree line consisting of Red Oak and Crape Myrtle, with a planted bed underneath. The initial phase addressed the trees with the landscape bed designated to a later phase. The plantings around the swimming pool were also assigned to the initial installation. We selected shrubs and ornamental trees that would thrive in the intense west sun. Some of the plant material selected included Knock Out Rose, Silverado Texas Sage, Indian Hawthorn, Vitex, and Salvia.

We also worked on phase one for the front yard and that will be shown in a later post.

Plano, Texas Backyard Patio and Landscape

This Plano, Texas backyard landscape and patio began with the design process by contacting Garrison Gardens earlier this year. The homeowners knew that they wanted a larger patio with a fountain, updated landscape plantings, and a healthy lawn. Sunlight and shade played an important role in this landscape plan.

Most of the remaining lawn was thin fescue or perennial ryegrass, the bermuda grass disappeared long ago. The homeowners wanted a patio that projected out into the backyard but were not sure what type of material to construct the patio. Natural flagstone, stamped or patterned concrete, broom finished concrete, and aggregate were considered, but they ultimately decided on Pavestone pavers.

The overall goal was to create more usable patio space, a pleasant. flowing, low maintenance shade garden, with a St. Augustine lawn. The landscape edging was constructed from the same material used in the patio construction which helped unify the project.

Crape Myrtles

The Crape Myrtle is probably the most identifiable plant in Dallas. A native to southern Asia, it has adapted well to the North Texas landscape. But, as popular is the Crape Myrtle, most people do not know how to selectthe proper variety and maintain a Crape Myrtle for their landscape.

First of all, the mature size and growth habit need to be considered. Mature heights can range between 24 inches to 30 feet or more. So, if your intension is to maintain a height of 8'-10', please do not select a variety that can grow twice that size. Too often, you will see that scenario end up with a butchered pruning job that requires attention each spring.

The varieties that were traditionally grown in the nursery industry has changed. Faurei hybrids ( a cross between the south Asian(Lagerstroemia indica) and Japanese varieties (Lagerstroemia fauriei)) are now more widely grown. Most of these are the largest growing varieties and the nursery growers like these because many are naturally Powdery Mildew resistant and can grow very quickly, as much as 6 feet in a season. This helps them make more money and produce a product that looks better at the retail level. The problem is most yards are getting smaller and they require an ornamental tree that is smaller in scale.

Varieties such as 'Pink Velour' and 'Sioux' grow smaller and tend to be scaled to most suburban home sites better than large varieties like 'Bashams Party Pink', and 'Natchez'.

One of the best internet sites I have found relating to crape myrtle information is produced by the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in Dallas

A McKinney Cul-de-Sac

This McKinney home was purchased by a long time customer. This home's unusual lot sits in a cul-de-sac, with the left side facing into the circle. The existing landscape is overgrown and needs to go.

Garrison Gardens completed this project last fall in late September. The first three photos illustrate a section of the landscape before we started, after completion in the fall, and the same bed six months later in the spring. There is something about a winter's sleep that makes a new landscape just jump.

Of course, our premium bed preparation is key to this phenomenal growth, tilling in Canadian Peat Moss, expanded shale, and a Mycorrhizae fungal inoculate. Most of this plant material has doubled in size since its planting half a year ago.

70's Tract Home Remodel

This residence is a typical mid to late 70's tract home built in north central Plano. The existing landscape consisted of a narrow bed bordered with wood landscape timbers containing some severely butchered Crape Myrtles, a few woody shrubs and some Asian Jasmine ground cover.

We designed a simple flowing design that carries across the front of the house and extends to include the fence facade.

The "Pink Velour" Crape Myrtle is a semi-dwarf variety that fits most residential landscapes with out the need for excessive pruning often referred to as 'Crape Murder'. The shrub groups were selected to provide color and texture while maintaining a low growth habit that is easily maintained.

Front Circular Drive; "To Be or Not to Be"

I was contacted by this homeowner around Christmas time last year, with the idea of removing the front circular drive and redesigning the front landscape. We began with a few different design scenarios with the lead walk and landscape layouts with the associated costs.

After a couple of months the decision was made to keep the driveway, but replace the concrete with a decorative finish. The brick retaining wall was lowered and repaired.

