Creating Works of Art
From Works of Nature
At Manuel’s Tree & Garden, we take the time to listen to how our clients want to experience their gardens. We believe the landscape is an extension of the home: a functional room for friends to gather and be entertained, a comfortable place for family to relax, and an island of serenity for the times when you need a quiet retreat. To fulfill this vision, we treat landscapes as works of fine art.
This philosophy started with Manuel Vasquez – our namesake – when he founded Manuel’s Tree Service in 1964, after having establishing himself as proficient in the fine art of tree pruning. Inexperienced workers simply hack away randomly at limbs. A skilled arborist understands that it takes an understanding of the tree, its growth pattern, and its location, to maintain the health and structural integrity of a tree. Manuel targeted removal of damaged or structurally unsound limbs in a way that maintained the aesthetic beauty and majesty of each tree.
As Manuel’s experience expanded, and to better represent our services, we changed our name to Manuel’s Tree & Garden in 2013, but we’re still the same Vasquez family and we still believe the process of designing a residential garden is a very personal one. A garden continues to morph and grow, just like relationships, and we’ve formed many long-lasting relationships with our clients and their gardens. Relationships that have spanned multiple generations.
The son of migrant workers, Manuel Vasquez worked the land with his parents and grandparents while traveling north to Michigan to assist with the fall harvest. After years of travelling back and forth, Manuel decided to make Dallas his home. He spent his formative years under the tutelage of Bob Cunningham while working at Lambert Landscape, still a highly-regarded industry leader since 1919, and the training ground for many notable arborists and landscape artists. From 1946-1963, Manuel worked alongside some very talented and gifted landscapers.
It was with cautious enthusiasm that Manuel left the protective arms of Lambert’s Landscape. He was encouraged by the support of several prized clients who followed him to his new business. When one very special client and friend noticed his nervousness, she quickly assured him by saying, “Manuel, we love you! We’ll give you business and it’s all going to work out.” And she was right. Throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, and up to the present, many of the city’s established families employed Manuel’s Tree Service.
Our current president, Dan Vasquez, learned everything about the business by observing his father. By the time Dan was 10, he had spent much of his time riding around with his father and watching him work. It was then that he learned the most important lesson of all from Manuel: his father didn’t have customers as much as he had friends.
Dan remembers his father with a mixture of awe, admiration, and just a little bit of magical nostalgia. After all, it was his father who instilled in him his passion for trees and landscape design. As a youth in the 70’s, he joined his father while he was relocating some massive trees from one property to a new property the client was building. “I watched as my father instructed our machine operators while digging and removing the massive root balls from the ground, and loading them on the flatbeds,” Dan reminisces. “I was speechless. My father was making all of this magic happen.”
Later, as a teenager, while assisting his father on a project in far North Dallas, Dan remembers ascending the long driveway of the expansive estate. It was a magnificent property located at the end of a motor court framed by a ring of trees. As Dan approached, the pruning team led by his father worked diligently throughout the property. Dan listened in awe as his father explained the work in progress to the client, explaining the purpose and benefit of pruning each tree. Each and every tree was described as though it was a unique piece of art. Dan was amazed and inspired. Like a painter with his brush, each and every stroke was a well thought-out process, a concept Dan still applies to this day.
Armed with a Landscape Design and Architecture Degree from the University of Texas in Arlington, Dan has expanded the company from pruning and maintenance into the fields of high-end landscape design, gardening, seasonal plantings, and even estate gardening and seasonal color.
Dan looks at everything with an artful eye, and looks toward all art forms for inspiration. An avid oil and acrylic painter in his free time, Dan also attends theatre, the symphony, and current exhibitions for inspiration. He takes that inspiration into everything he does.
“They all have an influence on me. I look at trees, the landscape and the environment in a very artful way.”
From surveying an entire landscape to seasonal plantings, to the detail of repainting a decorative pot, Dan is all things creative.
As a dedicated certified arborist, Dan continues to expand his education and knowledge by enrolling in continuing education classes and independent workshops at Southern Methodist University, University of Texas in Arlington, and Texas A&M. Dan instills the same importance for ongoing education to his employees as he does to his own son. “It’s important that the staff of Manuel’s stay current on climate change, native and new plant introductions, and evolving industry practices,” emphasizes Dan.
Manuel’s legacy provides continued inspiration for Dan’s artistic vision in translating works of nature into works of art. Because gardens are an evolving process, the long-lasting and often multi-generational relationships Manuel’s has formed with many of our clients continues to morph and grow, just like their gardens morph and grow. Manuel’s will proudly continue our commitment to creating works of art – and creating solid relationships with our clients – for generations to come.