Luke and Mary Hawthorne met while working at a corporate lawn care business together, both unhappy and dissatisfied with the company’s treatment of its customers, employees and, maybe most importantly—its clients’ lawns.

Luke left his job to work at another corporate lawn care company, but the same problems quickly became intolerable. Employees worked long hours; the products were harmful to the planet; the quality of service was subpar; and profit seemed to be a bigger priority than people.

“Those companies have to use certain products for every lawn no matter if it was the right product for the lawn,” Mary said. “It was standard products, and you couldn’t deviate, even though it wasn’t the best thing for a Central Texas lawn.”

That led Luke and Mary to take a leap of faith in 2006 and begin operating Emerald Lawns out of their Austin home’s spare bedroom. Determined to make lawns more beautiful “the right way,” the couple still runs the booming multicity company with the same small-business values it was founded upon 16 years ago.

Now serving the Austin, San Antonio and Waco areas, Emerald Lawns only operates on weekdays to ensure its employees have a work-life balance, which also allows customers to enjoy their green grass over the weekend. Its custom Emerald Lawns blend and other practices are environmentally conscious, and treatment is specific to what each lawn needs.

“Unlike the other big tank trucks that you see that just have fertilizer and weed control and every lawn gets the same, we only spot treat weeds. The only time we would blanket a lawn with weed control is if the lawn was full of weeds and there was no way to spot treat it,” Luke said. “We only spot treat disease. That’s probably the biggest difference between us and the corporate world.”

Also dissimilar from corporate lawn care, Emerald Lawns clients are not left wondering what is happening with their lawn. Its technicians are eager to educate customers on issues with their lawns and treatment plans, and customers receive reviews of each visit documenting what the technician evaluated, how they handled it and what they recommend doing next.

Prioritizing people and the environment led Luke and Mary to dedicate themselves to sourcing locally made, state-of-the-art products to stock its technicians’ diverse inventory and to give back to their community and staff whenever possible. Every year, Emerald Lawns generously donates directly to local and global causes as well as through the Cares Alliance.

“I’m competitive. I want to keep growing bigger and bigger, but I want to grow big because we’re the best, not for any other reason,” Luke said. “I don’t want to grow big because I want to make more money. But the bigger I get, the more people I can hire, and the more lives I can change, the more I can give the community.”

Whether you are a new homeowner looking for a lawn care company, wishing for a more lush yard or simply ready to give up lawn maintenance, Luke, Mary and rest of the Emerald Lawns staff are promising greener grass on their side.

“One of the best compliments I ever had was [when] a neighbor said, ‘Every time I pass by your lawn, I take off my shoes because I want to feel your grass on my feet,’” Mary said. “To me, it’s just like when you pull up after a long, hard day ... It gives me joy to see my grass looking inviting and amazing—something you want to come home to and you want to take your shoes off and put your feet in.”

If your lawn needs attention and you love supporting locally-owned businesses, head to to learn more or get an instant quote and free evaluation by calling 512-990–2199. The Emerald Lawns website is a one-stop resource for everything you need to know about maintaining a healthy lawn.

The above story was produced by Community Impact Newspaper's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of its sponsored content purchase through our advertising team. Our integrity promise to our readers is to clearly identify all CI Storytelling posts so they are separate from the content decided upon, researched and written by our journalism department.