Welcome to the first day of Spring, everyone. I know I was Debbie Downer mid week with all my talk of snow fall and icy slopes. But I got my fix and I'm ready to admit what the calendar tells me is true: it is officially spring. The Southern California-esque weather here in Austin is absolute perfection and I'm not so mad to see my plants coming back to life. Of course, I would be really, really not mad if my yard looked a thing like I want it to. While I am blessed with a lush layer of deeply saturated green grass, and have a few trees to hold up my hammock, my yard is light years away from the landscaped wonder of my dreams. While I have confidence in my interior design choices, landscaping is an entirely different story: plants and yard layouts are magical beasts that I can't quite figure out how to tame. Whenever I talk with one of my plant-friendly pals I simply say "I want my yard to look like the Hotel San Jose"
The San Jose is an adorable hotel made up of several bungalows here in Austin. The cocktail patio outback is open to all, not just hotel guests and is one of my favorite spots to get a drink (psst, try the champassion, it will rock your face off). Cool cocktails on hot summer nights are just a front: I really go to this place to admire the landscaping.
None of these photos do the space the justice it deserves, but trust me when I say: it is freekin awesome. Until now, I did not know who the genius was behind the landscaping, I didn't even think to look it up. I suppose I assumed that grounds so lovely just magically appeared after the Gods waved their hands over the land or something. I guess I was wrong. There is a designer, and he has a name:
Meet Mark Word. While I had never heard of him before today, almost every outdoor space in Austin that I adore can be traced back to him. His mix of wild grasses, over sized agave, and invasive (but stunning!!) ivy have me week at the knees.
Uhhhh!!! My dream front yard. My house is on a small hill, so this vision isn't totally unreasonable. Well, unless you factor in the whole Karly doesn't understand how to layout plants thing. I think it's a fair guess to assume that Mark's services are out of my price range, but what if I were to ply him with vodka?
I tore this image out of a magazine ages ago, not realizing that it was even in Austin, much less the work of my new yard hero. I would love to have a little cubby bench surrounding loose gravel behind my house.
Or, maybe a little grassy platform is right for me? I love how he mixes structured spaces with wild growth.
While several of you may be able to attest to my dislike for water features, especially when they involve fish or loud motors, but I find his custom metal pieces quite charming. Ok, I'm starting to see a formula surface: rusted industrial + minimal structure + some wild native Texas crap= Karly's heart literally bleeds. Maybe I can try to pull this off on my own?
Ok, maybe I can't do this myself. This is another picture I tore out ages ago, from a different magazine than the last one I pointed out. Seriously, how did I not figure out who this guy was? Oh, and just incase you're wondering, here's what the front of the house pictured above looks like:
Funny story: I actually made the final decision to buy the house I live in now because my entry walkway is not unlike the one pictured above. Just a thousand times less cool.
This seems a bit more attainable, but still light years beyond my landscaping ability. So if any of you readers out there happen to know Mr. Word, and, if, by chance he owes you a favor, how about you go ahead and hook a sister up?