Q: What’s up with your company name? Do you actually have any dogs?
A: Like so many lighthearted American generations since 1957 the coming of age Disney classic movie OLD YELLER had a profound affect on our sense of pride & loyalty. So we figured what better way to convey that same sense of dedication to our services than through man’s most popular best friend. Oh yes, we have several dogs that we love dearly. None more so than our yellow lab that we loving named Yeller. She’s getting up there in years now days (born 2002) so she typically stays home unless a special request is made for her affectionate presence.

Q: Why do you charge more than a friend we know? There’s this guy on Craig’s that’s ‘cheaper’?
A: To be totally honest we do not offer the ‘cheapest’ services in town. That’s realistically the key difference between hiring amateurs versus professionals. Our landscape designers & hardscape construction company has been popular using consistent talent since 2004. Meaning we have a reliable & dedicated labor force of professionals that are well experienced in the actual duties of which they perform. There is no learning curve, no English-to-Spanish translation web apps or hoping the final product comes out to specifications. We work with you in advance regarding the long-term sustainability of new design projects. Our true value comes in the experience, consultation & storage of material at our DS location to save costs. You can call us next year to redo a ‘cheaper’ project or you can save money by getting it done right the first time. It’s always your choice!

Q: We have an Austin Residential or Commercial Architect; are you an option to construct his/her outdoor living plans? Our Austin Custom Home Builder wants to work together?
A: Absolutely. We work with residential/commercial architects & custom home builders all the time. It’s simply a matter of skipping ahead by having the plans or blueprints in advance before we workout a cooperative strategy to get you the best possible project deliverables on-time & within budget. Some custom home builders prefer to white-label our services in-order to provide a more seemless product. We are here to help regardless. Please understand that we have spent years developing a group of professionals that are task/detail oriented & have an acute aesthetic awareness.

Q: When is the best time to install a new landscape?

A: Fall is a great time to plant woody ornamentals including trees, shrubs and woody vines. You may want to create curb appeal by planting perennials such as yellow bells, four-nerve daisy, plumbago, lantana and numerous penstemons and salvias.  Do it now and you’ll be way ahead of others who wait until spring.

Most of us don’t really get the gardening itch until spring when everything is flushing out with abundant color, but fall provides a superb time to plant. Over the winter, we only see dormant, trees, grasses, perennials and shrubs on the surface, but underground they are actively establishing their roots. With fall and winter scheduled plantings, your vegetation will establish itself through the winter months and sustain all that vigorous growth for the first of spring. Additionally, smart gardeners realize that their chances of plant survival increase, affecting a better return on your landscaping dollar.

If you are looking to start a rose or herb garden, planting them in the fall will give you a head start on the ones planted in the spring. Since the ground doesn’t freeze here, you can plant throughout the winter as well, but you want to make sure you do it well before any expected freezes. This is why the beginning of fall presents an ideal time to plant—when plants will likely begin to establish themselves and before the threat of freezes is apparent.

Fall is also the time to fertilize your established trees and shrubs with organic granular feeds. Also, start thinking about moving tropicals inside before temperatures fall below 50 degrees. Consider planting fast growing shade trees such as, Monterrey White Oaks, Chinquapin Oaks, Cedar Elms, Texas Ash and Escarpment Black Cherry, to name a few good choices. These are all great native and adapted tree options that are not problematic and grow relatively fast. Plant your favorites this fall and start seeing the fruitful results next spring.

Q: How should I fertilize my landscape in the spring?

A: Once you embark on a new landscaping direction this spring, make sure to follow a few healthy cultural habits when installing new plant material. Don’t use a complete fertilizer, which would include a high first number (nitrogen), when planting trees and shrubs. Add an organic phosphorus product like rock phosphate or bone meal directly to the planting hole to encourage root growth. It is best to get the roots established first before pushing top growth, which is what nitrogen does. This is also an optimum time to clean out old decaying leaves and debris from your garden beds to minimize disease and insect problems.

Spring blooming trees catch many people’s attention, while their attractive foliage goes virtually unnoticed during the remainder of the growing season. Some of the showiest native, ornamental trees putting on their show early in the spring season include the following: Anacacho Orchid Tree, delicate, fragrant white blooms that look like small orchids; Texas Mountain Laurel, bright purple blooms which give off the aroma of grape Kool-Aid; and Texas Redbud, pinkish purple flower buds forming on the branches of the tree before they leaf out.

Q: How do I plan for a deer resistant garden?

A: Water restrictions and hot summer months may not be the only obstacles you might face when trying to sustain a successful garden in the Texas Hill Country. Deer can potentially become your number one garden pest as they nibble on your beautiful roses. Unless you have an 8-foot game fence or you live in a congested neighborhood, deer are most likely to check out what kind of tasty morsels your yard has to offer.

You’ll find many controls on the market like deer mesh, various repellants and foliar sprays. You might even try good old-fashioned home remedies like placing strands of your own hair within the garden, hoping the human smell will detour them. However, the most sensible approach is to simply plant what deer are least likely to eat.

