Heroic in scale, the agaves and Cor-Ten steel undulating walls wet with rain, topped by a grove of Yucca rostrata at the rear entrance to the property.
I was so intrigued by this garden I visited in Austin earlier this month that my meager amount of rain-splashed photos weren’t enough to sate my curiosity. I had to know more. Yet reading further about this house and garden had me wondering if I saw the same project. Depending on the source material, various discrete design elements were emphasized, many that I didn’t recognize at all since I only saw a small part of the whole. (My introduction to the landscape design was through Pam Penick’s blog Digging. Pam is one of the co-founders of the Garden Bloggers Fling. Be sure to check out her excellent post for a much more comprehensive, sunnier/drier tour of the entire property and a look at the native grasses in bloom in fall.)
To say this house and garden have a lot of angles is an understatement on so many levels besides just the literal. Because of that interplay of the house and landscape architecture, it’s one of those projects that makes you wish the architect and landscape architect were available in a panel discussion to talk about how they fit all these disparate puzzle pieces together to accomplish such a unified vision. I knew the fabulous landscape architecture was done by Curt Arnette but didn’t know who built the house.
(Edited 5/22/18: Pam Penick Pam helpfully provided the architectural attribution as well as correcting other research: Jim LaRue of LaRue Architects.)
A peek into the courtyard behind the massive Cor-Ten planters also serving as walls.
Raining off and on, I didn’t grab many photos of the veg garden just beyond the courtyard, which along with this cool, Lone-Star emblazoned cistern had a spectacular board-formed concrete water feature. Some of the photos were too rain-blurred to be useful. Like I said, there were a lot of angles, a lot of facets to this complex property that somehow folds itself seamlessly into the oak-dotted landscape. What I’ve captured in photos is a tiny slice of the whole, including the back entrance leading to an inner pergola, terraces, patios, lawn, and pool off the back of the house.
Photographically, balancing the interplay of all those angles is a fascinating challenge, which makes the work of the masters of architectural photography like Julius Shulman that much more impressive. I had to straighten quite a few of these photos!
We did not enter here but headed to the terraces, pool, and patios off the back of the house by heading left of that curved retaining wall.
Leading to a fig-draped pergola and the pool area beyond.
From the pergola, then across the lawn to the pool and terraces.
Looking from the limestone terraces off the house in the direction of the pergola.
Just visible beyond the lounge chairs is the deep overhang sheltering the sitting area closest to the house. Summer in Austin means days on end over 100F.
A limestone soaking tub is a few steps away from the Cor-Ten-enclosed pool.
The view from the terraces also encompasses the surrounding landscape. Yep, between the architect and the landscape architect, I don’t think they missed a trick.