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Houston Commercial Landscaping Case Study: Village Towers

8 Minute Read

In the mood for a delicious breakfast before heading to work at your luxury office space? Or maybe you want to meet up with friends for a glass of wine while your children play on a beautiful outdoor playscape?

The unique Village Towers property, located in Houston, has something to offer everyone. High-end elegant office towers, iconic restaurants, and both retail and event spaces make it a hot spot for everyone in the area. This mixed-use space has quickly turned into a neighborhood institution featuring granite, curbless sidewalks, an aesthetically pleasing parking garage, impeccably landscaped outdoor dining areas, and even twinkling lights in the trees.

The property itself contains a large amount of landscaping to complement the modern architecture of the towers. Located right off of the Katy Freeway, Village Towers is highly visible, making the landscaping imperative for setting a great first impression.

Let’s look at how the landscaping at Village Towers in Houston makes this luxury multi-use property shine.

Growing Together

Village Towers, now including two 120,000 square-foot tower buildings and a massive 420,000 square-foot parking garage including a bottom floor for an event space, has grown a lot over the past few years. “Monarch took over landscape management after the landscape was installed on building one. Building two was then under construction, and that was handed over to us for maintenance once completed. We continue to grow with them as they grow,” says account manager Jodi Josephs.

Though the buildings themselves are beautiful, “Landscaping is one of the most visible things when you come to the property,” says property manager, Harry Grubs. “That’s why we invested a large amount of money upfront.” The outdoor seating areas boast visually pleasing artificial turf, container garden plantings, twinkling lights in mature oak trees, and even areas for lawn games.

landscape maintenance pulls mulch and rock out of back of trailer

New spaces, like a wine and coffee bar featuring a play space for children, are always being developed. “For these new areas, we help adjust landscaping in some sort of way. We consult on additions like container garden flower choices. For the new coffee bar, we just transplanted a tree. They trust us to make it look how they want it to,” says Josephs.

As the property continues to develop and transform, the representatives at Monarch work together with the management team at Village Towers to ensure all the new growth continues to meet the carefully maintained landscape standards that already exist.

Right Plant, Right Place

Beautiful trees, ornamental grasses, and flowering shrubs fill the landscape beds at Village Towers. However, as the landscaping began to mature, it became obvious that some plantings were placed in the wrong location during installation. These plantings were growing too large, resulting in the overall landscape appearing sloppy.

Josephs said “After the construction of both towers and the parking garage was complete, there were some weather issues to deal with. One area of the property ended up being extremely windy, so some of the plants originally planted in that area were relocated.”

While the property has a large amount of landscaping, many of the plantings originally installed were intended to grow to a size that was not compatible with their space. In the long-term, these plants simply were not sustainable.

landscape maintenance team installs mulch at property

“Many plants were struggling in their location and some were being overwatered. Instead of just replacing those plants with the same ones that would overgrow the space again, we recommended more size-appropriate and hardy selections. We also installed a smart water irrigation system to help with watering issues,” says Josephs.

The relocation of several plantings also allowed for seasonal color to be added throughout the property, which was something owners had hoped for with the original landscape installation.
Grubs commented, “Since this was a new property, some plants were just not working. Monarch made great suggestions on moving things we already had and using other types of plants in specific areas where we were having issues.”

Healthy plantings, those planted in the right location according to their individual specifications are necessary for great curb appeal.

“Every Weed, Every Week”

After the planting issues were tackled, Monarch began the work of maintaining the multiple landscape beds at Village Towers. As this property is both highly visible and strives to be a pillar for the community, curb appeal is a big factor. Because of this, Josephs tells her team “Every weed pulled, every week.”

“The property needs to look great all the time. It is not one that we can do in sections throughout the month. Our team has to be trained to a higher level of detail,” Josephs mentioned. In addition to weeding, the Monarch team provides weekly mowing, line trimming, blowing, edging, irrigation management, fertilization, and a plant health care program. Mulch is installed to brighten and freshen up landscape beds as well.

landscape maintenance team spreads mulch near busy road

The attention to detail through landscape maintenance services helps bolster the curb appeal, and Grubs says, “They are very dependable and they do a good job. They are very conscientious about maintaining the property.”

Effective landscape maintenance centers around curb appeal, but keeping the property safe for all its visitors is also of utmost importance. The team at Monarch is sure to keep plantings trimmed back near sidewalks and limbs on trees carefully pruned so as to not obstruct sightlines when driving or cause injury to those walking the property.

Protecting a Large Investment

Owners at Village Towers wanted not only the buildings and hard surfaces to make a statement. They hoped for the landscape to have a wow factor as well. To accomplish this task, six very mature and large Oak trees were brought into the property. These trees create a more established look to the landscape, as their size is not typical for a new landscape installation.

