The second garden I visited on the Wildflower Center-sponsored Gardens on Tour last Saturday was, like the first, located in south Austin’s Barton Hills neighborhood. The contemporary home on Westridge Drive, which is embraced by a wood of native trees and understory plants (many invasive exotics have been eradicated since the house was constructed in 2011), says hello with a jazzy cactus and succulent planter along the front walk. Here’s touring companion Cat of The Whimsical Gardener taking a few pictures.
Towering bloom spikes of manfreda and yucca lifted spiky and bell-shaped flowers up to eye level, giving the low bed extra height and dimension for a short season. Silver ponyfoot filled in around the plants and spilled over the edges of the steel planter like a frothy, sea-glass-green wave.
Faded purple flowers on the small cacti showed us that we’d just missed a beautiful show.
Still, we were glad of the yucca and manfreda blooms.
This textural composition contrasted with…
…a quiet expanse of buffalograss on the other side of the front steps. This carpet of native lawn grass is set off in tiered steel planter beds, which frame it nicely.
Winecups and gaillardia are allowed to invade the lower tier, adding a little spring color.
Buffalograss makes an irresistibly touchable, blue-green carpet. I’m not sure how much use this lawn would get, as it’s set below the level of the main entry to the home and the pool deck; it was not even clear how you could step down onto it. So maybe it’s meant to be a lawn for looking at only — a visual negative space to complement the minimalist design of the adjoining pool deck.
Off to the side, a few feet below the level of the steel-edged lawn, a gravel patio contains a casual seating area of motel chairs surrounding a firepit. I like the intersecting straight lines that define the various spaces.
The front steps lead up to a pool deck between the main house and a two-story garage/garage apartment. The wooden decking, still puddled from the previous night’s rain, was open save for a minimalist seating arrangement. There was a complete absence of potted plants or any other decor. Instead, what commands your attention is the unique awning that stretches across the space, offering shade from the Death Star and creating a fascinating pattern of shadows on the walls.
At first glance I thought it was made of chains. It’s actually rebar — enormously long pieces of rebar sagging over the space, attached on one end to the garage roof, on the other to the house.
Such a graphic display! I did wonder, though, how they keep the rebar from rusting onto the pool deck below.
Three concrete slabs seem to float across one end of the pool and invite you to cross.
A naturalistic garden on the other side rambles up a hill and offers views of the home and the full drama of the rebar awning.
Heading back to the car, I admired these purple coneflowers growing in a pocket garden alongside the home’s walled and gated entry.
A quarter-mile nature trail that I opted not to explore descends from the house to a vegetable garden and naturalistic water feature at the bottom of the hill. Touring companion Shirley of Rock-Oak-Deer wasn’t as lazy, so check out her post for pictures of the lower garden that I missed.
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