When it comes to yard work, Julie and David Wright have a definite division of labor.
"When I was 9 or 10, I learned to cut grass like a man," Julie Wright said. "I just love to mow."
So that leaves the weeding and edging to her husband.
For the Wrights, both retired teachers, this team approach has resulted in perfectly manicured lawns in both the front and back yards that are the backdrops of the landscaping of the neat home they built 27 years ago in Hickory Ridge subdivision.
The overall effect is a soothing scene anchored by the vibrant lawn, with large ferns and blooming plants, many in white, Julie Wright's favorite color in the garden.
"I have things tucked in places with no rhyme or reason," she said. "I plant whatever hits me."
But it all begins with the lawn, which started out as centipede grass. Over time, the Wrights inserted plugs of healthy St. Augustine, which has now grown into lush carpets that dazzle in dark green.
A huge oak tree, only one of four of the original oaks on their property, partially shades the front.
Semicircular beds, densely planted, front both sides of their home's entrance, where large pots of caladiums and salvia bloom.
The two front beds are planted around a large blooming white oleander and a bright pink crape myrtle, one of several varieties of crepe myrtles in their yard. Interspersed among the azaleas, ferns and philodendron are mountain rocks the Wrights brought home from a trip to Colorado.
Throughout the yard are masses of different varieties of caladiums, some traditional and a few new ones, including "Frog in a Blender," a combination of splashes of dark and lime green.
The Wrights designed their backyard around a courtyard area created between two wings of the house.
A graceful blooming mimosa partially shades the entrance to the courtyard.
"It's my most favorite tree in the whole yard," Julie Wright said. "It reminds me of mimosas from my childhood."
A brick pathway built by David Wright centers the courtyard, which brims on both sides with the couple's favorite green and blooming plants, including azaleas, agapanthus, hostas, indigo and lilies.
The pathway leads to a table topped with a pot overflowing with different varieties of caladiums alongside a foxtail fern and a gigantic night-blooming cereus, which Julie Wright fertilizes almost weekly.
Lots of smaller beds dot the backyard, including a stand of Mexican petunias in full bloom serving as a backdrop to two relatively new Meyer lemon trees, already loaded with green fruit.
In one corner is a swing surrounded with blooming white impatiens, a huge fern and salvia in unusual colors like hot pink and orange planted in two antique washtubs, which Julie Wright called her "pride and joy."
Another bed is filled with summer zinnias, one of many memories from Julie Wright's years growing up in in Shreveport, where she learned gardening from her late father, Frank Burroughs, and her late grandfather, Walter White. She said her brother Gerry Burroughs, who has a wonderful garden at his Shreveport home, also taught her much of what she knows about plants.
The Wrights recently added a new picture window to the front of their house so they can enjoy the view of the garden from their kitchen.
"It's so nice to be able to see the flowers when we eat breakfast in the morning," Julie Wright said.