Native Land Design Blog

Employee Close-up: Matt Davis

Ben Collinsworth

Have an idea brewing in your head about how your Texas commercial property entranceway or most visible area should look?

Matt Davis, landscape designer with Native Land Design, might be the one who can bring that vision living in your head to life in a whole new and creative way.

Taking a simple idea and transforming it into a space that gives a community its personality is his forte while designing landscape enhancements and creating estimates at Native Land Design.

“I really enjoy doing the designs around monument signs,” Matt says of his favorite jobs. “That might be for a commercial retail center or a neighborhood HOA, but no matter what type of property it is, the entrance landscape is usually someone’s first impression of a site, and I enjoy helping create that first impression.”

HOA Landscaping: Who’s Responsible for What?

Ben Collinsworth

Many Texas communities are managed by Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs). These HOAs have bylaws (sometimes referred to as covenants, conditions and restrictions) that all residents living in the development must follow. These bylaws verify the HOA as a legal entity charged with identifying rules homeowners must follow, enforcing community standards and maintaining common areas. Everything from parking restrictions to installing fences and sheds to what colors homeowners can or can’t paint their houses to working with landscape contractors can be included in HOA bylaws.

An HOA board of directors’ primary job is upholding these bylaws and keeping the neighborhood looking fairly uniform to maintain property values and the property’s personality. Bylaws will reflect each unique HOA community.

Rules change from community to community, so it’s important to understand the rules of each HOA, as they are unique to that specific site, and understand what is the landscape professional’s responsibility and what is the homeowners’ responsibility. This can change from HOA to HOA.

The Top 6 Tree Traits to Avoid in Parking Lots and Paved Areas in Texas

Ben Collinsworth

Every Texas commercial property has one thing in common: parking lots.

Parking lots and paved areas are essential to office parks and HOAs and industrial facilities and all kinds of other commercial properties. Some sites even require a specific number of parking spots to accommodate the amount of people that come and go there.

Unfortunately, parking lots tend to be a bit unattractive as they are.

Landscaping with trees in and around parking lots and strips can greatly approve the appearance of these areas. Trees also provide other perks, such as preventing soil erosion and storm water draining problems, keeping wind and noise at bay, reducing carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and enhancing the comfort of property visitors by providing cooling shade.

While parking lots and paved areas need trees, they can also provide some challenging growing conditions for certain species.

But, you’re in luck, more trees can thrive in these areas than you think. In fact, the list is pretty vast of trees that can be nice additions to parking lots and paved areas, so we’d like to highlight the top tree characteristics you should avoid when selecting tree species for parking lots and paved areas to help you narrow your search.

Why Safety Matters On Office Park Properties

Ben Collinsworth

There is a lot of activity that happens on an office park campus throughout the day.

At the beginning of the day, the 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. rush hour brings the morning commuters to the property. They pull in and park fast, rushing inside to get their work day started. Mid-day brings the lunch break where employees come and go to pick up food, take some rest from their computer screens or just get outside for some fresh air. Then the day ends between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. with the majority of folks heading home. In between all of these key times are people coming in and out for meetings and trucks arriving and departing with deliveries, among other business goings-on.

This kind of repeat vehicle and pedestrian traffic means safety is of the utmost importance on an office property. When a high volume of people are coming and going, it increases a property’s risk of law suits and complications if employees or visitors were to get hurt by anything from tripping on a cracked and broken sidewalk to stumbling over an irrigation head that is stuck up out of the ground or even hitting their head on a low tree branch.

A well-maintained landscape can play a huge role in the overall safety of a Texas office park, mitigating these safety risks. Here are some key ways landscaping can help.


How Our Vehicles And Equipment Impact Our Customers

Ben Collinsworth

The image a company portrays sends an important message to its customers. It tells them they are serious about the products they make or the services they offer. It also sends an important message to employees, giving them pride in the work they do each and every day for the company.


You might notice, for instance, that a company with employees who wear uniforms showcases a professional image, presents a clear representation of the brand and gives employees the confidence boost they need to proficiently communicate with customers.

