Native Land Design Blog

The Effects of Standing Water and Flooding on Trees and Landscape Plants

Ben Collinsworth

Hurricane Harvey caused what the National Weather Service described as “catastrophic flooding” in Houston and across southeast Texas.

“This event is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced,” the National Weather Service said.

Some downtown areas of Houston were knee-deep in water, and some highways were shut down as a result of flooding from as much as 10 feet of water. In fact, some parts of Houston and just west of the city possibly received a Texas record of 50 inches of rain. Since making initial landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in southeastern Texas, Harvey dumped an estimated total of 20 trillion gallons of rain on the Houston area.

This was truly catastrophic to homes, vehicles and people. And, as the flooding recedes, you might be wondering what this excess and longer-standing water is also doing to your commercial landscape trees and plants.

Here is some insight into what standing water and flooding does to plants and what we can do to help.

All Smart Irrigation Controllers Should Include These 4 Features

Ben Collinsworth

Watering your large, Texas commercial property can be one of your most costly outdoor expenses.

As a commercial property manager, you must find ways to save money, and looking at ways to cut down your biggest expenses, like outdoor water use, is a great place to start.

The best way to have your green lawn and thriving commercial landscape and save money on water use is by using a modern, smart irrigation system.

Sprinkler technology has advanced over the years and the features these smarter controllers boast today include those that improve water efficiency—saving you not only water, but money as well.

Smart irrigation systems combine a number of technologies: sprinklers with nozzles that improve coverage plus controllers that monitor moisture-related conditions on your property and automatically adjust watering to optimal levels. These important conditions a system must monitor include weather (temperatures, rainfall, solar radiation, etc.) and soil moisture (measuring the actual moisture content in the soil).

Here are four key features that make smart controllers truly smart.

3 Ways Commercial Landscape Maintenance Drives Customer Retention

Ben Collinsworth

As a commercial property manager, you have a lot of responsibilities.

You must think about security on your property, managing internal responsibilities and dealing with your tenants, just to name a few.

You also must manage your commercial landscape, which can often be your most time-consuming chore, but also your most valuable.

Commercial landscape maintenance has a plethora of benefits. By securing a high-quality landscape maintenance professional to care for your landscape trees, shrubs, lawn and hardscapes, you keep your property in optimal health, decreasing costs needed for replacing dead grass or overgrown or unkempt landscape plants or even hazardous, unstable trees. An aesthetically pleasing landscape also can say a lot about the professionalism and reputation of your business.

What makes a nice landscape even more impactful is its effect on customer retention. Here’s how quality commercial landscape maintenance helps you attract and retain those valuable customers.

Hate Landscape Budget Planning? Your Account Manager Can Help!

Ben Collinsworth

It’s that time of year again … and it’s not one that many folks look forward to.

Dental cleaning and cavity filling? Root canal time? You least favorite distant relative is coming to visit? And they want to stay with you for a week? Nope. None of the above! It’s landscape budget planning season. And some property managers say it’s even more dreadful than any painful dental visit or uncomfortable family get-together.

Why is this the worst time of year? Because it’s getting to be the busiest time of year as school starts soon and the holidays near, so momentum is building toward year’s end. At the same time, meeting or beating annual numbers is on everyone’s mind. Planning the next year’s budget amidst all of this activity is typically one of the least enjoyable aspects of your job. 

Sometimes, though, we make the task worse on ourselves because we don’t take advantage of tools and tricks that can make it easier. You can avoid the many pain points of landscape budget planning, by taking advantage of the wisdom of your landscape account manager.

Here’s how.

The 3 Best Grass Alternatives for Shady Areas

Ben Collinsworth

There are two words that often don’t go together in the Texas commercial landscape: lawn and shade.

Turf tends to be happier when it can get some sunlight versus being stuck in the shadows of shade.

This tends to be a bigger problem under trees. As trees grow and create more and more shade beneath their canopies, the lawns beneath them begin to thin. As the shade lengthens and deepens and the direct sunlight the lawn receives dips below six hours per day, grass tends to want to permanently retreat. Add to that an area of high traffic and that sparse, patchy look becomes pretty unattractive.

The reason this happens is because turf needs three elements to thrive: air, sunlight and water. If it’s in shade, you’ve removed sunlight and if the area is well-traveled, you’ve compacted the soil and removed air. Turf won’t survive with just water.

Since the tree that adds more value and aesthetics tor your commercial property can’t go, it’s time to figure out what to do with that shady space where grass isn’t growing as well as it should.

Luckily, there are a few alternatives you can explore to help you keep these areas from falling flat on your otherwise meticulously maintained property.

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.