Around age 21, Evo Lineberry came to her mom, Dione, with a proposition. Only two weeks into working full time at the company, Blue Ribbon Lady Landscaping, Evo wanted to buy her mom’s business.
Blue Ribbon Lady had no website or logo. There was no marketing strategy. The business structure and operations needed organizing.
“I was like, if this is going to become a proper company, I’m going to have to be the one to come in and take that charge and do it,” Evo says.
They signed a contract, and Evo started ticking away at her checklist. She created a website with a contact form so leads could be tracked, hired a graphic designer to make a logo and took an inventory of customers.
But there was manual labor involved, too. For more than a year, Evo was in charge of the garden care work — swapping out flowers, weeding and trimming — transporting materials in her Subaru. That’s when she convinced Dione to purchase a company truck. Then the workload became too much for Evo to handle alone, so she gradually formed a team.
For Evo, managing Blue Ribbon Lady Landscaping has been intentional. But for Dione, starting the company was anything but.
About 21 years ago, having worked for 10 years in the fashion industry, Dione was a stay-at-home mom, taking care of the kids and participating in their school activities.
The Lineberrys’ yard in Casa Linda wasn’t fenced, so Dione was always outside with her son and Evo.
“Got tired of playing in the swingset and the sandbox, so I started messing around with the garden,” Dione says. “And then I guess over the years, I just landscaped my yard.”
Afterward, a neighbor asked Dione to landscape their yard. It took about a week for her to move soil and mulch, plant vegetation and install edging. News of Dione’s skills spread by word of mouth, and people kept asking her for help. At the time, Dione was doing all of the work herself — a lot of cleaning, weeding, trimming and mulching gardens.
Other parents at Lakehill, where Evo was a student, connected Dione to people who could provide labor and irrigation expertise. Several of them continue to work with the Lineberrys on projects.
With a crew, Dione could do more and bigger jobs faster than before. This definitely wasn’t a hobby anymore; this was a business, and it needed a name.
Years earlier, Dione had been part of a garden club. Each of the members used ribbons to mark their flowers, so they would know which belonged to whom once they unloaded the truck. Dione was the blue ribbon lady.
“And here we are,” Evo says.
Evo raked up experience from a young age, helping her mom pick weeds. She always enjoyed being outside, and she worked for her mom part-time while she was getting her associate degree.
Now, Dione focuses most of her time on landscape designs. Evo designs, too, but she’s also doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes work to keep the company running. Blue Ribbon Lady handles garden care, landscape design and installation, and flower replacements, serving residential and commercial clients.
There’s no certification or accreditation in landscape design, but Dione and Evo have educated themselves over the years. Dione, a founder of the White Rock East Garden Tour, is a master gardener. Evo, a millennial who says she needs to find purpose in everything, is a master naturalist with an interest in native plants.
“That filled that gap where I was like, this isn’t just lawn ornaments for people who can afford it. These things are actually beneficial,” Evo says.
The Lineberrys begin their landscape designs by finding architectural features of the home to highlight. Meeting the client reveals personal preferences; some want low-maintenance yards, and others hate flowers. And of course, there are the practical matters to consider, like where the yard is more or less exposed to light.
Designs may not be exactly what the Lineberrys would choose for their own yards, but they give each one the attention and care they’d invest in their own property.
“When we create a garden, it’s our garden,” Dione says.
Landscape design can be an emotional process, the Lineberrys say. They’ve been asked to incorporate plants that belonged to deceased relatives. Evo once found a wedding ring lost years earlier by a man whose wife recently died. They find a lot of toys, buried for decades, that parents insist on keeping.
“We started here, and we service a lot of people here,” Evo says. “And I think we’re able to meet those cultural, fun quirks that make East Dallas East Dallas, and just feed into that.”