FAQs


Where do we start on a new landscape?

Your first step toward creating a new landscape is fun and simple: gather ideas! Clip photos of especially appealing gardens from gardening magazines such as Home and Garden. Go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and peruse their collection of gardening and deck handbooks. Buy the ones you like. Save money by doing the same at used bookstores or by checking out your local library. Take photos of the landscapes around town that you find attractive, or which incorporate elements you want for your own garden.

Any landscaping work you do is likely to be a substantial investment. Moreover, as with any investment, you will want the finished landscape to justify the money you spent to get it. Nothing could be worse than feeling you haven’t gotten your money’s worth or finding that your finished landscape has failed to meet your expectations. With this in mind, it is clear that the second step toward creating a new landscape is simply to ask “Why?” Why do you want a new landscape? How do you expect your finished landscape to serve you?

There are many possible reasons for wanting a new landscape. Perhaps you are planning to sell you home and simply want a basic landscaping package to enhance your home’s ‘curb appeal’. Maybe you are looking for an outdoor area within which children can safely play. You might want an attractive outdoor garden within which you can entertain guests to your home. You might want a backyard garden that enables you to make the most of your gardening skills. A sitting area within which to lounge and suntan. A deck upon which to enjoy family barbecues. A garden with a water feature that helps to lessen the obtrusive noise of distant motor traffic. An attractive, maintenance-free xeriscape. A small, lush ‘getaway’ from everyday hassles. Possible reasons for wanting a new landscape are truly endless!

Once you have determined why you want a new landscape, you will be able to easily decide how much money to spend on it. You will know what you want the completed landscape to do for you, and know whether or not your expectations have been met.


How do you come up with your designs?

As with any artistic endeavor, we understand that creating a beautiful LandEscape is a subjective process. What seems beautiful to us might not seem beautiful to our customer! In an effort to never forget this, Vernon’s LandEscapes strives to be very attuned to our customers’ wants and needs. We ask many questions. We make many suggestions. We readily explain anything that is not clear. Nothing is left to guesswork; when we are ready to start our client’s landscaping project, we know what their wants and needs are!

To come up with a design, we couple our clients’ wants and needs with our years of Texas landscaping experience. This practicality ensures that our work will meet or surpass our clients’ expectations. For inspiration to guide us, we look to landscaping principles noted for their ability to evoke feelings of peace and contentment. We often make use of Japanese garden and landscape design principles because of their extreme focus upon harmony and beauty. Naturally, were a Japanese garden to be uprooted from Japan and placed in Texas, it would not survive because the Texas climate is too harsh for many plants commonly used in Japanese gardens. But the principles behind the same Japanese garden can easily and cost effectively be applied to a garden of native Texas plants. (Some plants, such as the sago palm, are native to Japan and do quite well here.) The end result can be a Texas garden that has the same calming and peaceful effect that any Japanese garden would − and the owners might even be unaware that any Japanese design principles were used!

So, in the end our designs are drawn from customer input, our years of Texas landscaping experience, garden and landscape design principles (particularly those Japanese), and beauty anywhere and everywhere we find it!


How do you choose which plants or materials to use?

We choose all of our landscaping materials with quality and value as our foremost concerns. Should any material prove too expensive for a client’s budget, we will advise the client of alternatives and allow the client to choose the alternative they feel best suits their needs and budget. Remember, our foremost concerns is quality and value, not price.

This means that the materials selected for use by Vernon’s LandEscapes will not necessarily be the most expensive. An example is plastic composite lumber materials sometimes used in the construction of decks. Such material is significantly more expensive than regular treated lumber and Vernon’s LandEscapes has found that, for a variety of reasons, the practical lifespan of composite material is much less than that claimed by manufacturers. We simply advise our clients not to use it.

Plants are nearly always chosen by our clients. It is rare that our client’s do not wish to choose their own plants. Vernon’s LandEscapes readily assists the client in their selection of plants by offering our substantial landscaping experience and plant knowledge. At least 90% of the time, client’s choose plants that are either native to Texas or non-native but known to thrive here. These plants are exceptionally hearty, offer lower maintenance and are generally more drought tolerant.

