July 2019 Yard of the Month: 705 Thompson Drive

Congratulations to the Smith family!

Thank you so much for the honor of Yard of the Month, and the yard thanks you!!  It’s a living breathing thing you know, and welcomes the honor too.

Our family moved here over 20 years ago.  Back then the yard was more of a playground than anything else.  Sunny in the morning and shady in the afternoon.  Perfect for kids.  Except for the fruit bearing Mulberry in the center of the yard that dropped rotting fruit and drew clouds of flies.

Over following the years, the Oak trees grew larger and the shade made the grassy yard smaller and smaller.  The Mulberry eventually succumbed to acute bad weather, creating a bright sunny center to the yard.

Once the kids had grown, the need for a play area yielded to carrying on my grandmother’s tradition of lovingly caring for plants.  The Turk’s Cap was one of her favorites.  Unfortunately, the amount of shade, long periods of Texas drought and the massive rains we’ve had in recent years, made choosing suitable plants for the less sunny areas a real challenge.  That and the need to dig up the front walk to install a French drain system didn’t help matters…well actually it did.  The extra soil against the house and the new flagstone walkways provide amazing drainage and a softer feel.

As you might imagine, the choice of perennials of all shapes and sizes was a natural one.  Some native and some not so native, but almost all were hardy enough to survive.  Through many trials and lots of tribulations, several varieties have set deep roots and continue to flourish.  Those that can’t make it are experimentally replaced by either annuals or other perennials.  It’s been an everlasting search for color and capability.

A big shout-out to my daughter Emma who put her amazing artistic talents and her flourishing botanical skills to work creating multiple potted plant arrangements and choosing plants for the yard.  It is so amazing what a colorful glazed pot can do as an accent piece.  She’s a whiz.  While she moved away two years ago, she still sends sketches of possible plant arrangements for me to try.  Which of course I do.  

And I cannot thank my neighbors enough for all of the encouragement and kindness they’ve shown over the years.  They are truly a blessing, and one of the main reasons I still live here.

Brent Smith

June 2019 Yard of the Month: 715 Parkview Circle

The June 2019 Yard of the Month belongs to Jill and Mike Nowell. Here is what they had to say about their yard:

We learned of this honor right as we were celebrating our second year of living in the Heights Park neighborhood.  What a wonderful “anniversary gift”!

Our property was previously designed and built by the original owner in 1960 and had never changed hands until it was sold to us.  Despite only one exterior picture appearing on the MLS listing and concerns about living across from a park by our real estate agent, we knew we were home the first time we walked in the door.  We purchased the home knowing It was in serious need of a good update if it was to become our future “empty nest”.  The house was gutted, reconfigured both inside and out, and handed back to use by our general contractor as a new home!   

It took several months before Mike found time to plant anything in the yard, but he rediscovered that he thoroughly enjoyed the process of working to create something beautiful.  He and our youngest son, Aaron, worked tirelessly, over several weekends, to create what you see today.  One unique feature of the landscaping is the yellow rose bush on the front side of the beds beside the house…the bush was given to us by dear friends, in honor of Mike’s Mom, who died unexpectedly in April; yellow roses were her favorites.  Another interesting reminder of the history of the house are the perennial purple irises, at the base of the crepe myrtle, which bloom late Spring; they act as a reminder that is it almost planting season.

Despite our agent’s initial concerns, we feel very blessed to live across from Heights Park and watch all the hustle and bustle of park life.  We are happy to share this wonderful neighborhood with great people and are excited to call Richardson our “forever home”.

Mike and Jill Nowell