My next stop on the Houston Open Days tour on March 24 was the clean-lined Lofgren-Bayer Garden, also located in the close-in Montrose neighborhood. Pictured above is a lovely dining patio in the rear garden. The official description of the garden:
A stately live oak dominates this Arts and Crafts bungalow and garden located in the urban neighborhood of Montrose. Composed of a series of intimate and beautifully curated spaces, the attention to detail found in this garden expresses the sensibilities and expertise of the owners, both long-time gardeners and proficient craftsmen. Landscape architect Mark McKinnon was called in to help with the spatial organization and expansion of the plant palette.
By the way, the landscape architect they used, Mark McKinnon, is the owner of the first garden I visited, the Cortlandt Garden (with the “watchtower”).
You enter the front garden from the side, stepping up past stacked-stone retaining walls.
Charming rosettes of echeveria and other succulents are tucked into the gravel, in front of a low boxwood hedge along the top of the walls.
Foxtail fern in a contemporary concrete saucer planter welcomes you.
Terracotta sculpture beckons you toward the front porch steps.
Xeric plants in attractive terracotta pots are tucked here and there on the porch.
And the subdued, natural color palette of the porch seating and accessories makes this a calm, masculine space.
A large, spreading live oak that shelters the front yard grows just outside a vine-covered trellis-fence that offers privacy but not total screening of the street.
The long, narrow front yard is given over to a lawnette of grass.
Things get more interesting in the narrow side-passage to the rear garden. While this is still a low-maintenance palette of plants, they are grown in creative ways. A low boxwood hedge dodges in to add interest and break up the bowling-alley effect. Burgundy-leaved loropetalum is espaliered up the house wall on the right and a metal trellis-fence on the left for vertical blocks of color. Boxwood balls and loose, open shrubs offer contrasting shapes. The result is a low-maintenance but interesting side garden.
A galvanized stool and watering can and barbed-wire orb add tactile ornament to the end of the path.
A spherical clipped boxwood, elevated on stacked stone, is made into a focal point.
Rounding the back of the house you enter a dining patio arched over with a steel arbor and simply edged with boxwood.
On the table a line of potted ghost plants makes an attractive runner.
And directly off the back doors (I’d be afraid of falling in!) is a 6-foot-deep pond, home to a handful of enormous koi. One of the owners is an enthusiast who attends koi conventions. The other owner told us, when he found out we’re from Austin, that his garden was inspired by the Tex-Zen garden of Austin’s Hotel San Jose. “Not with the same plants, of course,” he added. I could see it.
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