Gardens on Tour 2014: Tait Moring’s garden on Bee Caves Road

Here’s a garden I’ve shown you twice before, but I never get tired of touring it. Beautifully designed, inviting, with whimsical and personal vignettes, landscape architect Tait Moring‘s personal garden on Bee Caves Road has been previously featured on the Wildflower Center-sponsored Gardens on Tour. (So were all the gardens on tour this year, its 10th anniversary.) Tait kindly invited me and blogger friends to come early, before the crowds arrived. I was keen to see how it had changed since my previous visits in May 2011 and October 2012.

Is this gravel ‘gator new? I don’t know, but I enjoyed the surprise of seeing it “swimming” through the gravel path below the back deck. A goth-looking aeonium and feathery larkspur in pots add color to the vignette.

Tait used leftover stone, pavers, and bricks to build this patchwork path from the deck to the outdoor shower. The cedar screen around the shower has been taken down temporarily; I forget why. I like Tait’s clean-lined bench, which holds a few potted cactus.

Just past the shower, this fanciful iron gate leads to the driveway. Turning the other way, it leads to…

…a raised-bed vegetable garden built on the edge of the canyon that Tait’s home overlooks. Check out the gorgeous stonework on the central square.

Annuals like larkspur take up some of the space in the raised beds. The blue pot echoes the deep blue of the larkspur.


Out by the driveway I noticed this artistic stack of old roofing tiles, which Tait transformed into a cylindrical container and filled with glossy tumbled stones.

Tait uses potted succulents on porches and decks to great effect, including this little echeveria in a matching, blue-green pot atop a tile with a swirling design.

It sits on the steps of a clean-lined concrete porch at the front door. Petite boxwood hedges embrace the porch, softening its lines, and a limestone-capped, contemporary-style fountain and raised pond act as the focal point for the entry garden.

Fig ivy cloaks the fountain’s wall structure. Boxwood clipped into a “peaked-roof” hedge adds more structure.

Atop the outer fountain wall, this white pot, which held an aloe on a previous visit, now contains a ‘Sticks on Fire’ euphorbia. An arrangement of white seashells adds a collector’s touch.

I love this line of tall, bronze pots along a low retaining wall by the driveway. A few years ago they all contained giant hesperaloe. This time, three of the pots contain yellow Hesperaloe parviflora — the yellow version of the more commonly grown red yucca.

The pale yellow wands look fantastic against the gray-green of the painted brick. Waves of Mexican feathergrass echo the pale yellow blooms.

Directly across the driveway, large boulders and a limestone retaining wall help level a large, decomposed-granite parking area. The white pot in the background…

…leads you to a small circular lawn whose entrance is marked by a patchwork path and old wooden doors.

A glimpse of a sculpted figure set in a bamboo grove leads the eye.

From the lawn, a stepping-stone path curves through the bamboo screen, leading to busy Bee Caves Road just beyond the cedar fence that filters the light so beautifully.

The parking area, which supports Tait’s design business. Large pots on stone plinths accent the space.

Potted agave

The stock tank visible two photos above is seen here as the focal point through the gate leading to the back garden. A curved cedar branch arches over the gate. The limestone wall to the left is a work of art…

…made up of personal mementos from Tait’s childhood and more recent collections. More white pots in front hold drought-tolerant succulents.

A neatly edged, rectangular lawn opens up behind the house, leading to a swimming pool backed by a stone wall. A pair of ancient-looking stone columns on each side of the lawn are topped with potted agaves.

The wooded garden alongside the lawn is green with shade-loving plants and a couple of water features, like this slender birdbath.

The pool garden has tropical ambiance with lush foliage and bromeliads tucked into the limestone wall. The gleeful photobomber is my friend Cat.

Tait’s garden includes acres of woodland along the canyon’s rim and down into the valley below. Along mulched paths carved through the woods, he’s tucked small seating areas like this.

Flowering prickly pear cascades over a rock ledge.

