Yard-Of-The-Month: 1026 Omar St by Michael Graves

Yard of the Month goes to 1026 Omar St.  This is a new house, with new neighbors, and a new kind of lawn that is gaining popularity in the Woodland Heights, artificial grass.  The Woodland Heights has always been a diverse neighborhood where we celebrate and embrace different ideas.  On my street alone, Omar, there are now 3 houses with front lawns made up of artificial turf.  While most yards are looking pretty sad in our neighborhood after 2 hard freezes this month, 1026 Omar looks vibrant.  


Artificial grass has been growing in popularity because it doesn’t have to be mowed, and has the eco-friendly quality of not needing fertilizer or water.  Lawns use 1/3 of all residential water consumption.  Some of the new artificial grasses are even partially manufactured out of recycled materials.


Woodland Park “Firefly Field” Sculpture Update by Michael Graves

The weather has played havoc with the completion of the Firefly Field installation. Our artist, Dylan Conner, has had the sculpture completed since late summer but delays due to the aftermath of our recent storms (Harvey, ice storms, etc.) have created distractions and other necessary priorities for our contractors and public support organizations. But final terms for the construction and adoption agreements are being circulated, and construction permit presentations are being prepared. Funds from the city and our council district that were committed for the project have been transferred to the Houston Parks Board, which oversees all such construction projects. And the remaining funds due from FWP are available for transfer as soon as we receive the instructions to do so.

As of this writing we expect to have the sculpture installed by early spring.

P.S. Please consider renewing your FWP membership.

Yard of the month: 404 Bayland by Michael Graves

Craig and Katherine Vollmers, residents of Woodland Heights for over 18 years, get yard of the month for their corner lot at 404 Bayland. Although it is one of the few lots on lower Bayland with only one mature oak tree, it is rimmed with crepe myrtles. It has several lovely wisteria vines, Aztec grass, liriope, and azaleas for year round interest and color. There is also a beautiful mature sycamore tree in full fall color thanks to that dusting of snow the Woodland Heights received on December 8th.

New YOTM Signage by Michael Graves


The very attentive among you may have noticed that the most recent Yard-of-the-Month story differs from past YOTM stories. It's the first showing of a new Yard-of-the-Month sign.

The WHCA wanted to let the neighborhood know that our old Yard of the Month sign for the neighborhood, which served us so well for many years, has finally given up the ghost. The new design is based upon an arts and crafts drawing featuring the Dard Hunter rose that was so popular at the turn of the century when our neighborhood was built.

If you have any ideas about homes to be considered for Yard-of-the-Month please send your suggestions to

YARD-OF-THE-MONTH: 931 BAYLAND by Michael Graves

Yard of the month goes to Eric and Bianca at 931 Bayland for their sculpted shade garden.  It is filled with English ivy ground cover, mature well trimmed live oaks, and artfully arranged river stones, sand stone pavers, and gravel.  The curved front sidewalk and cleverly constructed raised beds only add to it's Zen simplicity.  


Garden Enthusiasts Hosted by Woodland Heights Naturalist by Michael Graves

Members of the Heights Garden Club were guests on July 8 for a garden tour at the home of Carolyn and Richard Hall on Bayland. Richard is a known in Houston and along the Gulf Coast as an artist, author, naturalist and conservationist. He and Carolyn are enthusiastic “urban farmers.”

During their visit, guests were able to experience the “farm” while gaining hands-on learning.

Following are some of the practical lessons and demonstrations Richard shared.

  1. For optimum result, plant those species known thrive in the Gulf Coast climate. For example, the Halls have a Mexican sabal palm in their yard. “This tree is native to the Rio Grande Valley, so it thrives in Houston,” Richard said.
  2. To build soil for your garden, practice the art of composting. Richard uses everything except animal material for composting. “Animal material is a no-no for composting,” he said.  But grass clippings are excellent. Richard picks up bags of freshly mowed grass left by landscapers at large buildings after a mowing session. The grass is bagged and waiting for pickup, he explained, adding  “Sometimes the landscapers help me load it.” To prevent the grass clippings from souring, you should first spread the material out and let it dry. Regularly turn the organic material in your compost pile as you add material. Finally, you sift the composted material.  What comes out of the bottom of the sifter is excellent soil. During this point in the tour, Richard demonstrated how he sifts. The visiting gardeners were invited to put their hands into the newly sifted soil.
  3. To get fresh eggs, use poultry science. Each hen in the Halls’ coop has her own personality. Richard and Carolyn know each hen by name.
  4. Conserve water by collecting condensate to water plants. A typical central a/c system pulls about a barrel of water an hour out of the air. Instead of that resource being wasted, the Halls use the water from their a/c to water their gardens. One of their barrels, which has a capacity of 25 gallons, fills up twice a day.

- Rosie Walker, Woodland Heights resident since 1975.

About the Heights Garden Club

According to its website, “The purpose of the Heights Garden Club is to nurture an active gardening community in the greater Heights area of Houston, to share the love and knowledge of gardening in the peculiarities of our Gulf Coast climate, and to restore, improve, and protect our neighborhood’s environment through educational programs, demonstration gardens, and by promoting the incorporation of organic practices, native plants and edibles into the urban landscape. And have fun doing it.” For more information, visit

About Richard Hall

Richard Hall is a resident artist at The Silos at Sawyer Yards, across I-10 from Woodland Heights. To learn more about his work and background, visit Then scroll down to #134 (the location of his studio).

