Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Open Days Garden Tour Austin: Yvonne Tocquigny and Tom Fornoff Garden

This past weekend I joined a group of garden bloggers in Austin for the Garden Conservancy's Open Days garden tour.  Our group included Pam of Digging, Jean of Dig, Grow, Compost, Diana of Sharing Nature's Garden, and Catherine of The Whimsical Gardener.  We had a great time touring six beautiful gardens around Austin.

The second garden on our list was the Yvonne Tocquigny and Tom Fornoff garden.  What a contrast to the first garden!  This garden was designed for relaxation with extensive use of horizontal lines, pleasingly limited color palette, and repetition of plant selections throughout.

The contemporary ivy covered wall set with old world lanterns reminded me of gardens in Houston (above).  But dry-stack limestone borders below bring it right back to Austin.

The linear contemporary design of the house was softened with a circle gravel drive bordered with the stones, ground cover, and sedge.  Dichondra Silver Ponyfoot as ground cover was a common plant seen on this tour.  These appear to be Agave victoria-reginae set into the the dichondra, an idea I plan to use in my own garden.

Another calming principle is balance as expressed in this symmetry using matching planters and lanterns near the front gate.

Inside this front gate set into the wall was a small courtyard and fountain with a stone bench for seating.

Around the side to the back yard are two courtyard gardens and seating areas.  The walkway is lined by a raised planter of limestone with a row of crape myrtles pruned up to show off their smooth trunks.

This apricot climbing rose on the trellis spans the back of the home.

Coming upon the apricot climbing rose was a nice surprise in a garden of foliage plants.

A line of paving stones repeats the form of the trellis and the shape of the courtyard, plants are casual on one side and trimmed boxwood on the other.  This path leads to the rear courtyard.

Through another trellis into the rear courtyard and guest house

Japanese maples are happy here.  It's tough to find the right spot for them just 75 miles south in our hot San Antonio climate.

Water in the garden has a calming effect and this garden has a circle fountain centered in the rear courtyard.  A trellis similar to the first courtyard backs this section of the house.

Yvonne Tocquigny, shown here in the hat greeting visitors, is CEO of the digital marketing firm Tocquigny in Austin.  She said her job is quite demanding so she enjoys the relaxing elements of her garden.

The curves of the fountain add a visual respite from rectangular geometry of the space.  Four containers with clipped boxwood are arranged around the fountain.  A swimming pool was removed to create this garden courtyard.

A small deck is cantilevered over the creek and the horizontal slats create privacy while allowing just a peek to the creek below.

The guest house has a contemporary arbor over the doors

Japanese style is a good way to add calm to a garden and these Shoji-style doors with gravel right up to the narrow step capture that theme. 

All these design principles and elements worked together to create a relaxing and harmonious space for the owners.

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


  1. I love several of the design feature in this garden such as the trellises. Are they iron? Also enjoyed the peace inducing simplicity in the placing of evergreen plantings. I found lots of inspiration. I may not be able to implement the hard features that impresses me, but I can go out right now and trim up the crape myrtles!

    Again thank you for the great photo coverage of these gardens.


    1. The trellises were all wood as I remember. I also zoomed in a couple of photos to confirm.

      You're welcome, it's important to look at just why a space works.

  2. Thanks for your emphasis on the front entry - you captured it perfectly, esp the pots on their concrete bases with the viney walls. This may have been my favorite garden on the tour, overall, because of the design elements you noted.

    1. It was an excellent study in designing for the client and an opportunity to go back to basics to explain why the space works.

  3. A beautifully designed and executed garden. Very calming.

  4. Gorgeous! By far my favorite garden featured on the tour so far. Love everything about it - the clean lines, symmetry, the fountain, and of course... those Japanese Maples. Great job capturing the beauty of this garden.

  5. Nice pics of a gorgeous garden, Shirley. To answer your first commenter, the posts of the trellises were metal, and the horizontal slats were wood. I took a close look because I was curious too.


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