Vernon’s LandEscapes also offers printed materials that guide client’s in the selection of appropriate deer resistant and drought tolerant plants. These materials are offered free upon request. Client’s should also feel comfortable asking us as many questions as they have about the plants they want included in their new LandEscape.


What are elements of 'Japanese' landscape design?

Japanese landscapes, standing proud among the world’s truly great landscapes, are praised for their ability to calm and relax anyone fortunate enough to view them! They are gardens of serene beauty, renowned for causing a profound sense of well being and countless moments of quiet introspection. Whether located in a rural or urban area, a Japanese garden enables a person to escape to a place of peace and tranquility.

There is, however, no mystery behind these man-made wonders. There are no secrets behind their creation. Simply, Japanese landscapes and gardens rely upon principles and practices that have been refined across centuries of Japanese history. Fortunately, a Japanese inspired garden need not be ‘Japanese’ in the literal sense. It is not necessary to adorn a ‘Japanese’ garden with stone pagodas, bells or bamboo, though of course they can be. Japanese landscape design is about creating harmony among all elements and features of a garden. In a Japanese garden one is hard pressed to find discord; everything seems to belong, to be an integral part of the whole. There is no ‘dead space’, there is no single feature that dominates the garden.

Generally, all landscaping materials are well represented: stone, wood, water, and plants. The materials are carefully presented for optimum effect, each beautiful alone or as part of the whole. Each material compliments or enhances the others. You will often find curves more than angles, and a careful balance of the symmetrical and asymmetrical.

Whole books have been written about Japanese landscape design, and it is not possible to write at such length here, but the most important thing to remember is that Japanese landscape design can be every bit as successful here as it is in Japan! Applying these principles to a Texas garden brings out the natural and unique beauty found in our Texas climate.


Does my property need an irrigation system?

It is likely that you would benefit from having an irrigation system if you care about your property’s appearance. If your property’s appearance is not a priority, or if you are happy to spend time either watering by hand or moving sprinklers, then you do not need an irrigation system. Since you have taken the time to view our website, we will assume that you do indeed care about your property’s appearance.

So, what are the benefits of having an irrigation system? Here is the Vernon’s LandEscapes’ Top Ten List for “Why You Need an Irrigation System from Vernon’s LandEscapes“:

  • You won’t have to water by hand or move sprinklers anymore!
  • Your landscape will certainly be more lush and healthy!
  • Your grass will be green and less likely to have fungus problems!
  • You won’t have to worry about your landscape when you are away from home!
  • An irrigation system conserves water usage and eventually pays for itself!
  • An irrigation system adds value to your home!
  • We use nothing but the highest quality components and materials!
  • Our sprinkler systems are comprehensively guaranteed!
  • You cannot beat Vernon’s LandEscapes’ irrigation systems prices!
  • You will love playing and dancing in your sprinklers on hot Texas days!

An irrigation system is an important enhancement to your property. If you have any other questions or concerns about irrigating your property, do not hesitate to contact us!


What are some common deer resistant plants?

We always counsel our customers that there is no sure solution to stopping deer from destroying their gardens. However, we believe that there is one method that is more successful than all others. It is the inclusion of  native Texas  deer resistant plants in your garden or landscape. Deer will usually not browse those plants labeled as deer resistant. Whether they do or not usually depends upon how well fed the deer in your area are. When deer are hungry, they will eat anything. Fortunately, the central Texas deer population is generally well fed.

This means that deer resistant plants generally deter deer from browsing your garden. And, the more deer resistant plants you include in your garden, the better. Deer rely primarily upon a sense of smell when deciding whether or not to browse a garden. So, the more deer resistant plants you have planted, the more likely deer will avoid dining in your garden.

In our Texas climate drought is also a huge problem. All Texans are familiar with the headache of keeping any plant life alive in the summer heat. Some plants handle the Texas heat better than others.

