Lawns of Dallas continues to push the envelope in the name of growth

January 25, 2023 -  By
Lawns of Dallas President Madison Gardner credits his team’s focus on continuous improvement as a key part of his company’s growth. (Photo: Lawns of Dallas)

Lawns of Dallas President Madison Gardner credits his team’s focus on continuous improvement as a key part of his company’s growth. (Photo: Lawns of Dallas)

Lawns of Dallas isn’t a new company in the Dallas-Fort Worth area — it celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2022 — but following 44 percent revenue growth from 2020 to 2021, it’s becoming one of its better known.

“It’s been quite a journey,” says Madison Gardner, president of Lawns of Dallas. “I feel super fortunate for the team we’ve built and where we’re heading now. We’ve been really focused on making sure we have all the right people in the right places. Hopefully, growth should be a bit easier now that we’ve hit our stride in a lot of areas.”

Gardner estimates an additional 25 percent growth from 2021 to 2022.

A native Texan with a background in private equity, he purchased Lawns of Dallas in 2017 and, in the five years since, has helped it grow from what he describes as a “typical mom and pop” business into a full-service company with residential and commercial clients.

Gardner says the 150-employee company services 60 percent residential and 40 percent commercial clients.

Growth during the pandemic

The key to the company’s growth during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 started with an open-minded approach, Gardner says.

“We tried to be creative with how we operated,” he says. “There was an opportunity during the pandemic, as many people were fearful, and business was impacted all around, to be more proactive and with a long-term view.”

Lawns of Dallas will soon have a new facility to complement its rapid growth since the beginning of 2020. (Photo: Lawns of Dallas)

Lawns of Dallas will soon have a new facility to complement its rapid growth since the beginning of 2020. (Photo: Lawns of Dallas)

The company’s proactiveness resulted in a push to hire more employees and invest in more equipment, even as some departments within the company shut down temporarily as work slowed to a crawl.

Gardner says he’s always looking to improve the status quo both from a business and landscaping perspective.

“I’m always asking people, ‘Is there a better way to do this?’” he says. “Whether it’s a procedure we have for installing a new landscape or a new software improvement that will benefit everyone, we’re constantly thinking of how we can get better.”

While Lawns of Dallas may have taken a creative approach to how it operated during the pandemic, Gardner also attributes the company’s growth to the quality of its work. He calls it a positive virtuous cycle that has helped the business grow.

“We’ve been fortunate to continue to do better and better work that’s enabled us to grow more and afford better people and equipment,” he says. “Not to say it hasn’t been hard, it’s definitely been difficult, but we’ve just continued to grind it out and trust the process.”

Keys to growth

Madison Gardner, president of Lawns of Dallas, shares his top keys to growth in 2023:

  1. Don’t be afraid to confront issues head-on. If you don’t, they won’t go away, and things will only be worse down the road if you continue to ignore them.
  2. Have a clear organizational chart. Make sure you’re happy with everyone on that chart. Make sure everyone is in the right seat and doing the right things. It should be clear.
  3. Set quarterly objectives. Whether it’s implementing a new operating software upgrade, getting three new trucks or finalizing a sales and marketing plan, break it down into 90-day chunks and focus on getting those things done.
  4. Solve the root issue. The root issue might be a broken procedure or not having the right person in the right place. Don’t just solve a secondary problem; it’s easy to do. Focus on the root issue and make sure to take care of that first.

An eye on the future

With the calendar now turned to 2023, Gardner and Lawns of Dallas aren’t sure what to expect from the market. He says the company has already begun preparing for a potential downturn, having noticed some fear from other landscaping companies about what might come in the new year.

“We’ve noticed recently there’s some fear in the market,” he says. “But I think a lot of it will depend on where your company is located. It’s very market related as far as if we do have a potential downturn.”
Like a number of businesses countrywide, Gardner says, Lawns of Dallas saw difficulty in 2022 from inflation and wage increases.

As a result, the company saw its margins squeeze despite continued growth, he says. This scenario led him to adopt a more conservative budget in 2023 in case a recession officially emerges, causing clients to pull back.

“We’ve really been in a recession for about half a year already, and it’s finally filtering its way to Main Street,” he says. “In general, we’re not too fearful about next year. We’re trying to operate as efficiently as possible in the event we have to slash our budget even more than what we are planning for.”

New digs coming soon

As for what’s ahead in 2023, Gardner says Lawns of Dallas will move to a new, larger facility currently under construction. He says he hopes the new facility, located in the heart of Dallas-Fort Worth, will continue to drive growth.

“We’re at the same location that we were at five years ago,” says Gardner. “So (the size of the facility) honestly has been the biggest hindrance to our growth. We’re really excited about the new facility; I think it’ll really enable us to have continued growth. Part of any company’s ability to grow is making sure that you have the facilities to support the increased volume.”

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Rob DiFranco

About the Author:

Rob DiFranco is Landscape Management's associate editor. A 2018 graduate of Kent State University, DiFranco holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. Prior to Landscape Management, DiFranco was a reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio.

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