Summer and autumn are excellent times of the year to get outside, fire up the grill, invite friends over to the house to sit on the porch, let the kids run around the yard and enjoy the great outdoors.

It can be considerably less enjoyable if your yard is a wreck, though, so when a place like Bear's Garden Center opens up in northwest Hendricks County, I take notice.

In the little town of Lizton, Bear's Garden Center opened for business in April of this year. It's directly across the street from Tri-West High School -- home of the Bruins -- so I thought the name of the business was a clever play off of the hometown high school mascot. As it turns out, though, Bear's Garden Center is owned by a man named Jim Bear, so the ursine name connection is a simple coincidence.

There is much to explore on the covered porch at Bear's Garden Center in Lizton before you even get inside.Regardless, Bear's Garden Center is worth exploring whether you live in the area or are just visiting.

As you pull into the parking lot, you can't help but notice stalls on the left filled with landscaping materials such as river rock, mulch, pea gravel and more. While I was there, an employee was loading a truck full of mulch to be delivered, so I made a mental note for the future in my hapless yard.

Across the parking lot from the stalls of landscaping materials, a large area filled with all sorts of trees and shrubs available for purchase greets you. Given my employment with Hendricks County Parks & Recreation, I loved seeing that Bear's Garden Center carries a number of native trees such as river birch, bur oak and black cherry.

Once parked, you're greeted by an inviting covered patio filled with plants, vegetables, home decor and yard decor. It takes awhile to peruse everything, but I immediately found the prices at Bear's Garden Center quite reasonable. Another mental note for my disastrous yard:  I can do something about it without breaking the bank.

Bear's Garden Center has a lot to offer gardeners with a green thumb. Bear's Lawn Care takes care of those with a black thumb.Around the side of the garden center, a large open area chock full of bright, colorful plants and flowers caught my eye. Annuals, perennials, herbs, hanging plants, full sunlight, partial sunlight, mostly shade -- they have it all. I started making a mental checklist of all the plants that we'll need for our out-of-control yard when I remembered that my wife wasn't with me at the time. I don't dare make landscaping decisions without her, so I'll be back to Bear's Garden Center soon with my lovely bride.

All of this gardening and landscaping splendor, and I hadn't even made it inside yet. Once indoors, I found even more plants, garden tools, garden decor, vegetable and flower seeds and everything you could think of to make your yard a place where birds and people would want to hang out.

Bear's Garden Center truly sells everything you might need for gardening and landscaping. But when your yard is a raging dumpster fire like mine is, and you've managed to kill everything you've tried to plant in the past, you might decide to throw in the towel and call in the professionals.

As it turns out, Bear's Garden Center came about as an expansion of Bear's Lawn Care, Inc., which serves all of Indianapolis and the metropolitan area. They offer lawn care (mowing, fertilizing, aerating, trimming, edging -- the whole nine yards), landscaping services, irrigation and sprinkler system installation and maintenance, landscape lighting and, in the winter, snow removal.

So if you have a green thumb, Bear's Garden Center in Lizton is a place you'll want to check out. And if you have a black thumb like me, Bear's Lawn Care, Inc. might be the better option. Either way, Bear's will make your yard something to enjoy year-round.

Bear's Lawn Care & Garden Center