“This was a big investment, so we needed an arborist to help take care of these trees. They inspect them and make great recommendations on how to take care of them,” said Grubs.

account manager and property manager meet and point at tree

With arborists on staff, Monarch makes sure these beautiful trees stay in optimal health. Josephs noted, “We frequently inspect the trees. We also do deep root fertilization feedings for them regularly.”

In addition to maintaining the transplanted Oak trees, ensuring the rest of the landscape investment is protected is key. With extreme weather becoming more frequent, Monarch has had to be extremely proactive, “If we get a freeze warning, we are taking that seriously and winterizing your irrigation system to prevent damage. When plants die from cold weather, we really have to be on top of it, review the property and get the list together as quickly as possible,” says Josephs.

Grubs also commented on Monarch’s response after a recent weather event saying, “We had no issues with our irrigation system, and Monarch was able to secure the new plants to replace those that died due to the weather and have them in place in only a couple of weeks. All nurseries were wiped out and everyone in Houston had dead plants, but Monarch came through.”

entrance and walkway with plantings at village towers

Protecting the initial investment that the team at Village Towers made into their landscaping provides the opportunity for the property to grow and flourish in the years to come.

Managing Heavy Foot and Vehicle Traffic

Because of its location and unique offerings, Village Towers experiences both heavy foot and vehicle traffic. The sidewalks, driveways, and valet stations are full from early morning to late evening. Business people trying to get to work, families excited for a night out to eat, and early risers ready for a delicious pastry and a hot cup of coffee.

As a result, the property is heavily used and experiences some wear and tear from both visitors and their vehicles. In addition, the crews at Monarch are conscious of the noise and annoyance level that providing maintenance services can sometimes bring. No one wants to be on an important business call struggling to hear what is being said because several leaf blowers are cleaning up the property.

One area that required a unique solution due to heavy traffic was the ‘curb’ area. Since the entire development is curbless, the landscape was being damaged near valet stations and throughout the property. “We had to get creative to deal with the no curb situation. We relocated several irrigation heads and plantings and put in black gravel instead. This prevented irrigation and plantings from being damaged over and over,” Josephs commented.

landscape maintenance team installs mulch in landscape bed

In order to provide excellent service that is not a disruption, Monarch has had to be flexible. Several breakfast and coffee stands and restaurants are utilized by hundreds that work in the office buildings above. Josephs said, “We have to be in and work completed in the back area of the property by 7:30 AM, the rest of the entire property needs to be completed by 9:30 AM so that those working in the offices above are not disturbed.”

With such a large amount of landscaping that requires maintenance, these strict time constraints have impacted when other work can be done on the property as well. “Enhancement projects and mulch are difficult to work into the schedule, as the space is limited for our vehicles and equipment because it becomes so busy at the property. Machines can’t be used after 9 AM and we leave during the lunch hours.

We carefully schedule work to be done, arranging a smaller job during the hours we have to be off the property and then return to finish our work in the afternoon,” Josephs explained.

While heavy traffic and busy restaurants and office buildings present several landscape challenges, the experts at Monarch execute week after week. Josephs says, “every detail counts” in order to make the schedule work well.

A Relationship Based on Trust and Great Communication

In order to maintain such a large property at a high level of success, trust and great communication must be the foundation. After years of maintaining the property, a strong relationship has been built between the Village Towers management team and Monarch.

“I am proud of the partnership we have developed and the trust they [Village Towers] have placed in us. They trust us to come through and evaluate and give them a proposal. They know we are experts and trust us to make their property what they want,” says Josephs.

property manager and landscape account manager meet on property

The team at Monarch believes great communication with clients like Village Towers is a direct result of good communication within the company. Utilizing landscape software management programs like Aspire helps communication to be transparent and timely.

Grubs is thankful for the steps Monarch takes to ensure great communication, “Monarch has been very responsive to our needs. Anytime I contact them with things I see or need, I know they will get on it right away.”

“One of the main things Monarch does well is communication,” he adds. “Crews come out and do their thing, the account manager comes and tours the property to make sure nothing is missed. They make great recommendations for us to consider.”

Landscape Management Partners Who Care

Maintaining and enhancing the landscape at a multi-use property like Village Towers is challenging for a variety of reasons. Those who work daily in the office buildings or hold an event in the new conference center need to be considered, as do those who swing in for a glass of wine and upscale meal at Massraff’s or those who snag a famous Texas Philly Cheesesteak sandwich for lunch at Texadelphia.

People care about more than just the restaurant or office conference room they are headed to. The valet parking, the outdoor areas, and the landscape all help Village Towers to be the popular Houston destination it has become.

With so many components, the property manager, Harry Grubs, has his hands full. “Of all the contracted services I manage on this site, I spend the least amount of time dealing with Monarch. I don’t have to worry that the landscaping is going to be taken care of.”

Are you ready to transform your commercial property’s landscape? Get started with Monarch Landscape Management today.

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Written By: Monarch Landscape Management

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