The ice plant is popular in West Texas landscaping. All photos: Texas Tech Horticultural Garden

The ice plant is popular in West Texas landscaping. All photos: Texas Tech Horticultural Garden

The semi-arid climate in Midland and Odessa mean the sun burns bright and water is scarce. So how’s a homeowner to keep their West Texas landscaping from looking like a dry wasteland?

By making smart choices about the plants and trees they put there. Those that are well acclimated to places like Ector and Midland counties can thrive, even in difficult conditions.

Over on MidlandDirt.com, we’ve got a roundup of perennials, groundcovers, shrubs, shade trees, ornamental grasses, and ornamental trees that will look beautiful year-round. Click here to read the full story!

pet grass

Pet grass is an often-overlooked option for homeowners with four-legged friends, but it offers low maintenance, lower lifetime cost, a lush look year-round, and low water requirements, which is environmentally friendly. Photo: Synthetic Grass Pros

My eleven-pound Maltipoo has a knack for being naughty in the backyard the moment I’m not looking. Last year, she managed to dig a hole almost a foot deep in 20 minutes and was sitting in it, covered in dirt and ecstatic, when I went to check on her.

This story probably sounds familiar to dog owners everywhere, who regularly deal with muddy paws and destructive digging in their backyards. Add this to the ever-present North Texas issues of water restrictions, high maintenance in warm months, ugly brown grass in cold months, and grass allergies, and the yard becomes a pain-in-the-rear.

Enter pet grass, a synthetic alternative that eliminates all of those issues, and you have a beautiful solution.

“Conservation Grass is a terrific solution for pets in that it solves the problems of wear and muddy paws,” said Bryce Bartlett, Director of Sales for of Dallas-based Conservation Grass. “Our business has been growing consistently over the past couple of years as more and more homeowners are realizing the benefits that synthetic grass can provide.”

Pet grass used to have a host of problems, like poor drainage, rubber ingredients that absorbed odor, unrealistic all-green color, and too-short lifespan. But many modern applications have addressed those concerns.

“As with all synthetic grass applications, the base preparation is critical to ensure proper drainage and performance, but when selecting a synthetic pet grass, it is absolutely essential to be sure that the backing us permeable and that the blades are polypropylene,” Bartlett said. “This will ensure that there is no absorption in the grass that would cause odors from pet use. The permeability of our patented backing material allows water and urine to pass through, unlike other brands on the market, which use a black plastic or perforated backing that may trap and create odors.”

(more…)

8526SweetwaterK

After not mentioning the Claremont neighborhood for a while, we’re suddenly seeing gem after gem go on the market there. It’s one of my favorite residential areas in East Dallas, with Midcentury personality, mature trees, and memorable style.

The 1962 ranch-style house at 8526 Sweetwood Drive just came on the market Oct. 31 after an extensive renovation, and it’s got loads of charm packed into its 1,773 square feet. Marketed by Ben Fluno of Chris Arnold Premier Realty for $242,500 (it dropped $2,500 today), I’m actually surprised it’s still on the market. Take a look and I think you’ll agree.

(more…)