The Austin garden bloggers recently got a sneak preview of the upcoming Inside Austin Gardens Tour, hosted by the Travis County Master Gardeners. We visited 5 gardens, and I hope to be able to show them all to you before the tour date on October 20th. I’ll start with the Donnis Doyle Garden, which I predict will be a crowd favorite thanks to the owner’s colorful, whimsical decorating style and the garden’s lawn-free, low-maintenance appeal.
Pictured above is the back patio, a raised oval of concrete backed by a corrugated steel screen, which shields the patio from view of a neighboring park. It’s a charming spot, with colorful chairs, twinkle lights dangling from the screen, and wooden, yellow stars hanging from the eave of the yellow-painted ranch house. Donnis uses repetition to advantage throughout her garden, including a rhythmic placement of stock-tank vegetable planters along the back fence, separated by red, wooden stars tacked to the fence posts.
You first glimpse the back patio from the front side yard, through an arch fancifully adorned with blue bottles, red coffee mugs, and yellow duckies.
A closer look
Your eye is drawn down the path to the raised patio and silver galvanized screen. Notice that there are no privacy fences separating the front garden from the back, allowing for an open view through tree trunks.
The owner has had fun with color here, painting her metal dining set purple and hanging yellow stars along the eave.
Red Adirondacks add more color, as does a metal tree decorated with colored-glass ornaments.
Want to see how that screen is constructed? Wooden posts and crosspieces secure the metal panels, nicely finished and painted red to match the chairs on the other side.
A potted aloe makes an easy-care patio plant for the warm season.
More purple chairs
Another look at the purple dining set, which looks great contrasted with the flowering yellow bells at left.
Hanging nesting material for the birds adds even more color to the garden.
A dry stream funnels water away from the house, and an industrial-style metal bridge keeps the owner’s feet dry when it rains.
It leads to another bottle tree, this one even more outlandishly decorated than the arch. Blue bottles compete with CDs, funnels, Mardi Gras beads, and whirligigs for pride of place on the tree.
Hearts join the stars along the back of the house.
The stars aren’t all the same shape either. Someone spent some time on this!
More fun garden art
The carport is brightly painted too, with turquoise rafters, yellow walls, and colorful metal lanterns hanging from the beams.
All this color feels fun and casual, and very inviting.
From the street, here’s the view of the front garden, which, like the back, is lawn free. A mosaic of cut concrete slabs leads to the front door, with low-maintenance, mostly evergreen shrubs and trees surrounding a generous patio of decomposed granite.
Looking left, prostrate rosemary makes an evergreen, fragrant, and edible groundcover.
And looking right, you see more evergreens and more open patio space instead of lawn. If it were my garden, I’d have patio seating out front as well.
A low, sprawling bottle tree strung with festive lights makes a colorful garden accent.
Date: October 20
Time: 9 am to 4 pm
Tickets for the tour (all of the gardens) are $15 in advance, or $20 on the day of the tour ($5 for individual gardens).
Gardening Demonstrations/Education Sessions at the Donnis Doyle Garden
9:30 am – A Fest for Wildlife with Valerie Bugh
10:15 am – Austin Grows! with Jake Stewart
11:30 am – Unconventional Landscape Snacks – Collecting and Cooking Insects with Wizzie Brown
1:30 pm – Planning an Edible Landscape with Sheryl Williams
All Day – The Wall Trip DVD by Ann and Robin Matthews
Tomorrow join me for a tour of the no-lawn Matthews Garden.
All material © 2006-2012 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.