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The Native Texas Landscape

A continuum stretches from the walled and introspective enclosure on one end to the fully native landscape on the other. In the middle is the garden that combines formal focal points with carefully blended boundaries.

The native Texas landscape style defines an endpoint on this continuum. In the purest examples of the style, the only plants in the landscape are those that might naturally occur, and the contours are convincingly organic. The gardener enhances the natural setting with the gentlest touch.

I love this style, because it is founded on such a love and respect for nature. Most importantly, it is sustainable, requiring little in the way of precious water resources and not so much maintenance, either, once established.

Native Texas Gardens

There is no getting around the fact that some natural landscapes are more hospitable than others. The desert landscape is the ultimate challenge. It gets done, but I am not sure you can do it on just any piece of desert ground. For examples, look at Sally Wasowski's book, Native Texas Gardens.

I am one of Sally greatest admirers, though I doubt it is fair to give her credit for defining the native Texas style I like so much. She photographs and builds upon the work of many landscape architects, including (my favorites from her book):

Suellis Bryant Garden in Odessa: in the open plains, limestone paths, wildflowers, and yucca make for a dry, sunny, happy-looking place.

Batterby Garden in Dallas, by Michael Parkey and Linda Smith: a lawn of long buffalo grass is bordered by colorful native perrenials and dramatic Lindheimer muhly.

Pickens Garden in Columbus: I'm not sure where this is but it looks dry and windswept. That doesn't sound too attractive, but it is, very.

Powell Garden by Sarah Lake, in San Antonio: more of a secluded, cloistered look, the house backs onto a creekbed.

See also Spicewood Springs Nativescape.

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