Steve Kainer said once he arrived in Austin as a college graduate, he was never leaving. After 10 years of teaching and coaching in the area, Kainer decided to put down roots in Cedar Park by opening Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery on Bell Boulevard in 1999.

What began as a pond store with a few plants, fountains and pottery turned into a full-blown garden center after 10 years. Now, Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery has doubled in land, inventory and staff and is home to over 200 features, including a nursery, a greenhouse, a gift shop and a variety of plants, fountains, ponds, fish and more.

“[I] always wanted to create a place where you could come check out [the products] ... and visualize how it would look in your home,” Kainer said.

For Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery, Kainer said it is his knowledgeable staff that keeps customers coming back.

“The staff is the business,” Kainer said. “I have customers who ... come here [and] only want to speak to Paula, or they only want to speak to Brandy.”

As Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery grows, Kainer said he feels confident his customer service focus will keep customers from going to Lowe’s or The Home Depot for their gardening needs.

“My customers know they could go to a big-box store, perhaps find this four-pack of petunias [for] 25 cents less, but they still come here because I think they know that my staff’s going to take care of them,” Kainer said. “It’s a lot cooler to walk around here than it is at a box store.”

6 early spring gardening tips
Here is how to get your best head start for this planting season.
1. Prepare planting beds: till soil, add compost and mulch.
2. Apply pre-emergents (corn gluten) to lawns now to help prevent summer weeds.
3. Cut back ornamental grasses about 6 inches from the crown.
4. Plant fruit trees.
5. Prepare and check irrigation systems.
6. Plant spring bulbs: crocus, hyacinths and bluebonnets.
Source: Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery/Community Impact Newspaper

Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery
1407 N. Bell Blvd., Cedar Park 
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.