A large gate that matches the fanciful iron gate in the vegetable garden stretches across the end of the driveway, separating his garden from his work storage area.

Gate detail

I had so much fun touring with blogging buddies. The Austin contingent: Diana (Sharing Nature’s Garden), Cat (The Whimsical Gardener), and Lori (The Gardener of Good and Evil).

And a San Antonio contingent! Shirley (Rock-Oak-Deer), her designer friend Linda (future blogger?), and Heather (Xericstyle). I’m so glad to see these fun San Antonio bloggers coming to Austin for garden tours.

Up next: I’ll be posting about one more garden on this year’s tour, the Stratford Lane garden. Stay tuned!

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

26 Responses

  1. Diana says:

    It’s such an amazing garden and it was so fun sharing it with you and our other blogging friends. Always interesting to see which photos you choose for your post – about 1/3of them were ones I didn’t use and a few of them were scenes I didn’t take. But the dramatic things always strike us all, don’t they? Even if the angles or compositions are unique. I think I’d have a hard time deciding where to sit and contemplate the garden with my cup of tea in the morning. Guess there would have to be a schedule to make the rounds!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Your post influenced mine, Diana. I didn’t want to repeat yours, so I chose to lead with a different part of the garden, and I tried to choose different images (although our posts do share some of the same scenes). I look forward to seeing what the other bloggers focused on. Everyone has their own unique perspective. —Pam

  2. Shirley says:

    We had so much fun touring the gardens with you and the Austin bloggers. I was glad to be prepared for our visit to Tait’s wonderful garden by reviewing your previous posts. I enjoyed seeing your post since I’ve managed to narrow mine down to about 75 photos! Thanks for getting us in early too.

  3. Jean says:

    Gosh, I just love those limestone walls…

  4. Peter/Outlaw says:

    So much to love about this beautiful and unique garden! Each plant, pot, combination of elements has been chosen and placed with the eye of a skilled designer! Thanks for taking us along!

  5. Alison says:

    What a fabulous garden! I love all that great stonework. The simple lines of that stone bench in your third picture really appeals to me.

  6. I love everything about this garden! Great shots and photo story! I like the geometry and rectangles in this garden and how they contrast with the plants. The subtle shades in plants and pots lovely. The wall are fabulous totally functional pieces of art! Wish I would have driven to Austin for this one. Thank you for the tour : )

  7. Ann says:

    The design use of stone and wood in the hardscaping is ever so smart. I’ll be mining these photos for ideas for a long time to come. Thanks for the great pix, especially because I won’t be able to attend the tour.

  8. TexasDeb says:

    I’m inspired to rethink what I had planned for a couple of new pots after seeing the wonderful lines and design elements featured in this Austin treasure. Thanks very much for sharing (and for linking to past posts – such fun to visit and revisit!

    Another shout out for sharing great shots of the smiling faces to go with familiar names. It looks like a fun group!

  9. Kate S. says:

    This was my favorite of the day and I was glad I had saved it for last. I was especially excited to see it after seeing your previous posts on it. I look forward to reading everyone’s take on the different details and what they ‘see’ that I didn’t catch. There are so many to choose from in this garden.

  10. Melody McMahon says:

    Pam, so enjoyed this post since I couldn’t be there in person. My daughter’s graduation came before garden tours but not much else does! Thanks for your wonderful blog. I have told so many people about it and it’s always received enthusiastically! Looking forward to seeing more posts about Saturdays tour!

  11. This is one of the most inspiring gardens I’ve seen in a long time. The hardscape is fantastic as are the old doors and the round container made from old roof tiles. I will try to replicate that!!!

    Thank you for showing us all these beautiful garden spaces!

  12. Cat says:

    Absolutely my favorite garden to tour! Everything he does is just simply elegant and so thoughtful without looking too planned. That is an art!

  13. Linda Higby says:

    Pam. What a great time I had touring the gardens with new friends!

    Thank you for sharing your many talents with us. Looking forward to our next adventure in the garden.

    Till then, Linda!