Nursing The Landscape Back to Health

by | Nov 18, 2021 | Build, Design, Featured Slider, Landscape Architecture, Magazine, Maintain

Texas group restores outdated landscape sites

A healthy landscape will be a lasting landscape.

A landscape is healthiest when it is designed to match its native environment. 

Therefore, features that thrive in just one or two seasons may not last even a year after installation.

A Dallas-Fort Worth area landscape service specializes in restoring tired, dying projects.

They remove outdated or out-of-place materials and nurse the space back to health.

Right now, the team is amid one of its biggest projects yet, restoring the health of a massive property that hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. 

The Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center is an iconic North Texas feature.

There are more than 1800 guest rooms and dozens of on-site attractions including a ten-acre water park, 4-acre indoor garden atrium, and 490,000 square feet of meeting space.

The property is so large in fact, it can be easily spotted from planes flying to and from the nearby Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The Gaylord Texan hosts conventions and events throughout the year, meaning the surrounding outdoor space must always be in prime condition to greet guests. 

Landcare is the commercial landscape company that manages those outdoor spaces.

It is one of the largest landscape groups in the country, with 4,000 employees across 60 branches in 20 states.

A team within Landcare’s Texas division has maintained the Gaylord grounds since 2018.

They are now led by Branch Manager Joel Butler and working to upgrade the property’s landscape material. Joel says the original install was “Texas styled”, which doesn’t always work year-round.

“It did well in the spring and summer, but there were native grasses that don’t bloom and struggle in the wintertime. Things like Mexican feather grass and other ornamental grasses.”

The project began several years ago but the need for change exploded in February 2021, when the rare freeze wiped out most of the plants onsite.

Joel called the storm an opportunity to really invest in the project.

During the mulching season, the team ripped out the dead materials and mulched the beds, then they planned out the install process and got to work in the summer.

The process is lasting several months.

Only one 10-person crew is on the property at a time, working on about 10 acres of turf and 4 acres of bed areas.

Joel says one of the most unique challenges is a constant audience.

“The resort is open 24/7, 365 days a year. The whole place is constantly selling out for various conventions with new groups coming in every few days. We recently saw a massive cheerleading convention and the team with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders reality show even stopped by. There have been major sports teams and presidential candidates staying here. And on holidays the resort is even busier. When they all get to the property our work is the first thing they see.”

Landcare’s team works with property managers to bring in various features throughout the year, depending on events and holidays.

Plus, they design many beds differently to give guests new experiences as they explore the space. 

“We all work together, offering different opinions and suggestions to keep the property evolving and changing. We are always looking for a magic plant that can perform well against the weather conditions, or just traffic. There are lots of children and other people wandering off the sidewalk, so we try to be creative to be sure everything can withstand that.” 

The winter storm largely inspired the Gaylord Texan’s landscape overhaul, which Joel anticipates will cost up to $300,000.

His team will continue maintaining the space even after the upgrades are in, so he is designing it to last for many years.

He suggests other industry professionals to do the same, even those who aren’t involved with the site for its entire life span. 

“Everyone should get involved with the group that is maintaining their space. Especially if it’s a corporate campus or a resort, it is easy to get feedback on what has or hasn’t worked. Go back to what you’ve designed 10 or 20 years ago and see how things have grown in and use that information to make your future designs last longer. You can learn from others, but always learn from yourself.”

Project Details:

Cost: $300,000

Time: 2-3 years

Size: 10+ acres

LandCare is one of the most comprehensive providers of commercial landscape services in the United States. It employs more than 4,000 people from coast to coast and has been in business for more than two decades. LandCare is consistently ranked as one of the top landscape service companies in North America.

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