Yard-of-the-Month: 402 Euclid by Michael Graves

Yard of the month goes to Mary and Peter at 402 Euclid at the corner of Florence.  Their yard is a beautiful blend of old and new with a mature Yaupon Holly with old fashioned Aspidistra underneath, several blooming crepe myrtle trees, holly ferns, and some great climbing fig ivy.  The wisteria on the front fence is in vibrant bloom which stands out beautifully next to the foliage of their cypress tree.  Looking forward to going back in the fall when the maple tree turns colors along with the red fruit of the nandina.

Yard of the Month: 601 Woodland by Michael Graves

Although Stacie Cokinos and Pam Redford have only owned 601 Woodland for a year, they have completely transformed their garden while renovating their 1930's bungalow.  

Go by and peek over the conversation height white picket fence and be amazed by the pops of color, the butterfly friendly plants, and the huge old cedar tree that they painstakingly landscaped around without disturbing it.  It's a beautiful space with 2 delightful people that have made our neighborhood even better.

Carla Reed
WHCA VP Beautification

Yard Of The Month: 501 Highland by Michael Graves

This months yard of the month goes to 501 Highland St for their fantastic bird and butterfly garden. Denise and Todd Liebl spent 2 years painstakingly renovating one of the few original stucco homes in our neighborhood and their garden is a pleasure that the whole neighborhood gets to enjoy. Hats off to them for bringing this old house and garden back to life. Welcome to the neighborhood!

Good neighbors volunteer their time to improve our green spaces by Michael Graves

The Woodland Heights Civic Association would like to thank our good samaritan neighbors Sarah and Kyle Cox of LMC ( who volunteered to clear out a terrible overgrown eyesore of a green space by the Watson bridge across from Elan Heights.  We could not have done it without you and your crew!  

Watson Clean Up: Before

Watson Clean Up: Before

Watson Cleanup: After!

Watson Cleanup: After!

We are very proud of what a community effort has accomplished in this green space and we'd like to thank the several neighbors in the 2300 block of Watson who mow the city property across the street from their homes to keep it clean and safe for the rest of the neighborhood.

Yard Of The Month: 935 Ridge by Michael Graves

It was a tough month for anyone in our neighborhood to have a good looking yard after the hard freeze a couple of weeks back. However, Randy McBrides' yard at 935 Ridge looks fantastic!

YOTM - 935 Ridge IMG_1289.jpg

Randy has been in the Woodland Heights for over 19 years and tells us that the reason his yard looks so good is that he has endeavored to make it low maintenance. The two deciduous bur oaks out front with their unusual bark and huge acorns are a knock out along with ground trailing juniper, azaleas, and African iris. It really looks good!

Yard Of The Month by Michael Graves

Yard of the month goes to Arnold van Ek who for over a decade has been creating a sculpture garden in the lot he owns across the street from his home at 619 Euclid.

When Arnold retired after a long career in the oil and gas business in 2005 he decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming an artist. He enrolled at the Glassell School of Art and for the first time learned to weld and cut metal. 


The first sculpture he created was a cardinal totem pole after a trip to Toronto where he was inspired by the totem poles of the American Indian Inuit tribe. Next he produced 3 large spheres; a giant marble, Pluto, and Earth.

Arnold invites you to walk the lot and check out the copperhead Medusa, casino wind chime, lazy Atlas, and the resident alien. At the back of the lot is a shed that features a short movie every night at 7:30 featuring many of his neighbors.

Yard of the Month – September 2016 by Mark Sternfels

Yard of the month for September goes to Rose and Gregory Gallardo at 2320 Watson. They have done a beautiful job transforming this yard over the last decade. Lots of drought tolerant native plants and we all love the local Texas sandstone they have used to create boarders for the beds, a retaining wall, and pavers under the trees. Keep up the good work and thank you for giving us such a beautiful yard to look at as we enter the neighborhood on Watson off of I-10.

Yard of the Month by Mark Sternfels

Yard of the Month is honoring 90-year-old Peggy Williamson at 3206 Morrison. Peggy works in her yard planting and maintaining her array of flowering plants and vegetables. An organic farmer before it became popular, oak leaves are her preferred mulch and top coat for her plantings. Some of the plants found in her yard include a huge plumeria in the side yard, firecracker plants, lilies and roses. Tomatoes, eggplants and other cooler weather veggies line her driveway and grow in her backyard.

Peggy moved into her house in 1933 as a seven year old. She attended Travis Elementary for one year then transferred to Incarnate Word Academy riding the Houston Avenue trolley downtown to school every day. After graduating, Peggy entered the working world and had a long career with Prudential Insurance until her retirement. After her mom died in 1962, Peggy moved back home to help care for her dad. She only began gardening after moving back home. Known for her Lights in the Heights parties, she threw her last one at age 89! In the evenings, you will find Peggy and her beloved pooch, Gin Gin, relaxing at home with a nip of bourbon.