GROUNDSKEEPING: Austin, Texas
Being from California, born and raised, I have always had a prejudice towards Texas. They were cowboys and we were beach people if not surfers. They like six guns and we like bongs, they eat TexMex and we eat real Mexican food. Girls in Texas have big hair and wear lots of makeup and who doesn’t still dream about California girls.
Texas is a desert and so is most of California. We both have major water issues and we both landscape our homes and developments like there is no bottom to the aquifers that provide much of our water.
Travelling to Austin to visit my family I have come to really, really enjoy it. This hilly area along the Colorado River (different Colorado from the one we know in California) is a fun and exciting place and I enjoy driving the neighborhoods and suburbs when I’m there. On a recent trip I went out to visit different landscape architects and design firms.
Several were in the Tarrytown neighborhood just west of the downtown which is doing its best to emulate the high-rise culture of many large cities today. Tarrytown is an area of old and new residences that fit the description of “stately”. With their use of Texas limestone for structures, walls and pathways and stairs, there is a feeling of substance and earth filled with lush landscapes that make one appreciate the humidity and heat in a way that as a Californian I didn’t know I could.
There are many, many architects and developers in the busy and growing Austin area and the design elements are trending to mid-century modern and contemporary. The populace is very conscious of their outdoor areas and driving the neighborhoods shows a diversity of styles when it come to containers they use.
This historic estate makes the most of its entrance with lidded finials on the entry posts and two Campania concrete vase planters on the front porch.
Next is an empty tree planter downtown Austin on Willy Nelson Blvd. Metal and wood, built for public traffic. A new, modern twist on the Versailles planter used all over Europe with a very western feeling. Perfect for walking on the sunny side of the street.
Another commercial application, this project is in the University of Texas neighborhood – a large, metal square. I like the scale and simplicity of its design and size in front of this office building.
If you haven’t been and think of Texas the way I used to, I suggest a trip to the Austin area. Great food, great music, the home of Whole Foods and a great place to experience the South and easy livin’ in great gardens.