Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Watersaver Landscape Tour 2014: Rushing Street

There's just something about this spiky, green and gravelly garden that draws me in.  That's what I enjoyed most about visiting this garden on the Water Saver Landscape Tour in San Antonio last fall.  The tour is held each October to inspire San Antonio homeowners to ditch their water guzzling turf grass lawns in favor of native and adapted plants.  No sign of turf grass in this landscape and it wasn't missed due to excellent plant choices for our climate.  There are more photos than I typically show in a single post since I didn't want you to miss a single detail.

This first view along the front curb invites with repetition of form and texture combining soft perennials and spiky agaves.




The massive live oak tree reaches out to welcome with open arms.  The homeowner has fond memories as a teenager of riding her bicycle up the hill when this was ranch land to sit under this tree with her friends.  How wonderful that she and her husband had the opportunity to purchase the property and build their home here years later.


The wall was carefully constructed to preserve the tree.


The best garden designs work with the architecture of the house and this one takes the additional step of matching the color of the house to the plants.


Behind the walls a welcoming entry.



The entry expands out to a relaxing courtyard presided over by those gorgeous live oaks.


With most of the plants in the gray-green range the garden relies on terracotta, oak bark, and rusty metal for subtle contrast.





Monochromatic color schemes are described as restful and this courtyard bears that out.


Most design guides will state that monochromatic is the easiest scheme to pull off.  Green is the clear choice for a monochromatic garden except if you are, like me, a plant fanatic then the discipline shown here in plant selection is impressive.  It's not entirely green, there are shots of flower colors like the yellow hesperaloe planted in the tree circle.


A flagstone path leads from the courtyard.  When agaves won't fit the Foxtail Fern repeats the form in a different texture.  Speakers under the balcony evoke entertaining afternoons and evenings spent in the garden.


A winding path leads through the narrow garden space behind the the house.


This hammock chair is inviting


Terracotta pots of all shapes, sizes and textures complete the scene.


Very few match yet they all work together


Terracotta chimney liners used as a bench.


Fig ivy covered wire fencing as deck skirting and railing.



A faux bois birdbath is the centerpiece of this planting.




A real tree stump turned table in another nearby vignette echoes the faux bois across the way.




A potting bench and work space comes into view at the end of the path.



Bottles on bamboo stakes in a bed of clumping bamboo.


Fabulous collection of tropical plants enjoying the warm fall day outdoors.



Bamboo muhly softens the driveway edge.



Back around to the courtyard.








The other side of the tree putting its arms through the wall.


The homeowner (on the right) with a visitor as the mail carrier waves.


A shady sitting area and path to one side of the front walk invites exploration


Across the walk are more pathways to explore around to the side street.



The corner lot allows for a good size side garden.


The homeowner does all her own garden work, including spreading the gravel.  We shared a good laugh about the comments and stares from passersby we get when working in our front gardens.






The white flowers of Blackfoot Daisy add interest on the corner.




I enjoyed spending time exploring this beautiful example of pulling together all the elements of texture, color and form in a watersaving landscape.

31 comments:

  1. Fantastic looking garden with so much interest going on and to be inspired with. More homes should really ditch their water guzzling lawns, these sort of gardens are far more interesting!

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    1. Interesting and more appropriate to our climate.

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  2. Thanks for sharing all those beautiful photos, Shirley. I love the Foxtail Ferns! Actually, I enjoyed all the plants and views. It's totally different than my garden, which makes it fascinating!

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    1. In the hot summer I enjoy looking at your cool gardens up north so it works out well.

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  3. Wow, thanks for sharing all the photos! I wish I had a gnarly old tree to build a wall around.

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    1. I knew you would like this one!

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  4. So inspiring - and just the kick in the pants I needed to stick with the plan I formulated for my own spaces a year or so ago. I stopped buying new plants in favor of putting in more specimens of plants that are already doing well in my spaces. I suppose I thought it would get monotonous, but seeing how well the repetitive use of a limited number of plants has been handled here, I can see it is anything but. Thanks so much for sharing this particular garden. And extra kudos for the owner getting out and doing her own work. I wish more of my neighbors would do the same!

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    1. It's inspiring to see how well sticking with the plan and adding more of what works.

      There are a lot of different types of plants here, it's more about repeating the ones with similar forms and varying the textures.

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  5. What a cool garden! So many gorgeous plants and a beautiful whole as well! I've been meaning to ask you about live oaks in your area. You've written before about the ball moss (pesky tillandsia that you've had removed) but does Spanish moss grow on your trees? Perhaps it's too dry in your climate for it?

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    1. Spanish moss does grow in the San Antonio area but it's more common down in town than up where I live although my friend Melody does have some in her yard. I'll try to get some pictures.

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  6. What a delightful outdoor living space they've created behind that wall! Thanks for sharing this with us, Shirley. Wish I could have seen it in person.

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    1. I know you would enjoy it Pam.

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  7. Great photo tour! What a beautiful garden with so many little vignettes that all tie together. I love that San Antonio does these tours.

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    1. This tour has been going for about twenty years now so it's a good one.

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  8. Lovey garden and lovely photos. You did a great job of capturing this garden. Don't courtyard walls add so much. Did I spy a couple of olive trees in pots?

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    1. Yes, those are olive trees in some of the pots. With so many wonderful plants, it was not possible to name them all.

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  9. They did a great job working the house and garden around those magnificent trees. I can't get over the stucco wall with the cut-outs!

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    1. The cut outs are common for wood fences and I have seen a few stucco walls with dips for the trees. This was especially nice.

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  10. Nice tour, Shirley. One could pick up several great ideas from this garden. It is also nice to see a garden that is maintained by the homeowner. Comments and stares when you work in your front garden? Do you dress funny when you work in the garden?

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    1. Now that would be fun, maybe I could come up with something more interesting than old jeans. As you noted it's not that common to see a homeowner out doing the hard work of gardening. The landscape guys want me to hire them and the neighbors are baffled.

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  11. What an awesome garden!!!! I love everything about it!!!!

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    1. I know you wanted to see this one but with your garden open on the same tour, it was kind of tough to pull that off!

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  12. I absolutely LOVE this entire yard..the house looks pretty intriguing too. How wonderful that they built around the old tree. Love, love, LOVE it.

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    1. It is that good a garden and I'm glad you enjoyed the tour.

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  13. It's a gorgeous, Texas garden and I think you captured it magnificently--just great photos, Shirley. Thanks for the tour.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour Tina!

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  14. Thanks for the tour, lots of interesting things to see – a bit alien to me with desert planting but very fascinating too. Still, lots of ideas I can ‘borrow’.

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  15. How many of the neighbors there have followed with similar changes? I have serious lawn envy right now. How much water does it take to establish the plants?

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    1. Hi Lyn, more and more of my neighbors are taking out at least part of their lawn in favor of landscape plants. It does take a little more water to get the perennials established but probably less than used for lawn watering.

      Here's a good local website to check out for ideas.

      http://www.gardenstylesanantonio.com/

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  16. Very cool! I really love the tree growing though the wall. Much wiser plantings than water hogging grass. :o)

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  17. wonderful to have all that interest restrained in a beautiful grey green palette!

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