September 17, 2023 · Filed Under Events and News 
Despite the brutal summer, most of the plants in the front yard of 4816 Pershing Ave. managed to survive and some even thrived.

Martha and Louis Felini will be the first to tell you that neither of them have green thumbs or a sense of landscape design. They’re self-proclaimed novices who are learning about how to take care of plants.

When the historic winter freeze hit in 2021, they lost just about everything in their front yard.  “I felt horrible,” says Louis. “I didn’t want to have the worst yard in the neighborhood.”  So, they commissioned landscape architect Nancy Spradling with Changing Color to develop a plan for them.  Their only direction to Nancy was to make sure her landscape design complemented the architecture of their 1925 vintage bungalow.  They also wanted hardy plants that were low maintenance and dog-friendly.  “We left it in her hands,” explains Louis.

Once Nancy completed the design, the installation has been unfolding in stages, starting with the front yard. Nancy’s crew worked from sun up to sun down for a week to get the front yard installed.  “It was shock and awe for us,” admits Louis who says the crew ripped out all the grass, stripping it down to the dirt.  And then sodded it with zoysia that now covers the front like a tightly woven plush carpet.  It’s hardy through the summer heat and chokes out weeds, according to Louis.

This was the first full season for the Felini’s front yard.  Unlike most of their neighbors, most of their plants survived this year’s unrelenting summer heat.  The main bed in front of the porch is anchored by a line of Majestic Beauty Indian Hawthorns.  In front of them is a line of Gulf Green Indian Hawthorns.  At the front of the bed are Knock Out roses that are still blooming. Next to them were Emerald Spreader Junipers that succumbed to the heat.  Another summer casualty is the line of Taxus Densiformis along the east side of the house.

The two Japanese Yew at each end of the front bed didn’t skip a beat.  Same for the centerpiece dish planter filled with periwinkles on a bed of cobblestones.  The periwinkles love the heat, as long as they get watered.  The planter gets changed out twice a year with seasonal color.

Two front porch pots are filled with pyramid-shaped boxwoods.  Martha says one of the biggest selling points when they bought their house in 2019 was the big front porch.  “We spend a lot time out there,” she says.

Martha loves her pleasant drive through Arlington Heights every morning as she goes to work at University of North Texas Health Science Center. She is an Associate Professor in Pediatric Medicine at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and is also an epidemiologist who studies gene and environmental influences on cancer risk and disparities.

Louis is a retired sergeant with the Dallas Police Department who now runs his own security service company in Fort Worth.

Courtesy of Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association, the Felinis received a $25 gift certificate to Archie’s Gardenland and a year’s membership in AHNA.

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