Unlike the other four gardens on last Saturday’s Dallas Open Days tour, I believed that the Row-Ramirez garden—a restoration of the grounds of a historic Kessler Park mansion—would be professionally designed and staff-maintained. I later learned that the homeowners, Ken Row and Sergio Ramirez, have done much of the work themselves, figuring things out as they go along. All I can say is, wow.
According to a handout, the extensive clipped dwarf yaupons were added by the current owners, who’ve been restoring the grounds of the 1920s home for 11 years. In fact, much of what you see today didn’t exist when they bought the property in 2000.
These colorful parasols shade hydrangeas that were suddenly exposed after two large bur oaks died. What a creative and fun response!
A long flight of steps lined with terracotta pots of liriope leads to the front door.
Agaves add excitement in a round planter on the landing and in concrete urns at the door. There’s nowhere to go from here except inside, though, so we walked back down…
…and took a side path lined with clipped yaupon up through the garden.
A pretty pool terrace at the back of the house is accented with blue trim on the house. The pool is not original to the property but was added by previous owners in the 1990s.
A blue obelisk picks up the trim color and the blue of the pool.
Even a few of the clay roof tiles are blue. A collection of succulents in terracotta pots picks up the red of the other tiles.
Garden table decor. But why set out silk hydrangeas when so many real ones are blooming in the garden?
Another look back at the pool and the playful use of color in the decor.
A garage along the climbing driveway has been outfitted as a charming, pocket-sized patio garden.
Lacy, green chairs and colorful pillows add even more punch.
The Mediterranean-style home has a bit of a split personality when it comes to garden decor. There are several pieces of Romanesque statuary like this bust.
But there’s an equal number of Asian pieces like this Chinese lion. They are well placed, but I don’t think the two styles work well together.
The back of the property sits significantly higher than the street level; this home was the only hilly property on the tour, in fact. Some of the stonework here is original, but none of it was built with footings, so the owners are in the process of rebuilding the walls and stairs. This short flight leads to…
…a lovely terrace with a round lily pond. I really liked this private, tucked-away space.
Lanterns hang from the trees, promising candlelit evenings.
Along the back of the property, at the top of the hill, a classical space with a long gravel terrace, stuccoed wall with tilework, and large terracotta pots reminds me of the Mediterranean. I thought this was original to the house.
But after re-reading the handout, I think this was all constructed recently to screen new construction behind the property and to solve drainage issues. They did a very nice job of giving it a historical look that matches the style of the house.
But then we find more Asian statuary. I like this piece though. He looks like the Cheshire cat.
Here’s more—an Asian dragon
This skinny dining terrace adjacent to a separate “party pavilion” overlooks the swimming pool. A clipped hedge keeps it grounded. Quite pretty—all it needs is a grape arbor overhead.
Behind a bungalow on the property, a terraced garden flows down the hillside like a waterfall. The garden was original and was recently rebuilt. Neptune is a new addition.
A grove of mature trees on the north side of the house gives cool shade for a hydrangea garden. The big, white blossoms glow like beacons along the gravel path. And that shade felt good, for the sun came out after lunch, and it began to get swelteringly hot.
Tune in tomorrow for a look at our last stop, the relaxing Herndon garden in the North Preston Hollow neighborhood. For a look back at the inviting Munsterman garden in the Kessler Park/Oak Cliff neighborhood, click here.
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