Deer forage in residential areas due to several influencing factors. Overpopulation and environmental conditions, such as drought, limit their food supply and cause them to scrounge for roughage in developed areas. Another factor is plant palatability. Deer generally don’t like plants that are aromatic and pungent in smell. They also tend to stay away from tough, leathery foliage, hairy or prickly leaves and plants that produce a lot of milky sap. This sounds like we are limited to cactus, oleander and rosemary. Although those are great choices, an additional list of deer resistant plants exist, both native and adaptive species, which deer will generally avoid.

It’s important to remember not many selections are guaranteed to be deer proof. A good selection of these plants are generally resisted by deer, but may not always cause them to turn their noses away. What I find helpful with planning a deer resistant garden is a method called companion planting. This involves grouping pungent plants together (Saliva’s, Santolina, Copper Canyon Daisy, etc…) in a large massing around marginal plants that they sometimes eat. I also like to use various herbs like society garlic or chives as a border plant, to keep little Bambi out of my perennial beds.

Along with a sensible design and some forethought, these techniques should help deter your graceful, but pesky neighbors from invading your beautiful garden.

Q: Can I plant a rose garden in central Texas?

A: Rather than buying cut roses, what better time of year to plant a living roses than around the Valentine’s Day season? They would serve as a permanent investment with long lasting results. Assuming deer are not problematic in your yard, antique roses are an excellent alternative to ordinary nursery shrubs. Unlike your typical modern, hybrid tea roses, which grow poorly without constant devoted attention, most old/antique roses endure the extremes of the central Texas climate with little to no care. Many cultivars date back to the late 1800’s and have since escaped into the wild to be discovered throughout the Texas hill country by many avid rosarians. If these roses have survived heat, drought, disease, and insects on their own for all those years, think how successfully they would thrive in your landscape.

These versatile plants will also allow you to harvest Vitamin C, especially if you have a variety that produces a plentiful supply of attractive rose hips. The period after Valentine’s Day provides the optimum time to cut back your existing roses to produce compact growth, prevent legginess and remove spent blooms to improve future flowering. Cut your roses back by 1/3. Since warming temperatures stimulate new growth, right before spring affords the best time to do this. The fuller the vegetative growth on your roses, the more prolific your blooms, ensuring a showy growing season. Deadheading throughout the year also works, but save the heavy pruning to the dormant season.

With the lasting benefits of these old beauties and a thoughtful design, you can group them together to create large shrub lines, smaller border plantings, medium sized specimen plantings or stunning climbing gardens over trellis’s, wire fences and arbors. With their historic interest, diversity of form, fragrance, and abundant color, these special roses have all the attributes of a carefree landscape plant. Even combined with Texas native plants, no antique rose specimen will seem out of place.

To name a few proven varieties that no doubt will be excellent performers in your area, try planting: Belinda’s Dream or Mutabilis for a larger bush rose, Martha Gonzales or Knock-Outs for a smaller more compact bush and Red Cascade or Lady Banksia for a showy climber.

Q: Tips for a Healthy Lawn

A: With a wet spring in full bloom this year, we are starting to see an abundance of fresh, new growth. So, it’s time to get out your lawn equipment and get it serviced so it’s in tip-top shape for efficient and safe use. The first important lawn maintenance tip to remember is to make sure you always mow with sharp blades. This ensures a clean, smooth cut, which, in-turn, creates rapid healing and healthy re-growth. Dull blades tear and bruise grass blades, causing the wounded grass to become weak and less able to ward off invading weeds. Mowing and fertilizing practices can either make or break a lawn. With proper lawn-care practices, you can maintain a dense, healthy lawn that will choke out unwanted weeds and remain aesthetically appealing.

It is possible to have a gorgeous yard while also being kind to mother nature. Here’s how: use slow release, organic granular fertilizers and always water deeply with less frequency rather than often for short watering periods of time. Deeper watering will encourage deeper rooting, creating a hardier and more drought tolerant lawn, regardless of the species of turf grass. In addition, water in the early mornings to prevent fungal problems. When you water in the evenings, moisture sits all night on the grass. This and the wetter weather make funguses more prevalent. The more you do to prevent those troublesome problems the better results you will get from your maintenance regimen.

Regarding mowing heights, never remove more than one-third of the grass height at any one mowing. Taller grass blades leave more photosynthetic area, causing bigger, tougher roots requiring less water and more resistant to unwanted weed species. It’s also good to leave your grass clippings on the lawn. The small clippings decompose within a few days and add beneficial organic matter to your lawn. If you can grin and bear the temporary unsightly look of fresh clippings on your lawn, it really will save time and energy and allow your lawn to thrive better than ever.

Make your lawn the envy of your neighbors.

Q: Do you have any more FAQ’s?
A: Oh yeah…a bunch! We are trying to build out a comprehensive knowledge base so many more Faq’s will be Coming Soon! In the meantime, please send us an email with your specific questions.