ASTROTURF INDUSTRY SHOWS STEADY GROWTH AS HOUSTON HOMEOWNERS GIVE UP ON THEIR LAWNS Business is booming in the synthetic grass sector here where the product got its start. One Houston installation firm’s rep tells the Chronicle’s Dianne Cowen he’s scaled up his staff by a factor of 5 since 2013. Nationwide, demand for the green stuff has tripled since 2011 and in order to keep up, production is expected to grow 20 percent over the next 3 years. Multiple strains are now being cultivated: zoysia, Bermuda and even St. Augustine — designed with short and long fibers that when clumped look like the real thing. To townhome owners, it’s an attractive furnishing for their tiny backyards — reports Cowen. Same goes for pet owners whose lawns are suffering from too much trampling. Though for them, there’s some watering involved: a monthly hose-off with a $20 bottle of sanitizer. [Houston Chronicle] Photo of synthetic grass installation: London looks [license]
Here’s some of the new plant life that’s just recently sprung up on the bench outside the Mid Main Lofts near Holman St. (top) and at the southwest corner of Main and Winbern streets (above) outside Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails. Along with another trio stuck to the identical rusty block on the east side of Main at Winbern, they’ve been literally glued to their seats for the past few days, taking over the 3 public rest areas that appeared along with others adjacent to METRO’s Ensemble/HCC Red Line stop roughly a year ago.
The Midtown Redevelopment Authority — the entity responsible for most of the gardening that goes on in the neighborhood’s public right of way — ruled itself out as the planter yesterday morning, saying it’s looking into how the greenery got there in the first place.
Photos: Allyn West
The landscaping promised for the courtyard area that doubles as a driveway in back of the newly expanded and renovated home at 707 Euclid St. in Woodland Heights is now installed. We know this because a Swamplot reader was kind enough to send in the above photo of the scene. It provides an update to the photos in the listing (below), which show only unplanted planting beds in the driveway, before the most recent additions:
Some of the intermediate developmental stages of the pointy new hill between the Pierce Elevated and the old Mr. Peeples spot raised a few questions in the mind of a nearby reader (chief among them: whether the Midtown Redevelopment Authority was constructing an ark.) A few photos from last week (including the top shot above) showed what appear to be wooden forms heralding the pouring of a concrete landscaping wall. A set of new shots from this morning paint a more complete picture of the site, showing a cargo of several new trees now settled in place in the gentle concave curve behind the structured hill’s prow (as seen in the second shot above). Beyond the wall, the other side of the mound appears to have been dotted with ornamental grass:
The retro Glenbrook Valley neighborhood entry sign above is now standing on Broadway St. north of the intersection with Santa Elena St., Robert Searcy notes. The neighborhood civic club’s new Mod marker echoes one that stood in the area shortly after the subdivision’s early 1950s founding (shown here in a black and white excerpt from a brochure for the 1956 Parade of Homes tour) and replaces the much more rectilinear sign long planted in about the same spot. The new sign’s cursive also mimics the throwback style of the script on the nearby Glenbrook Valley Apartments on Bellfort St.:
More signs of the Midtown Redevelopment Authority’s current 3-part landscaping project: the large hill being crafted where the long I-45 exit ramp into Pierce St. hits Brazos St. Bid documents for the project also mention landscaping walls, accent lighting, and decorative stone as part of the rest of the plan for the spot. The newly elevated site sits east across the I-45 offloader from the former home of high-gloss steak and seafood house Mr. Peeples, which shut down back in March. The Bagby-facing building, which served as a Boy Scouts of America office prior to the restaurant makeover, is still up for lease; a marketing flier advertises all 3 stories as up for grabs, along with the 8,702-sq.-ft. basement. Here’s the full frontal:
The first Houston Shake Shack will be opening on November 4th near the mall’s new parking lot jewel box pad site, a rep for the New York burger chain announced this morning. On the menu, on top of the usual fare: a handful of concretes made with donuts from Morningstar on N. Main, Houston roaster Greenway Coffee‘s coffee, and baked goods from Fluff Bake Bar on the western edge of Midtown. On the exterior: a living moss wall created by Austin-based Articulture Designs, as seen in the rendering released back in January. The firm designed a plant-covered wall for the Shake Shack that opened in Austin last year as well — here’s a shot of how that one turned out, with an accompanying succulent planter out front:
The folks at Save Buffalo Bayou send over some before-and-after photos of the Memorial Park boat launch and companion drainage structure just east of where the stream crosses beneath Woodway Dr. The group says the canoe and kayak put-in spot, on a 30-acre section of the park once used as an archery range, had been slowly greened back up by native river plants following the area’s multi-year closure and workover by the Uptown TIRZ, which involved some de-treeing work and the planting of some contractor-friendly non-native grasses on the newly reshaped slope.
Memorial Park director Jay Daniels told the group that the mowing was not planned, as park groups are currently trying to promote native plant growth in the park. Daniels said that he talked to a work group clearing some bayou access paths this weekend about removing some invasive Johnsongrass at the site; the conversation apparently led to some confusion, which led to mowing, which led to many folks being given a stern talking to.
Here’s a post-op look from July 2014 at the drainage setup (also intended to control bank erosion), partially covered in what appears to be eroding dirt and deposited sediment: