Making The Neighborhood Beautiful

An abundance of blooming flowers and plants can be found in the front and backyard landscaped areas of Brian and Lisa Hodges’ home on Karen St. Brian grew up in El Campo, however the married couple had been living in Houston when they decided to move back to his hometown about two years ago. They immediately began the transformation of the flower beds with the help of local experts. The Hodges have been selected as the El Campo Garden Club’s July 2020 Yard of the Month honorees.

Brian and Lisa Hodges moved from Houston to their home on Karen St. in El Campo close to two years ago. Because the home had sat unattended for awhile, the landscape had become overgrown, so one of the first things the couple did was gut the flower beds and start over.

“Our home had sat vacant for sometime and the flower beds had gotten out of hand,” Lisa said. “We made the decision shortly after purchasing our home to go ahead and gut the beds in both the front and back yards.”

The Hodges were, however, able to salvage some existing plants.

“With the exception of the beautiful Crepe Myrtles and established Azaleas, everything else was removed,” she said. “We kept the flower beds clean during the fall months to have them ready to plant in early spring.”

With the help of a local nursery who helped with the design and ideal floral and plant selections, the couple was able to create the landscape they had dreamed of.

“Having an empty canvas to work with, we consulted with Debra and Dee at DSG Nursery & Landscape Design,” Lisa said. “Debra helped us with selecting and laying out our new perennials to plant. Dee suggested and drew out a design to replace the existing pave-stone walkway to our front door to concrete. We were very happy with how things turned out last spring, but learned a lot in our first year with the new plants. This year we made a lot of changes to which annuals we planted and where they went into the ground. Those changes have really made the biggest difference with how things look now.”

Those changes, as Lisa noted, also grabbed the attention of El Campo Garden Club members Pat Holub and Brenda Ogdee who chose the Hodges for July Yard of Month honorees.

“There are so many beautiful yards throughout El Campo,” Lisa said. “On our street alone there are several yards that could easily have been chosen as well, so we were very excited and honored to have been selected for the July Yard of the Month honors.

After getting the flower beds under control and thriving, the couple continue to make changes to their landscape.

“Brian is always thinking ahead and coming up with new ideas and additions for the following spring,” she said. “We are really pleased with how everything turned out in the front this year, but are already preparing more bed space in the back for some new additions next year.”

With planning and creating new flower beds comes the job of maintaining the areas, as well as the lawn.

“With the exception of helping with the planting of annual flowers in the spring, all of our yard work and maintenance is handled by Brian,” she said. “Although he says he enjoys it, he puts a ton of effort and time into keeping our yard so beautiful.”

While maintenance is important, time-saving measures of a watering system and hiring professionals to fertilize the lawn are also important to the couple. Not having to drag water hoses and sprinklers around the yard leaves more time to devote to weeding, mowing and other tasks.

“Our biggest asset is undoubtedly our sprinkler system. Staying on top of watering, working through our flower beds and pulling weeds at least once a week, and hand watering where needed have been our keys to success,” Lisa said. “Also, we would highly suggest to not hesitate with investing in professional help when starting over from scratch in the flower beds. DSG set us up for success with their initial help.

We also owe a lot of credit to having a great spraying service who helps keep a watchful eye on our lawn. Chad Dorotik with Blue-wing Spraying, consistently sprays and fertilizes to keep our grass in tip top shape year around.”

With a blank slate, the couple wanted to be sure one particular plant was included in the plans.

“We have always loved hibiscus. At each of our homes, we’ve always planted and left a few behind when we moved,” Lisa said. “Our home in Houston flooded during (Hurricane) Harvey. Once the water receded and we were able to go back in to gather our belongings, we were astonished to find that one of our potted hibiscus had survived being washed away with the others. It’s followed us to each home since and now has a permanent home in one of our back flowerbeds.”

The backyard is where the couple love to retreat to and watch their two-year-old son Hunter play.

“Our back patio is our favorite spot to sit back, relax, and enjoy the White Wing, squirrels and various song birds that take advantage of our cracked corn feeder buffet and bird bath. We love to go outside each evening after work and watch our little boy, Hunter, play and swing in the shade provided by our oak trees as well.”

Lots of color is important to the Hodges.

“We planted a ton of impatiens in the shaded areas of our beds,” Lisa said. “We then mixed in begonias and vincas in the parts of the beds that get more sun. We really love how the addition of our Anderson Crepe tree with the impatiens beneath it turned out this season in the front yard.”

If needing advice, the couple seek the help of Brian’s father, David Hodges.

“When there is a question or second opinion needed in the yard, we typically lean towards Brian’s dad, David,

she said. “He’s won yard of the month honors in the past on several occasions, so good advice when needed is not far away.”

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