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From the Ground Up Landscape Owners Talk Design Inspiration, Fave Dallas Spots, and What’s Next

Getting to Know Dan Houchard, Ryan Burkhart, and Their Award-Winning Firm

BY // 10.04.22

If you visited the 2021 Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas, the award-winning work of From the Ground Up was the first thing you saw: The front entry garden and courtyard that the firm designed set the stage for the home tour. Creativity, turnkey service, and elegant garden compositions are hallmarks of this fan-favorite firm, thanks to owners Dan Houchard and Ryan Burkhart. Each landscape interpretation is designer to enhance both a home’s architecture and its setting, from classic to contemporary. Dan Houchard shares his creative philosophy and how his firm approaches design — as the name says— from the ground up.

Design background.

Dan Houchard: When I was growing up, I watched my parents plan our home’s outdoor areas and landscape designs. When I was a teenager, I took on the underdeveloped areas as my own and proposed ideas, then loaded up my Mustang with a variety of plants and got to work. I spent my summers in college redesigning family friends’ spaces and installing the projects myself or interning with various landscape-design firms. Landscape design was a natural fit for me when I was at Texas A&M— and I’ve never looked back.

How From the Ground Up is different from other landscape design firms?

DH: When we’re designing a garden, we truly approach the project as if it were our own home, with a deep level of personal ownership— except that we’re channeling our clients’ unique desires for the aesthetics and functionality. The level of passion we bring to each project, from planning to final installation and maintenance, fuels an in-depth investment and ensures outcomes that encompasses both high-level vision and incredible attention to detail. Ryan and I often say to ourselves, “What would we do or not overlook if this was for one of our own families?”

Creative philosophy.

DH: Outdoor spaces should enhance a home’s architecture and overall setting, whether we’re working on a sprawling estate or a property situated on a city lot. The garden should not only be beautiful, but it should reflect how the client lives as well. Whether it serves as simply a stunning view or is a playground full of energetic dogs and kids at play.


From the ground up
If you visited the 2021 Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas, the award-winning work of From the Ground Up was the first thing you saw.

Best thing about the local community.

DH: People here really appreciate great design, and I also adore the varying architectural styles around our city. From French and Tudor to Greek Revival and mid-century, the possibilities are endless with landscape creativity. I feel lucky to be in an atmosphere with such talented industry peers— the group of builders, interior designers, and architects here is second to none.

Favorite Dallas restaurants.

DH: Oh, so hard to choose! I’d have to say Beverley’s, José, Le Bilboquet, Hudson House. and I always love meeting friends for drinks at the bar at the Mansion!


DH: Always travel. I love the way travel gives us perspective on so many areas of our lives. Not only do we experience different scenery, culture, and the work of local artisans, but the experience of taking a break from our everyday routines brings an unparalleled and unmatched rejuvenation to our outlook, mindset, and energy. Whether I’m in Europe or just driving through a small Hill Country town, I find that inspiration is everywhere— and it doesn’t have to be fancy (although, sometimes it is).

Can’t leave home without.

DH: I feel lost without my calendar, my scale, plans, and portfolio. Also — sunglasses! I never leave home without my pair of prescription Persols. Ryan always leaves the house in the morning with his Yeti and a stock of water for a day of endless site
visits in the Texas heat.


From the ground up
From the Ground Up is known for their award-winning landscape design work.

Must-have for every project.

DH: An atmosphere of transporting. We spend a lot of time outside in Texas, and we want our clients to feel relaxed in their outdoor spaces, whether they’re at home with their families or entertaining. Your outdoor space is the perfect place to create an environment reminiscent of somewhere you love. My wife and I designed our own rear garden with the design sensibilities of a Beverly Hills boutique hotel, from black-and- white awnings and pink pagoda-style umbrellas to the tiered pots, a clean-lined pool, and painted pierced-brick wall. Ryan’s backyard makes you feel like you’re on an estate in Connecticut, thanks to its beautiful symmetry of stonework, clipped hedges, stone fireplace, and expansive lawn.

What’s next.

DH: I feel so grateful for the incredible projects we’ve completed, both for the various styles we’ve worked in as well as for our warm, welcoming clients. I’d love to showcase our designs in a fabulous way (maybe a book!) to better communicate to future clients that the possibilities are truly endless.

For more information, visit www.fromthegrounduplandscape.com