Garden of Sprout-owner Jackson Broussard: Austin Open Days Tour 2017

For landscape architect Jackson Broussard of Sprout, you really can go home again. He was raised in this modest ranch house in east-central Austin, and after he took ownership he freshened up the house and leased it out and built himself a detached, two-story addition in the back yard. The front garden is enjoyed by his tenants, with a formal but quirky front walk and a semi-screened patio up by the house.

Jackson has an eye for cast-off materials that make interesting architectural accents or can be used in mosaic stonework in the garden. He uses old bricks and pieces of stone and metal to cloak board-formed concrete towers or pedestals, like the square blocks lining the front walk. An arbor of 4 Bradford pears is being trained on metal rebar into an arched tunnel over the path, à la Deborah Hornickel’s garden.

Mosaic stonework (with metal plates and bricks) on one of the pedestal blocks along the path. Notice the two metal toy cars embedded in this one.

Here’s the view from the gravel driveway, with the airy lavender blooms of Russian sage in the foreground. A curved boxwood hedge is one of those quirky details that disrupts the linearity of the front walk.

Within the curved hedge, a perfect mirror of water cradled by a chunk of basalt reflects the sky. It’s unusual to see basalt here in Texas, although it’s common in gardens in the Pacific Northwest. I believe Jackson told me he acquired this and other pieces in California via China.

From the driveway looking toward the front porch and patio, with exquisite details like the lavender-filled terracotta pot sitting atop a circular limestone pedestal on a steel table. Dusty mauve ghost plant faintly echoes the lavender’s purple, and a terracotta tile with star design echoes the lavender’s pot. The pastel paint on the patio’s wood-slat chairs picks up the soft colors.

Such a sweet little spot to hang out, with extra seating provided by a low concrete wall.

A steel porch post is etched with the house number. A collection of potted plants disguises the gas meter.

A woven steel gate around the side of the house offers access.

For added privacy, and presumably to reduce the view of neighboring cars, a cattle panel trellis supports an evergreen vine — star jasmine, I think — along the property line.

A gigantic block of wood makes a rustic yet modern bench.

Access to Jackson’s house in the backyard is through an open-sided carport, which he’s turned into a hangout space with a buffet table, a large mirror to reflect light, and a long seating table (not visible). Interesting scrap metal and architectural remnants adorn the buffet.

Mosaic wall detail along the driveway

As you enter the back garden, you see two board-formed concrete columns that Jackson is gradually finishing with a mosaic of stone and brick. A low wall in front displays succulents in terracotta pots.

There’s a narrow path through here to Jackson’s back door. Or maybe it’s the front door.

A low boxwood hedge leads the eye along the path…

…to a pretty cluster of potted plants. Notice how he elevates some of them on plinths, plus there’s a second, smaller basalt water vessel.

Architectural and frog details and a single bulb in a square pot

Looking back, there are more potted succulents on this side of the wall.

Potted agave with stones and turtle

Speaking of turtles, check out this spigot handle!

At right of the low wall…

…a sliding steel-and-rebar gate offers entry to the back garden, with an olive tree standing sentry.

A tall curving hedge separates the main house (and its windows) from Jackson’s personal space out back. A tiny pot of succulents is the finial on a pedestal, and an iron rooster struts atop a round steel plinth in front of the hedge.

The rear garden is laid out along a diagonal, which makes the small space feel larger as it draws your eye along the longest possible axis. A deck runs along the house to a gravel patio with a fire pit, and a newly sodded lawn offers access to a swinging bench under a shade tree.

A steel arbor marks the doorway into the back patio, where a custom BBQ grill stands ready for cookouts.

An old bell on top of the arbor can be rung by pulling on a chain. Dinnertime!

A coyote fence of cut cedar posts (native juniper, actually, but we call it cedar around here) gives privacy from neighboring yards and adds a natural rusticity.

In a swath of mondo grass, a cylinder of steel mesh makes an architectural accent alongside a Japanese maple and strappy-leaved potted plant (crinum? amaryllis?).

The elevated deck is angled not only along the long edge but at the end too, where it accesses the fire-pit patio. A skinny picnic table echoes these diagonal lines with a triangle of faded red paint on top. A board-formed concrete pond sits half on and half off the deck, cattycorner to the house.

Water pours into the pond from an old fire-hose nozzle. A small block in front gives a boost to Jackson’s young niece when she wants to visit the goldfish. Planted directly in the gravel patio is a young sycamore tree (Mexican sycamore?). A teddy-bear-like potted pine sits next to it. If you’re wondering about all of Jackson’s wonderful terracotta pots, he imports them from Italy and sells them once or twice a year in a flash sale.

Motel chairs painted a dusty seafoam green surround a fire pit made from a steel pipe remnant. A concrete BBQ grill holds firewood in its base.

