Brush Up: Landscape Tips from Design Pro Tricia Quaid

Tricia Quaid (Photo: Jin Kim)

Tricia Quaid is an impeccable landscape designer with an architectural background. She knows hardscapes, landscapes, how to balance blues (pools) and greens (plants), and what to plant when you’re about to plant your house on the market.

(Photo: Zachary Custom Homes)

Quaid said it all starts with architecture. The style of your house will influence your design. Midcentury Modern, Texas Vernacular, and Country French will all require a little something different.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all design, there are some general guidelines we can all follow. And since these are all tips on how to get your house market-ready, they’re budget-friendly, too.

(Photo: John Stifler)

The first tip: Go native.

In North Texas we live in a prairie which means lots of dry grasses, yucca, sage bushes, cross-vine, honeysuckle, etc. Of course, if your house is an English Cottage or Tudor, you can’t go hard on the ornamental grasses, but you can make it work if you ground the ends.

Quaid added that perennials are an inexpensive way to add texture and color to your landscape. Hardy hibiscus and black-eyed Susan are great for full sun and foxtail and holly fern are great for shade. As for a hedge? Quaid loves dwarf yaupon holly and boxwoods.

Another general rule is any design should be one-third evergreen seamlessly layered with grasses, perennials, and pops of color.

Designed and Photographed by Tricia Quaid

Not surprisingly in Texas, full sun is easier to deal with than full shade. Seriously, what do you do with those great big bald patches, under every jumbo tree, that hasn’t seen the sun in years? Quaid has an answer for that, too. She said in the past she’s had clients re-sod every couple years and that’s definitely one way to go, but honestly, your best bet is groundcover. Quaid said a wild card alternative is mondo grass, but only mow it once a year on a very high setting.

Bugging Out?

Since Quaid is also licensed in irrigation and pest control, we asked about our least favorite thing – mosquitos. The general consensus is scorching the Earth and start fresh, there’s really nothing we can do. But wait, maybe? 

First and foremost, remove standing water and check your drain pipes, as both are basically mosquito love shacks. As for knocking them out altogether, Quaid is an organic landscaper, but she said, unfortunately, chemicals are more effective. Of course, they kill everything – including all those shiny new plants. Organic treatments can be just as hard on landscaping so if you want to play it super safe, plant some rosemary and citronella and, you know, never go outdoors.