Lawns of Dallas Ownership Change Brought Dramatic Growth

Madison Gardner

“We’re busier than ever,” said Madison Gardner, owner of Lawns of Dallas.

The Park Cities-centric business started almost 40 years ago by a young man simply mowing lawns. 

After venturing into commercial work 15 years ago, the company attracted the attention of entrepreneur and Highland Park native Madison Gardner four years ago.

Looking for a business to purchase, Gardner approached then-owner Doug Smellage, who was already thinking of retirement, and six months later, a deal was struck. 

In the ensuing three and half years, Lawns of Dallas has nearly tripled in size under Gardner’s leadership, expanding from around 50 employees to 135. 

Now the owner of a full-service lawn and garden design, building, and maintenance company, Gardner observed, “It’s been quite a journey building a great team. It’s been a huge blessing.” 

Gardner remembers Lawns of Dallas working around the neighborhood from his youthful days attending Bradfield Elementary and Highland Park High, “But I never imagined I would be running the company.” 

How did COVID-19 affect his business?

“On the commercial side, we were absolutely decimated,” Gardner said. “In residential, we were affected, but overall it was pretty steady for us. We were able to keep everyone employed. That was a big goal during COVID.”

The pandemic also brought opportunities.

“I think a lot of companies either scaled back or reduced their budgets or headcount,” he said. “I just decided as a company to really double-down. We even hired some great people who were let go from other companies.”

With 95% of the residential business in the Park Cities/Preston Hollow areas, Gardner said, “We’re really focused on just this area. 

“Now we have a better team of experts in their field, whether its landscape design, construction teams, or account managers. For our clients, we try to be the point of contact for anything outside the home, whether its seasonal color, mulch, tree trimming, or whatever they need,” he said.

The lawn care industry has changed plenty in four decades.

“People were more willing to mow their own lawn (40 years ago), to be more hands-on,” Gardner observed. “Today, more and more people just want to pay someone to deal with it. They want their outdoor spaces to be just an extension of their living room or kitchen — simple, easy outdoor living. Everyone is so busy; life is more complicated; they just want to enjoy what they have.”

Lawns of Dallas offices at 8400 Ambassador Row in Dallas, (214-357-6522), a handful of miles from the neighborhoods served.

“It’s been a great opportunity to be part of a company that grew up in the same area we are now still serving,” Gardner said. “To have Lawns of Dallas serve in my own neighborhood, the Park Cities, has been very rewarding.”

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