When we moved home to Texas in 2008 our yard was a blank slate and I needed garden inspiration. I went looking for a beautiful, regionally appropriate landscape that worked with the strict watering guidelines imposed by our city. I began by checking out commercial landscapes as I was out running errands and started putting a few ideas together. It wasn't long before I headed out to The Shops at La Cantera in northwest San Antonio and discovered one of the best spots for my landscape inspiration.
Beautifully landscaped with an emphasis on native plants and details that were unmistakably San Antonio, I was presented with possibilities that I was not even aware of. I was fascinated from that first visit and returned again and again as I put together a plan for my own yard.
These photos are from a recent trip
Shopping is a walk in the park at La Cantera
All this beauty and they thoughtfully label their plants so I could make notes along the way. This display of Berkeley Sedge literally stopped me in my tracks that first trip nearly five years ago.
Exactly what I was looking for--a green lawn you don't have to mow. I walked around it and checked it out from different angles and then pulled out a pen and jotted down the name. I recently planted Berkeley sedge near our front walk.
Mountain Pea groundcover is another native plant option, especially helpful to disguise those pesky oak sprouts.
Every mall has a food court and this one has outdoor seating under the great live oak. I was impressed that they planned the mall courtyard around this large oak tree. When I learned the oak was moved to this location and transplanted I was still impressed, just in a different way.
A row of fountains in the columns around the oak tree courtyard
Tile accented steps throughout let you know you are in San Antonio
A few years ago David C. of The Desert Edge featured this same mall on a post.
The signage is combined with metal art
Seeking the source of a "thwak-thwak" sound, I found a guy cutting sod with a machete (in his left hand).
There's just enough sodded grass to make a "throw rug" of lawn here and there in the gardens. I'm still looking for a place to use Baja beach pebbles in my own garden
These pretty stones appear in several spots through the mall
Checkerboard with turf grass is a nice idea as shown in this circular garden in the Macy's courtyard
Knockout roses along the wall
These benches are by local artist Carlos Cortes.
Smiling planters at the play area probably are from Studio Cortes as well. The play area is closed right now much to the disappointment of this little shopper.
Lots of fountains and waterfalls. The fountains were shut off for two years due to drought so it's nice to see them running again and recent changes to city ordinances will allow water features like this one to remain in operation longer during future droughts.
Plants in the water features are labeled.
Plenty of orange accents to give me ideas for my own garden.
Orange kiosk with bicycle
Up ahead a Tory Burch boutique under construction is swathed in orange
On that first trip all the plants looked so different and I knew very few of the plant names. Now I can name most of them.
Bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa)
Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)
Horsetail reed (Equisetum hyemale)
Inland sea oats (Chasmatium latifolium)
Dichondra "Silver ponyfoot", and New Gold Lantana along with more Bamboo muhly
Seating at an entrance with Desert Willow, Autumn sage (Salvia greggii), and miscanthus grass
I learned that Philondendron monstera and selloum can grow outdoors here
White ruellia shown here with autumn sage. I did not know white ruellia existed until I spotted it here since it is more popularly available in pink or purple. I now have both the dwarf and tall white ruellia in my garden.
This dedication stone by the fountain in front of Tiffany is new. I have lived in and/or traveled throughout the country and have never seen a shopping mall with a plaque dedicated to the vision of the developer.
That says quite a lot about this place.