June 10, 2021
At any time when I see a no-lawn, front-yard backyard in suburbia, I do know a daring and enthusiastic gardener lives there. Such is the case with Cedar Park house owner Frances Fortanely, whose backyard I had the pleasure of seeing final week. Pulling as much as the curb, I used to be greeted by a lushly planted, inviting backyard of flowering salvias, native wildflowers, grasses, and silvery groundcovers.
Having gotten rid of the entrance garden, Frances chooses principally low-profile crops close to the entry, together with sedges, silver ponyfoot, and Mexican feathergrass, which she permits to reseed as a low-water groundcover.
A up to date stone stroll from the general public sidewalk to the entrance door meets up with and expands the tiny, curved, builder-grade stroll that got here with the home. How far more inviting it’s, in contrast with what the builder offered, proper? A limbed-up Mexican sycamore stands tall amid the ground-hugging crops, providing shiny shade and an opportunity to admire its easy white trunk.
Silvery inexperienced lamb’s ears mix with yucca, yarrow, and heartleaf skullcap in a reasonably matrix.
Alongside the entrance stroll, a pot-style disappearing fountain spills water over its rim (the water percolates by means of the gravel paving and right into a hidden reservoir, from which it’s pumped again into the pot), making nice music. On the opposite facet, a stepping-stone path results in a small patio with two white chairs.
Tucked into the feathergrass, a cute blue pig greets you…
…as do a number of different winged porkers, together with one whose disguise consists of glued-on Topo Chico bottle caps — a artistic addition Frances did herself.
A sage-green pot on the entrance door attracts your eye with a mixture of cactus, succulents, and blue fescue.
The entrance stroll grows much less formal because it leads diagonally to the again gate, with extra cactus and succulent planters alongside the way in which. Designer Robert Leeper (who holds a level in panorama structure from LSU) helped Frances with the unique panorama plan and hardscaping, and the sturdy format acts as a counterbalance to wilder-looking crops that reseed across the backyard.
A white-edged agave shelters a weathered gnome in a single pot.
Alongside the fence by the gate, an extended inventory tank showcases gomphrena, purple coronary heart, salvia, and extra. A yucca in a black urn provides a spiky accent.
Earlier than we discover the again, let’s take the stepping-stone path that results in the front-yard patio. Heartleaf skullcap blooms within the foreground. Farther alongside, the crops develop greater, together with fine-textured decorative grasses and shaggy Texas mountain laurels. There have been massive agaves right here earlier than the February freeze, and a few are recovering.
Native wildflowers have free reign on the sunny finish of the entrance backyard, visually mixing with the sector simply past Frances’s property line.
Mexican hats bloom with abandon after all of the latest rain.
I really like this little patio Frances carved out close to the wildflowers.
Stepping by means of the gate into the again backyard, you see an expansive gravel patio shaded by a heritage stay oak. A number of seating areas supply lounging area within the shade. Past the tree, a swimming pool with a blue-tiled waterfall wall provides extra water music.
The tree is protected and set off with a big, round seat wall made from limestone blocks. Throughout the circle, native sedges and inland sea oats make a inexperienced, naturalistic groundcover. As Frances factors out, each are heavy re-seeders, and he or she’s typically pulling volunteer crops out of her gravel.
Fairly pots of succulents adorn the wall.
Alongside the pool, a fuel fireplace function may be turned on to brighten chilly evenings.
Close to the again door, Frances grows herbs in two inventory tanks set at an angle in opposition to a fence swathed in crossvine.
Basil grows lushly in a single, with golden candy potato vine spilling over the sting.
Within the different, flowering dill mingles with candy potato vine in a stunning golden echo.
Flowering dill fireworks
Frances loves water options and has a number of. One other one seems close to the again door — viewable from inside, I think about. Crisp-edged limestone blocks make a up to date pond, with water spilling into it by way of a metallic pipe that emerges from bamboo. A Buddha sculpture sits cross-legged on the sting, cradling a pink crystal and sporting a necklace of pink beads.
A Zen second — simply one in all many eye-catching options in Frances’s pretty, no-lawn backyard. Thanks for letting me share it right here at Digging, Frances!
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Digging Deeper: Information and Upcoming Occasions
Wish to learn to develop greens in Central Texas? Attend a free webinar on June 15 hosted by the Travis County Grasp Gardeners Assoc. My pal Sheryl Williams is instructing it, and he or she says “We’ll cowl the entire course of from planning to harvesting, with loads of battle tales from my very own backyard.” Enroll right here.
Be a part of the mailing checklist for Backyard Spark! Hungry to study backyard design from the specialists? I’m internet hosting a sequence of talks by inspiring backyard designers, panorama architects, and authors a couple of instances a yr in Austin. Talks will resume this fall. These are limited-attendance occasions that promote out shortly, so be a part of the Backyard Spark e mail checklist to be notified prematurely. Merely click on this hyperlink and ask to be added.
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