2019 NALP Awards

The National Association of Landscape Professionals is one of the foremost organizations in the landscape industry, representing over 100,000 members specializing in landscape design and installation, landscape maintenance, tree care, irrigation, water management and interior plantscaping. We are proud to be members of this incredible group.

Each year the NALP holds the Awards of Excellence which recognize the best projects in commercial and residential landscape design, installation and maintenance. Projects range in size and scope from under $25K to over $1M. Our own Neil Bales served as the Awards Committee Chairman and handed out the plaques to award winners, as pictured in the photo above.

With October marking its 50th year, we were thrilled to have received 4 Awards of Excellence during the NALP conference in Louisville, Kentucky. In the residential landscape management category, our sprawling, 4-acre Preston Hollow Estate won the silver award. We also won a bronze award in commercial design/build for 1600 N. Collins, a bronze in residential design/build for a challenging and exciting project we call the “Backyard Retreat,” and a bronze for commercial landscape management for Sylvan Thirty, a mixed-use development in the thriving North Oak Cliff area of Dallas.

We’re looking forward to another great annual conference in 2020!

1600 N. Collins

More and more, we’re seeing our commercial clients moving to landscape solutions that are more sustainable and drought-tolerant, saving them money in maintenance fees and water bills. One of our commercial clients in particular is implementing this landscape strategy in all new projects, as well as retrofitting projects they currently own and/or manage.

This project was their first redevelopment, and it is also their corporate headquarters. In addition to adopting a new development strategy, they knew their major tenant, who occupied over 50% of the lease space, was scheduled to move to their new corporate headquarters mid-2019. The project is in an older office setting and competition for lease space is very strong in the area. They knew that curb appeal and look were very important to providing a competitive leasing advantage and they staged the redevelopment to coincide with the tenant move out.

The redevelopment of the landscape presented several challenges, the first of which was that we could not disrupt the use of the facility by the tenants. We addressed this issue by staging the work and performing the work in non-peak hours for the tenants and management. The second challenge was that the building is in a municipality that is very “pro-landscape” and very involved in all facets of redevelopment. We were able to draw, review and present the plans to the city for approval long before work was scheduled to begin, as to assure that we were didn’t lose time.

In terms of the landscaping, we were tasked with keeping as many trees as possible, yet opening visual corridors. We were able to achieve this by removing some of the older trees and lifting the canopies of the larger trees. Because we were transforming the beds from traditional, water-guzzling ones to drought-tolerant, water-saving beds, the irrigation system needed to be upgraded. We converted the irrigation system to drip irrigation, drastically reducing water usage. Additionally, since the turf areas were eliminated and replaced with perennial beds, the maintenance required went from weekly maintenance to bi-monthly!

We filled the perennial beds with native plants and trees, such as Vitex, Turk’s Cap, Inland Sea Oats and Red Yucca, all surrounded by warm and welcoming swaths of decomposed granite and river rock and accentuated by intermittent accent boulders.

Backyard Retreat

Our client recently purchased a newly-constructed home in order to downsize and have a low- maintenance home and yard. The existing side yard/back yard was undeveloped by the builder, leaving the homeowner with the huge challenge of creating a great outdoor entertaining space for family and friends, while creating privacy and overcoming the over 8-foot steep drop from the existing back porch down to the alley.

The grade was the largest challenge because the space was so narrow with such a large fall from existing porch to the property line. The second largest challenge is that this residence is located in a semi-private community where HOA approval of plans and materials is difficult, as all the residences here share a similar look and feel with a very clean and contemporary aesthetic.

We had to precisely shoot grades to know what kinds of retaining walls would need to be constructed along with how much backfill soil and dirt movement would need to be done. After that the design had to carefully consider the space with maximum functionality for outdoor entertainment with newly constructed walls to ensure it would last for many years to come. All of this was done with multiple meetings with the homeowners who are a retired engineer and active architect themselves. Once a design was settled upon, then submission to the HOA board of approval had to be completed and signed off on with all questions and concerns answered for the community by-laws.

The two biggest difficulties within the construction phase were that the neighbor next to the back yard had a large retaining wall not properly backfilled up to the property line. That neighbor wouldn’t allow us proper access and control to help alleviate the issues, so we had to skillfully work around this to ensure what we constructed would last, despite their property not being properly addressed. We also had to go through multiple shipments from the manufacturer due to large variances in the material’s appearance on the steps and another shipment that was broken during shipping. These two things delayed the project we were working to complete before the spring so the homeowner could have the maximum use of the space this year.

Topping off this challenging construction was a beautiful palette of native grasses, rosemary, groundcover, granite walkways, and synthetic grass to ensure year-round, practically effortless beauty.

Preston Hollow Residence

Nestled in the heart of Dallas, our clients enjoy a 4-acre estate where they have developed the property for a “park” and “garden” like feel with lots of privacy and sound barrier from the neighbors and busy street along the front. They travel a lot for work and want to be able to come home and enjoy their own backyard oasis that is properly maintained and cared for. They also have 4 grandchildren who live on part of the property and roam around everywhere, so having lots of manicured lawn space to drive their toys around on, explore, etc. is important too.

We service the property one day per week, since they retain a full-time porter. However, he is stretched thin as doesn’t tend to much of the landscaping as needed as he’s typically working on other side projects for the client. In order to complete our maintenance work within 5 hours on our service day, we work diligently with the client and the client’ assistant to constantly communicate issues we see and/or need to have resolved. Thankfully our client is very quick to respond and allows us an abundance of freedom to make necessary improvements when deemed necessary.

Additionally, last minute work functions and/or parties are often hosted at their house. We often times have to respond quickly with an extra service visit, service date change, seasonal color change, bed mulching, etc. to help get it ready for their company.

We value the trust and communication we have with this client and look forward to working with them for years to come!

Sylvan Thirty Landscape Maintenance

Our client offices directly across the street from their development, where their design intent was to bring a natural and rugged design to this urban retail center. They revitalized this old site keeping a lot of the original signage and feel to this naturally designed retail space. Our goal was to continue that feel through proper maintenance techniques and practices, allowing the native plants to perform as designed originally.

Since the previous landscape contractor had not cut back many of the existing grasses and perennials during the dormant season, when we took over the site last spring we had to routinely make cut backs and selective prunes so as not to stunt the health and growth of the plant, while preventing the plant material from taking over the site and walkways. We also had to remedy multiple areas where the decomposed granite parking was washing out and not being properly swept back into place and top dressed creating multiple hazards for patrons and cars alike.

Additionally, we presented the client with multiple enhancement proposals so as to address many areas with diseased cactus that had not been treated and to top dress & in-fill a lot of the groundcover and decomposed granite areas. We provided these proposals in a manner that allowed the client to cash-flow the expenses while properly caring for these areas of neglect.

We schedule our service visit so that we can be in and out of the property before 8am so as not to disrupt the flow of traffic in and around the retail center, along with ensuring we can maintain every area without damaging any vehicles or being obstructed by vehicles.

With any enhancement work performed on-site we typically have to schedule the work over multiple days as we can only perform the work in short periods of time with all the traffic and patrons who visit the site from the surrounding apartments and offices.

The developer on Sylvan Thirty was Oaxaca Investments, while Spring Valley was the General Contractor. For more information, visit

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