While uniforms and office spaces are common places suggested for a company image boost, vehicles and equipment are also important elements through which landscape companies can showcase their professional image and brand reputation.


Native Land Design exhibits quite a few important messages to its clients through the way it purchases, turns over and uses its equipment and vehicles.


Grow Your Career With Our Management Training Program

Ben Collinsworth

Thinking of pursuing a job as a landscape professional?

The allure of nature and creating beautiful community landscapes is a big draw for those who want to work with Texas greenspaces.

But figuring out what job you want to pursue within the vast world of landscape management and maintenance can be tricky. There are so many areas of interest—each with their own nuances.

By enrolling in a management training program, one can explore the inner workings of a landscape business, diving into each specific facet, to understand the business as a whole … and find a special niche for themselves to boot.

Native Land Design just started a management training program to help you do just that. And they are eager to see a few candidates join their program this year.

Why We Use Plants Without Blooms

Ben Collinsworth

The perfect commercial landscape design takes quite a bit of planning and work to get just right … not to mention a little help from Mother Nature to thrive. 

With so many gorgeous and unique plants available for landscaping commercial properties in Texas, how do you decide which ones to use or what the right ones are for you?

While everyone pays special attention to beautiful blooms when it comes to plants, there are a lot more things to consider. This includes height, color, texture, and even whether the plant is evergreen or deciduous. While no one can deny the attraction of flowers, even plants that don’t produce flowers can provide an aesthetically pleasing element in a commercial landscape.

Employee Close-up: Facundo Rodriguez Miranda

Ben Collinsworth

Does your first hire still work for you?

Employee longevity and loyalty is rare today. And the cost of employee turnover is fairly high. Every employee you lose can cost a significant amount in lost revenue, time and training.

In addition to the significant savings in recruiting, hiring and training, the longer an employee stays with your company, the more they develop an understanding of your market, services and clients, translating into better customer service and product quality.

So it’s quite a gift to have employee loyalty in place at one’s company.

Facundo Rodriguez Miranda, crew leader/driver at Native Land Design, was the first person Ben Collinsworth, president of Native Land Design, hired more than 15 years ago.

Commercial Landscape Design: What We've Learned Over the Years

Ben Collinsworth

To be a successful commercial landscape architect, one must possess three key qualities and traits.

  • First, they must have good ideas for the commercial landscape that are based on the client’s needs and wants.
  • But it’s not just enough to have good ideas. Next, a landscape architect must know how to present or sell these ideas to the commercial client.
  • Finally, a commercial landscape design must have the persistence to realize those ideas, transforming them into actual usable and beautiful outdoor spaces.

All of these things come together in the visuals a landscape designer creates. If a landscape design professional has wonderful ideas but doesn’t display them in an attractive way, he or she might be wasting effort, time and money. If another designer doesn’t have the best ideas, but is able to create mind-blowing illustrations of them, that may elevate those ideas to the next level in the client’s mind.

This pushes visuals and presentation to the top of the list for landscape designers and architects. This process has evolved over the years for landscape professionals, including for us at Native Land Design.

4 Warning Signs to Look For in Your HOA Landscape Maintenance Bids

Ben Collinsworth

If you’re a board member of a homeowners’ association (HOA), it can be daunting to look at a bunch of landscape proposals coming in and recognizing which ones are good versus which ones are not so good.

There are many reasons the process could be rocky.

First thing’s first: Make sure your request for proposal (RFP) is in order. Your RFP sets you up for a successful bidding process. The trick is not forgetting any of the fundamentals of a solid RFP. These include:

Celebrating Women in the Green Industry

Ben Collinsworth

Did you know March 8th was International Women’s Day?

Around the world, people celebrated women and the amazing social, economic, cultural and political achievements they have made and continue to make every day. They also recognized the strong influence and impact women have on the world around us.

When it comes to the world of landscaping, women also make an impressive impact. In the U.S., the first third of the 20th century saw the rise of women in the fields of landscaping. Today, they are thriving in various areas of the business.

At Native Land Design, we celebrate our amazing female team members. Here is a glimpse inside what some of them do and what they enjoy most about their work making your landscapes better places to work, live and play every day.