So, the existing landscape needed attention. My idea was to remove all of the grass from behind the wall and plant the space between the house and wall. We also wanted to create a planting area in the space between the drive and the city sidewalk to soften the expanse of concrete.

Starting over

The challenges associated with this project began many years ago when this house was built. Because the home was constructed with a west exposure, there was race to create some shade and block the afternoon sun from entering the house. Once the shade was created, the plants that tolerated the intense sun now suffer from a lack of sunlight.

A few elements from the builders landscape package were able to be utilized. The Nellie R. Stevens Hollies that frame the house were saved along with the Live Oaks that shade the lawn. The balance of the plant material was removed to make way for the new planting areas.

Most of the plant material used in this installation was selected for its natural form, color and texture, and ease of maintenance like Spreading Plum Yew, Bloodgood Japanese Maple, Cast Iron Plant, Moon Bay Nandina, and Clara Indian Hawthorn.

Ripping out a Builders Landscape

This project began last fall when this house was in the final stages of completion. Working with the homeowner we developed a design that helped to support and embellish this corner lot. Knowing that the builder was required to install a minimum number of landscape trees and shrubs , the design indicated where the shade trees needed to be located. We utilized most of the shrubs provided by the builder in the new design.
This corner lot featured a large utility box near the driveway which needed to be screened. I incorporated a bed shape that included both the tree on the corner and the utility box. Too often I see a large square block of shrubs that covers a smaller square block that is the utility box. The idea here is to create an organic shape that softens the box without drawing attention to what we are trying to hide.

Backyard Patio makeover

This landscape project began as an overgrown backyard with an aggregate concrete patio and pathways that were very dated. We discussed with the homeowner where they wanted to take the project. The original discussion focused mainly on improving the plantings and a possible makeover to the concrete.

I began with a plan that included a new layout for the patio and paths. We were able to create larger planting spaces by swing the path left to right as instead of laying it down the middle of the space. Drainage improvements was provided by C-Green and the Pavestone patio was installed by Precision Pavers in Plano.

The plant material is mostly of Asian origin. Shrubs like Gold Dust Aucuba, Cast Iron Plant, Gold Mound Spirea, Pittosporum, and Chinese Fringe Loropetalum were used. Weeping Yaupon Holly, Savannah Holly, and Red Japanese Maple were used for the vertical elements.

The homeowners were very pleased and had this to say: "We love our backyard as you did a great job! Hopefully, we can have you come back within the next couple of years to update our front yard. Every night I just want to sit out back and enjoy all of the new plants! Can't wait to see it with the new lighting you are going to do! Thank you for doing such a great job!"


Front yard corner lot

This Plano residence was in need of a front facelift. A few established ornamental tree forms would be saved, but everything else needed to be renovated. The homeowner had some existing Oklahoma tumbled stone that would be used to border the new bedlines.

The new bed lines helped to capture the Red Oak on the right side of the front door. Behind the tree is a slab flagstone shortcut path with a place for a bench. The color bed on the left side of the doorway was brought out to take advantage of the sun and it also provides some visual weight to the short side of the home.

A Pool in the Country

One of the projects for this week included a swimming pool in rural Lucas. These properties usually are larger and more open than typical suburban lots and provide their own set of unique challenges. This homeowner wanted more privacy without having a hedge or "shrub wall". Ease of maintenance, durability and drought tolerance were also important considerations.

We utilized Pampas Grass in the corners and Wax Myrtle in the middle as vertical forms. 'Knock Out' Rose, Indian Hawthorn and Autumn Sage provide some flowering while 'Breeze' Grass and Dwarf Burford Holly provides evergreen texture.

Plano Backyard

Here we have a typical 30 ft. by 40 ft. suburban Plano backyard. This homeowner need additional patio space for seating and as a children's play area. They also wanted to keep an open grass area for a multi-use space, and a perimeter planting that was attractive but easy to maintain.

The open space occupied by the grass was created by using a circular form for the planting beds. The Pavestone patio shape continues the theme using large arcs and circles.

Some of the plant selections for this project include Knock Out roses, Wax Myrtle, Anthony Waterer Spirea, Compact Nandina, Variegated Pittosporum, and Indian Hawthorn. In the shaded side area I used a Crimson Queen Japanese Maple, Gold Dust Aucuba, Cast Iron Plant, Supergreen Liriope, and some perennials like Southern Wood Fern and Hosta.