Another beautiful steel gate offers access to a small field or park space behind Jackson’s house.

An old container with a handle holds water for a tiny bog pond.

A closer look at the pond, which was a magnet for everyone who visited. It makes a nice spot to sit too.

Industrial-style steel pipe fountain with fire-hose nozzle

A two-story airy screened porch contains a hammock for lounging sans mosquitoes and a small table and chairs.

No space goes unused in Jackson’s garden, including the narrow strip behind the screened porch. A persimmon laden with orange fruit leads the eye to a steel post with a birdhouse on top. Along the porch foundation, a huge chain adds another industrial touch.


Perfectly timed for the tour

Birdhouse post (notice the two little birds at the base), with a giant hesperaloe tucked in the corner

And around the corner, even the working space and firewood storage is beautiful. A clean-lined outdoor shower in the foreground has wood-slat siding spaced for privacy at the bottom, with wider spacing above (you can tell it’s built for a man — ha!). A steel window looks out at the garden.

I’m sure the scrolled ironwork of the gate that leads to the shower has a history.

Ferns sprout from the mosaic paving inside the shower.

A quick peek at Jackson’s potting bench and work area

And a last look at that teddy-bear pine (this is my name for it, mind you; I didn’t get the ID) and fire-pit patio. One more thought about the gravel patio, deck, and mondo grass groundcover: they allow Jackson to shrink the lawn to just the size he needs it to be, which saves water and effort. (I talk more about this concept in my book Lawn Gone!)

A couple of my touring companions, Cat and Diana, looking pretty blissed out at our first stop of the Open Days tour, sponsored by The Garden Conservancy.

Terracotta flowers holding down Jackson’s business cards and brochures — so many thoughtful details in this garden!

And here’s Jackson himself, looking cool as a cucumber and not at all like he sweated his butt off getting his garden perfect for the tour. Surely it doesn’t look this perfect all the time…does it?? No, it probably does. :)

Thanks for sharing it with us, Jackson!

Up next: The Cloverleaf Drive Garden with a green-roof shed designed by Casey Boyter.

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22 Responses

  1. As always, it’s the details there that win over. Reused items to make seat walls and pilasters, ooooh! Quite the contemporary-warm mood there, green plantings with spareness to sit among. Inspiring…

  2. Margo says:

    I love the pictures you took of this place. It was my favorite garden on tour and I took away several ideas. I especially loved the mosaic walls, the pond, the shower, the gates..and so much more. Thank you for sharing your pictures. There was so much to see that I missed some of the details.

  3. Jenny says:

    I’m sorry I missed going to that garden but thanks for a great tour. So much to see and some wonderfully creative ideas.

  4. ks says:

    Although the plant palette might be far too restrained for my taste (and more restraint on my end might be called for) the hardscape in this garden is fantastic-I love it all. Those columns , the gates,the birdhouse post,the pond -just everything. What I especially loved is that it is unique and didn’t look like Joe Schmo Landscaping just came in a built a hardscape echoing every other installation they’ve ever done. Bravo to Jackson !

  5. Gail says:

    I don’t know where to start..I love this garden. I do agree with ks above that I would need more plants, but the the steel, stone, wire and gravel all speak to me. Your photo tour is superb, but, oh, to have been there.

  6. Love seeing a garden through your camera lens. You always pick out the right details. A really nice garden.

  7. Kris P says:

    There were SO MANY interesting touches in this garden. I especially liked the combination buffet-firewood cubby.

  8. Yes that’s an absolutely fabulous space, the details would have kept me there for hours.

  9. hb says:

    So nicely done: simple in the larger sense yet elaborate in detail all at once.

  10. We’re thinking of having a friend make us a corten steel gate so thanks for the inspiration.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I’m envious! I keep thinking of it too, and taking pictures of ones I like, but I haven’t been able to commit to the cost. They do create a “moment” when you walk in though. —Pam

  11. lcp says:

    SO loving this garden! Simple on the surface and wondrously complicated once you look around, just like one of his mosaic blocks…He has packed so much utility – dining, lounging, work space, storage, water features, fire features, a SHOWER! – into a standard (I think?) lot without making the garden feel cramped or overdone…everything fits together like a clever puzzle, with no wasted space or fussy bits, just subtle layer upon subtle layer of unique touches to discover as you wander…what fun you guys must have had turning every new corner! [also loved his color palette, for some reason ;)…those motel chairs are perfection in that space.] THANKS for this tour!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, LCP. It may be a standard lot, but then he built himself a studio house in the back yard, so it’s actually a pretty small space. But he has indeed made the most of it. And I agree about the color of those motel chairs. They pick up the dusty green hue of the pittosporum hedge perfectly, and yes, have an echo of a wonderful San Antonio garden I know. —Pam

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