I have compiled this list of plants I readily recommend for both deer and drought problems:

Popular Deer and Drought Resistant Plants for Texas:

Agave, Agarita, All Hollies, All Ornamental Grasses, All Palms, All Sages, All Sedges, All Yuccas, American Smoke Tree, Arizona Cypress, Artemesia, Bearded Iris, Black-eyed Susan, Blackfoot Daisy, Carolina Jessamine, Copper Canyon Daisy, Coral Honeysuckle, Cotoneaster, Crossvine, Damianita, Desert Willow, Dwarf Nandina, Esperanza, Flame Acanthus, Fragrant Mimosa, Guara, Gregg Dalea, Indigo Spires, Lantana, Littleleaf Periwinkle, Mexican Buckeye, Mexican Marigold, Mexican Redbud, Montezuma Cypress, Mountain Laurel, Oleander, Oregano, Palmetto, Pink Skullcap, Plumbago, Pride of Barbados, Primrose Jasmine, Purple Coneflower, Rock Rose, Rosemary, Ruellia, Santolina, Sedum, Wooly Stemodia, Shrimp Plant, Texas Bettony, Texas Persimmon, Texas Sotol, Turk’s Cap, Verbena, Yarrow, Zexmenia

When visiting your favorite nursery, check the plants whose appearance you like with the common names of plants in this list. Doing so will tell if the pretty flower you have selected is likely to be eaten by deer or to die quickly in the next heat wave. If your selection does not appear on this list, it is most likely a risky purchase! This full listing of deer and drought resistant plants may be found on the backs of all Vernon’s LandEscapes business cards. If you do not have one of our business cards, contact us and ask us to send you one. It is a handy reference guide to have with you when you go plant shopping! We can also purchase all of these plants for you at wholesale prices!


What are some common drought resistant plants?

I have compiled this list of plants I readily recommend for both deer and drought problems:

Popular Deer and Drought Resistant Plants for Texas:

Agave, Agarita, All Hollies, All Ornamental Grasses, All Palms, All Sages, All Sedges, All Yuccas, American Smoke Tree, Arizona Cypress, Artemesia, Bearded Iris, Black-eyed Susan, Blackfoot Daisy, Carolina Jessamine, Copper Canyon Daisy, Coral Honeysuckle, Cotoneaster, Crossvine, Damianita, Desert Willow, Dwarf Nandina, Esperanza, Flame Acanthus, Fragrant Mimosa, Guara, Gregg Dalea, Indigo Spires, Lantana, Littleleaf Periwinkle, Mexican Buckeye, Mexican Marigold, Mexican Redbud, Montezuma Cypress, Mountain Laurel, Oleander, Oregano, Palmetto, Pink Skullcap, Plumbago, Pride of Barbados, Primrose Jasmine, Purple Coneflower, Rock Rose, Rosemary, Ruellia, Santolina, Sedum, Wooly Stemodia, Shrimp Plant, Texas Bettony, Texas Persimmon, Texas Sotol, Turk’s Cap, Verbena, Yarrow, Zexmenia

When visiting your favorite nursery, check the plants whose appearance you like with the common names of plants in this list. Doing so will tell if the pretty flower you have selected is likely to be eaten by deer or to die quickly in the next heat wave. If your selection does not appear on this list, it is most likely a risky purchase! This full listing of deer and drought resistant plants may be found on the backs of all Vernon’s LandEscapes business cards. If you do not have one of our business cards, contact us and ask us to send you one. It is a handy reference guide to have with you when you go plant shopping! We can also purchase all of these plants for you at wholesale prices!


What time of the year is best for landscaping?

Strictly speaking, mid to late fall is the best time of year to get plants into the ground. This is because you do not have to worry about the plants immediately having to endure a hot Texas summer, and because the root systems of plants are very active during the winter. So, plants planted at this time of year tend to do best the following year. Unfortunately, Austin is prone to one or two hard freezes each year, and some Texas native plants are more susceptible to these freezes than others. Still, planting before winter is generally better than planting before summer. (Except, of course, in the case of annual plants, which are expected to die out in the winter.)

But, if you have an irrigation system to support your plantings, we generally advise planting without worrying about what time of year it is. After all, Texas native plants in particular, so long as they are watered, are equally threatened by a hot summer or cold winter.

Aside from plants, there really are no aspects of landscaping that cannot be done any time of year. So, for the most part, the best time of year to do great landscaping work is the time of year you decide to have us do it!