Thursday, November 21, 2013

Watersaver Landscape Tour 2013: Santa Fe Trails

The San Antonio Watersaver Landscape Tour sponsored by the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) held each October encourages water wise gardening.  This tour is an opportunity for homeowners and gardeners to see how their neighbors have replaced thirsty turf grass lawns.  For the first post in the series you can look back at my post on the Sun Oak garden.

Two neighboring yards in the Santa Fe Trails neighborhood with plenty of good ideas were featured as one stop on the tour.  The first is a no-lawn front yard filled with art, cacti, succulents, and plenty of waterwise plants.

The owner has accented the small yard with metal art pieces

A custom arbor greets visitors from the sidewalk.

Artfully recycled metal work on the arbor gate.

Near the house this big guy is on a pedestal

The view from the front porch across the shallow yard.  Boulders and stones help add structure to the landscape design.

Along the narrow side yard a huge butterfly vine and trellis adds privacy.

The metal art display continues in the backyard.

The metal frame leaning against the fence is an idea I'd like to copy.

A large comfy deck with a bench around the perimeter offers a great view of the gardens

A cool galvanized tub for planting

Relaxing pond near the deck.

These sculptural oaks add to the art in the garden

Back out front, plantings line the walk.  Spineless prickly pear of course.  The leafy plant on the right is a Cassia.

A mix of stone adds interest.

Then going next door where the owner showcased a collection of container plants on a large patio in the back yard.  I liked the idea of displaying these pots on overturned saucers.

The enormous oak surrounded by ground cover is the centerpiece of the back yard.

The view from the patio reveals most of the lawn has been removed in favor of a garden of easy-care flowering plants such as daylilies and abelia.  This seems to be a fairly new garden area and most of these plants will fill in over time.

Around front the lawn is still being whittled away so we'll admire more of the owner's collection of terracotta pots collected over time.

There are so many different approaches to water wise gardening, and these tours have showcased numerous good ideas which can be easily put into homeowner gardens around San Antonio.


  1. What a tour! Thanks again, Shirley. :) What really strikes me, is how established these gardens are. You can clearly see, YEARS of love and effort have been put into these incredible gardens. Such a treat to see them.

  2. Fabulous looking gardens. I too love the idea of sitting pots on overturned saucers. That would be perfect for tropical areas like mine where we have to be concerned with water collecting in places such as pot saucers, which leads to the establishment of breeding areas for mosquitoes and the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

  3. Very nice yards. I love all the variety of stones and the pond in the 1st yard. The second yard has a nice collection of clay pots going. Like the use of metal work in both yards. Good job!

  4. After seeing the sparse cactus-scapes of Arizona, I'm always amazed by these lush cactus gardens. Given the right drainage, cactus are so incredibly versatile.

    1. We do seem very green and lush compared with points west.

  5. Even here, where we're famous for rain, conserving water is becoming more of an issue. It's heartening to see examples like these of landscapes that are beautiful without guzzling water resources.

  6. Nice tour. I like those two in one stops on tours. I wonder if the owners of the first garden were an influence for the second.

    1. Waterwise gardening has been promoted for about 20 years in SA but I'm sure it helps when the neighbors are taking out the lawn first.

  7. That is definitely a magical place! Well done--by the gardener, and by you through your description and your lovely photos. It seems like the perfect Texas garden!

    1. Both gardens are very much in the local Texas style that works so well in our climate.

  8. I love these...lots of very interesting plants and garden art.


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