Thursday, November 8, 2012

Open Days Austin Garden Tour: Christine Ten Eyck and Gary Deaver Garden

The Christine Ten Eyck and Gary Deaver Garden was the third garden visited on The Garden Conservancy's Open Days tour in Austin and a convenient short walk from the previous garden.

Christy Ten Eyck is an award-winning landscape architect with offices in Austin and Phoenix.  This was a much-anticipated opportunity to tour her personal garden in Austin.  For more on the background of this garden check out Pam Penick's two posts on this same garden at her blog Digging.

Large agaves with native flowers are living sculptures along the street.

An existing wall was removed to make the property more visible.  I'd rather look at these agaves than a wall from the street.

The Cor-Ten steel steps with crushed granite are a counterpoint to the natural forms of the native limestone boulders.

Another agave, sotol and other native plants along the steps.

The style is very Central Texas with stones removed from the backyard used to line the beds and walkways in the front, making this the garden on the tour I could most relate to since we have employed the same strategy with our rock.  I took lots of pictures of the stone placements for my idea file.

Massed native grasses, flowering plants, and understory trees soften the edges and add dimension to the mature live oaks.  An existing asphalt circle drive was removed to allow more garden space in the front.

The large stone grinding wheel with agave in the middle is the focal point replacing the old drive.

There is no lack of privacy here, the native plantings and mounds of bamboo muhly provide screening.

More pathways wind throughout the yard.

Toward the property line the plantings become denser and more natural.

Herbs and vegetables right out in the front yard

Meyer Lemon along the driveway behind the vegetable garden.

Drifts of white mistflower or boneset were blooming just in time for the tour.

Over by the front door this simple container greets guests.

Looking to the right of the house we see this large oak tree and seating area with yellow butterfly chairs providing a bright spot of color.  Agaves are spaced among the sedge below the tree.  We also get a glimpse of Christy Ten Eyck discussing the garden with visitors.

The gate of steel mesh opens into a side garden

An interesting reversal is the more formal environment of the side and backyard while the informal garden faces the street.  This great looking outdoor fireplace with seating would be a special place to spend an evening.

 This niche in the wall nearby held a sculpture made of old radiator parts.

In the corner by the gate, another simple planting with a container arrangement mixed in.

This is for my friend Ragna who recently shared a cutting of variegated purple heart.  This plant was used throughout the gardens.  I enjoyed seeing so many plants that we enjoy in our own gardens.

Around the back of the house steps lead down into a narrow courtyard where a fountain is set between the main house and the guest house/studio.  The water from the negative-edge fountain disappears into the gravel.  Bamboo muhly softens the rectangular geometry.

Precisely placed steel steps down from the back door.  These are finished with small pea gravel to match the courtyard.

Containers on the steps

Across the way is the entrance to the guest house and studio with a cute little shoe scraper--necessary when gravel is used as a walkway.

Succulents in planters means easy maintenance and maximum visual effect.

On the way out to the front I paused to admire this stone trough fountain with a space for planting

And details like this tiny succulent planter.

Time for a few last looks at the front before heading to our next garden.  Native asters and other wildflowers soften the yucca, sotol and agave.

Getting up close and personal with the big agave

This is a garden with similar challenges to my own landscape and offers several ideas I could take away for my own inspiration file.

We'll soon see more of the work of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects in San Antonio since they have been chosen to rework the front entry and parking lot areas at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens.

The Garden Conservancy Open Days supports the preservation of special gardens like Peckerwood Garden near Houston.


  1. Nice tour and nice work with the camera, Shirley.
    I love stone !I Should probably be glad I have to haul it in , but an abundance of it lying around makes for great opportunities.

    1. Thank you Randy. The stones we use in our beds have mostly been dug up by us first. That makes for quite a bit of work but I think it will be worth it when it's finished.

  2. I love seeing this series of garden tours through different lenses as each of you captures different things or at least different angles. Another enjoyable tour through this garden that combines well thought out elements, calming rooms and just a touch of whimsey.

    1. That's exactly what I am enjoying as well. Noting how we each take our own approach and feature different views of the same garden also helps me in the future as I am still somewhat new at this.

  3. Such an elegant garden! I especially love the long fountain with the water spilling over the edge.

    1. It was a special garden to visit and the fountain was especially well done.

  4. I really love this garden and appreciate all the great photos you provide so we can enjoy it with you. I believe I've looked at every tiny detail of them all. The stone trough with the planting space is wonderful.

    Somehow the last photo is particularly appealing to me in the way the tiny flowers are growing contently beneath the gigantic agave. That's a nice little touch for us to try for in our own gardens.


    1. The combination of flowers with the prickly plants is something I've been working on here too and will be trying more of since seeing these gardens.

  5. Thanks for the link to my posts, Shirley. This is an inspirational garden to me, both for the naturalistic part out front and the more formal (or at least restrained) portion behind the wall. I love them both!

    1. Absolutely Pam! You had all the best scoop on your blog, no reason for me to repeat it here.

  6. hello, im wondering what the plant in the tiny succulent planter is? it looks like this unknown plant i have growing naturally... but i can only find it in one spot, cant find out what it is after asking experts, but it looks like that one in the photo.... but i live in Maryland, not common place for succulents?

    if you have any answers please email me at

    1. The plant is a type of Kalanchoe, probably K. thrysiflora. They are sometimes called "paddle plants" and you would most likely find them in the houseplant section of specialty garden centers. It would be quite unusual though for you to have this in your yard in Maryland as they do not like cold weather and I need to bring them indoors over the winter in my much milder climate.

  7. I can't believe I'm only seeing this now! Somebody linked to it on Pinterest. You go so many shots of this garden that I haven't seen anywhere else, and I love it. I am still so bummed that I've never managed to see her garden in person. I really love how tranquil everything feels, and everything is so well-balanced. You can tell she's a gardener, but one of those rare sorts who loves plants, yet manages to exercise restraint, which is a constant struggle for me!

    1. It was so inspirational to visit the garden of someone who loves both plants and design. Many of the ideas I found here have been incorporated into my gardens. I was also impressed that she obviously loves plants but can edit her collection so well.

  8. P.S. Did that variegated purple heart take off for you? I've never seen it anywhere, and I'd love to try it.

    1. It really didn't grow that great and didn't return after the winter so it's not as hardy as the purple. I know where it was purchased but I haven't looked for it recently.


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