Albuquerque Army Vet Gets Landscape Makeover

Heads Up Landscape Contractors, through GreenCare for Troops, installs easy-maintenance landscape for service-disabled vet who did two tours in Iraq.

Martinez project after
Martinez project after

Heads Up Landscape Contractors heard through the GreenCare for Troops program about a wounded Army veteran in Albuquerque, NM, who needed grass in his backyard for his service dog, the company jumped in with much more than sod and sprinklers.

“We only asked for grass for Lucky, my mastiff/Great Dane service dog,” says Michael Martinez, a service disabled veteran whose eight years in the Army included two 15-month tours in Iraq. “Lucky alerts me when I need oxygen for my headaches as a result of a traumatic brain injury, and reminds me to take my medication twice a day. He also helps me walk. I have a back injury and I put my weight on him when I go up and down stairs, or when I get tired.”

“We’ve participated in the GreenCare for Troops program for seven years; it’s very rewarding for us,” says Andrew Key, president of Heads Up Landscape Contractors. “We’ve taken care of landscaping for 8 to 10 service people, some for three months and some as much as a year. Heads Up believes strongly in giving back the community, and we are thrilled to be able to help our veterans who have given their all in service to the country.”

In August, Heads Up installed grass, plants, a tree, an irrigation system and gravel in the Martinez’s backyard. The easy to maintain landscape even has a garden area for Martinez and his family to plant flowers or vegetables. The crew returned to the Martinez home in the early fall to spray pre-emergent for weeds, and will winterize the irrigation system in mid-late November, all at no charge to Martinez. The estimated value of the project was $9,000 to 10,000.

“Before, it was hard to train the dog outside. Now it’s easy to keep up on training, and for the kids to be outside. My son Jaden has autism and his behavior has gotten better because he can be outside on the grass more,” continues Martinez. “Everyone at Heads Up was fantastic. Everyone was approachable, and listened to us and what we wanted. They are very, very nice people. It’s such a huge help.”

GreenCare for Troops is a nationwide outreach program that connects local volunteer contractors with men and women serving our country in the armed forces away from home. GreenCare is in the process of helping hundreds of volunteers provide free lawn and landscape services for thousands of military families nationwide.

Award-winning Heads Up Landscape Contractors was founded in 1973 by Gary Mallory as a two-man residential lawn sprinkler service. Forty-two years later, Heads Up designs, installs and maintains New Mexico’s top commercial and residential landscapes, and leads the xeriscape industry as one of the top 100 landscaping companies in the country. In 2014, Heads Up was voted Best Landscaper by the readers of the Albuquerque Journal, and named Best in the City for landscaping services by the readers of Albuquerque The Magazine for the second year in a row.