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History

Snapshot of Our History

Formed from the merger of two of the metro’s oldest and most prominent land care companies, Heard Gardens and Wright Tree Care, Wright Outdoor Solutions has been caring for outdoor spaces since 1928. Heard Gardens, an award-winning landscaping company, had been designing and managing landscapes in the community since 1928, and Wright Tree Care, a respected residential tree care company, had been around since 1933. With the merger of the two companies in 2007, Central Iowa had one company to turn to for all of their landscaping and tree care needs.

Over time, Wright Outdoor expanded its service offerings to include lawn care, residential and commercial maintenance, a garden center, holiday lights, land clearing, and mulch production.

In 2013, Wright Outdoor purchased a local Des Moines company called The Growing Concern to operate as a division. With this purchase, Wright Outdoor was able to take their services indoors as well, offering interior plantscaping, exterior maintenance and interior holiday décor.

Serving Central Iowa Since 1928

1928

Clyde Heard, a distinguished horticulture professor from Idaho, founded Heard Landscape Services. Clyde, known for the motto “the right plant in the right place,” first ran the nursery and landscaping business from his home on Hickman Road in Des Moines, where he sold bare-root trees and shrubs. His specialties were flowering crabapples and lilacs. After developing a portfolio of landscape projects, including numerous accounts in Beaverdale and the Iowa State Capitol grounds, Clyde moved the business to Beaver Avenue so it could spread its roots on five acres of land.

John L. Wright began working in the residential tree care business with National Tree Company. When they went out of business during the Great Depression, John took a part time job as a mail carrier and continued doing tree work in his spare time.

1933

When his hours as a mail carrier were cut, John L. Wright and his wife Harriet packed up and moved to Cedar Rapids, where they started Wright Tree Service. In the first year, sales totaled $600.00. When work shut down altogether that winter, John and Harriet spent time with family in Des Moines and eventually decided to stay and run their business there.

1936

The early years were extremely difficult, but work picked up enough in the spring of 1936 for Wright Tree Service to purchase an ad in the phone book for the first time. John and Harriet now had children, so he supplemented his income as a railway mail clerk.

1938

In 1938, the business had grown enough for John to quit his part-time job and focus solely on Wright Tree Service.

1940

Wright Tree Service acquired its first utility line clearance job with Iowa Power and Light Company, now MidAmerican Energy, and continued to provide residential tree work on the side. Over time, the utility side of the business expanded and grew into neighboring states.

1950s

Clyde’s son, Bill Heard, who was an outdoorsman and, like his father, grew lilacs in his spare time, returned to Des Moines after college to work for the family business. Bill later purchased 14 acres of land on Merle Hay Road in Johnston, where he moved the nursery and operated it under the name Heard Gardens Ltd. Later also serving as a landscape advisor for the White House grounds under four U.S. presidents, Bill ran the company with a strong focus on landscape architecture and construction, and turned his hobby of growing lilacs into a small mail-order business.

1982

John Wright passed away, handing Wright Tree Service over to his son, John R. Wright. Though the company provided residential tree care from the beginning, that service came to a halt in the 1980s. Wright Tree Service continued to operate solely providing utility tree work.

1991

Registered landscape architect Bob Rennebohm and his wife, MaryAnne, purchased Heard Gardens Ltd. Over the next 16 years, the couple preserved the company’s reputation as Des Moines’ premier landscape architectural design firm. Heard Gardens was known for having the largest selection of unique and high quality plant material, and won many local and national landscape design awards. Heard Gardens was also recognized in The New York Times, Midwest Living, Fine Gardening, Martha Stewart Living, and Landscape Architecture.

1993

The residential division of Wright Tree Service was reintroduced as Wright Tree Care, and began providing residential tree care in Central Iowa again. The company also operated in Tulsa, OK, and Kansas City, MO, for a short time.

2001

Heard Gardens moved to a 40 acre site along the Raccoon River in West Des Moines, complete with demonstration gardens, reestablished prairie, large shade structures, and a vineyard.

2007

Wright Service Corp., the parent company to the Wright family of companies, purchased Heard Gardens and merged its award-winning landscaping business and Wright Tree Care’s respected residential tree care business to form Wright Outdoor Solutions. The merger combined two of the metro’s oldest and most prominent land care companies to provide Central Iowa with one company to turn to for all their landscaping and tree care needs. In addition to landscaping and tree care, Wright Outdoor expanded its service offering to include lawn care, seasonal maintenance, a garden center, holiday lights, land clearing, and mulch production.

2013

Wright Outdoor purchased The Growing Concern, a local Des Moines company, and began operating it as a division. Considering the fact that The Growing Concern purchased Hawkins Greenhouse in the mid 1990s, the company had been serving Iowa since 1916. The new division brought to Wright Outdoor specialty commercial and residential services including interior plantscaping, exterior maintenance and interior holiday décor.

While our company has been part of many transitions over the years, our roots and commitment to service have remained the same. We are dedicated to making your outdoor and indoor spaces healthy and enjoyable.