Blue magic in Lori Daul’s backyard

April 27, 2024

I returned to one in all my favourite Austin gardens final weekend, the South Austin backyard of designer Lori Daul. It’s an oasis with, by our depend, ten water options together with a number of stock-tank ponds, birdbaths, and ground-level saucers tucked into groundcovers. The colour blue unites the whole lot, including to the cooling, watery impact.

Pond backyard

Let’s begin our tour within the yard, the place Lori’s largest stock-tank pond, an 8-footer, attracts you out into the backyard.

A flaking, powder-blue chair by the pond units the colour tone and presents a spot to commune with the goldfish.

They arrive swimming over if you seem, their feathery tails swishing.

Moody blues and purples add drama to brilliant greens.

Behind the pond, a shock — a rolling ridge of blue mountains studded with tiny round mirrors that appear to be twinkling lights within the distance. It’s a mural Lori painted on a metallic wall she constructed and welded herself. The theatricality and scale of it set her backyard aside. Lori by no means does something by half-measures.

Lori constructed it for privateness when she discovered the property behind her home could be developed. Additionally, “perhaps I used to be simply daydreaming of a yard with a pleasant panoramic view,” she informed me.

Within the heart of the yard, underneath a mesquite tree, an island mattress jam-packed with crops frames a cream-colored fountain.

The fountain is right for birds, with a bubbler and a shallow bathing floor. Smoke tree and beaked yucca, amongst different crops, add contrasting foliage.

Lori simply completed laying a brand new patio constituted of a patchwork of pavers, bricks, and stone. She spent numerous time gathering supplies and arranging and leveling them. The patio fills a U-shaped house between her home, an adjoining she-shed, and the mesquite-tree backyard.

An oval stock-tank pond sits beside the she-shed, together with a blue wire chair cradling a potted prickly pear.

Velvety, light-catching colocasia is one in all Lori’s favourite pond crops.

A chocolate mimosa echoes the colocasia’s smoky purple hue.

Globemallow provides creamsicle distinction.

A couple of edible crops develop in pots.

Shade backyard

Alongside the painted wall, in a deep raised mattress, a shade backyard thrives underneath a line of crape myrtles. A decaying tree department provides a forest vibe and bug habitat alongside the entrance edge.

The tiny mirrors sparkle within the background, and inexperienced leaves glow towards blue paint.

One in every of Lori’s many water options

She just lately planted a yellow-berried yaupon holly underneath the crape myrtles. Its golden berries will stand out towards the blue come fall.

A plastic flamingo prances by means of burgundy cannas.

In a sunny spot, a bowl of prickly pear stands out in a froth of pink night primrose and ‘Silver King’ artemisia.

One other cactus sprouts phallically from a head planter.

Aspect backyard

Wanting towards the aspect yard, you see an arch of blue bottles on a mesquite limb, which frames an attractive view. A big whale’s tongue agave rides excessive, elevated in a inventory tank. Beneath a spherical mirror, a half-face planter appears to be like again at you. The stained picket fence carries the blue theme alongside.

The whale’s tongue agave is so powdery blue, it’s virtually white.

How I really like the blue-rose form of this agave, plus these mahogany tooth alongside the leaves. Attractive!

That is maybe my favourite planter in Lori’s backyard: a half-face pot with hypnotic eyes of ‘Quadricolor’ agave, a sleek of ‘Evergold’ sedge on the aspect, and a foxtail fern hairdo. Peach-apricot ‘Star of the Republic’ rose encircles the porthole-like mirror.

I want I may convey the perfumed perfume of ‘Star of the Republic’ rose. Divine!

‘Quicksilver’ rose unfurls luscious mauve blossoms as effectively.

Alongside the slim aspect path towards the entrance yard, one other stock-tank pond attracts the attention.

Lori positioned it on axis along with her kitchen desk window so she will benefit from the pond throughout meals or espresso.

‘Ann Chowning’ Louisiana iris reveals off wine-red flowers, and a fountain offers trickling water music.

‘Tangerine Magnificence’ crossvine and burgundy canna add extra heat towards the blue fence.

By the gate, a bit kumquat in a pot dangles orange fruit. It’s paired with purple oxalis and the trailing, spiny stems of huernia, a passalong from Jenny Stocker of Rock Rose.

A red-veined sorrel in entrance echoes the purple of close by cannas.

Entrance backyard

Within the entrance backyard, an enormous whale’s tongue agave in a stock-tank planter is sending up a tree-like bloom spike. Lori is fretting about how she’ll excavate it from the tank as soon as it collapses and dies (agaves die after flowering). However for now, it’s a thrill to see it going out with a bang.

The dramatic starting of the tip

Pink night primrose and pink roses tumble over terracing partitions.

And pink flamingos stalk by means of ‘Silver King’ artemisia — “flamingos within the mist,” as Lori jokes.

‘Amistad’ salvia stakes out a shady spot.

Heartleaf skullcap is beginning to open lavender flower spires.

Inventory tanks are positioned liberally all through the small entrance backyard, elevating agaves as focal factors and making one other container pond.

‘Arizona Star’ agave potted up amid sedge and heartleaf skullcap

Our buddy Diana Kirby stopped right here to admire the pond. Her blue outfit is on-point in Lori’s blue backyard.

Metal balls float within the stock-tank pond, including a bit shine. Bronze fennel seems to stare upon its personal reflection, like Narcissus.

Rose campion finds a gravelly area of interest between steps to the porch.

African hosta thrives within the shade, elevated in a sq. planter beside holly fern.

A grinning, marble-eyed cranium greets guests on the door — proof of Lori’s eager sense of black humor, which all the time retains me laughing. Thanks, Lori, for the beautiful backyard go to this spring!

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Now by means of Might 1 at 11:59 am: Enter my GIVEAWAY of latest e-book Backyard Wonderland! Click on for my assessment and giveaway guidelines.

Might 4: Discover “sensible backyards, good swimming pools and pergolas, and out of doors rooms and gardens” on the ATX Out of doors Residing Tour on 5/4, 10 am to three pm. Panorama architects, designers, and builders can be available to reply questions. Tickets are $33.85 for adults, $17.85 for youths age 10-17.

Might 11: Tour 4 Austin gardens on 5/11, from 9 am to three pm, on the Inside Austin Gardens Tour. Every backyard “is created and cared for by a Travis County Grasp Gardener and demonstrates real looking gardening practices that inform and encourage.” Tickets are $25, or free for youngsters 12 and underneath.

Might 18: On Austin Dwelling’s Nice Outdoor Tour, held 5/18 from 10 am to three pm, discover “Pinterest-worthy swimming pools and out of doors kitchens to considerate plantings and classy city density options.” Tickets are $30.

Might 18: Pop as much as Dallas for the 2024 DCMGA Backyard Tour on 5/18 from 10 am to five pm. Tickets are $18 if bought on-line prior to six pm on 5/17, or $22 after 6 pm on 5/17 or on the occasion. For a sneak peek, click on right here.

June 1-2: Take a self-guided, 2-day tour of ponds and gardens in and round Austin on the annual Austin Pond and Backyard Tour, held 6/1 and 6/2, 9 am to five pm. Tickets are $20 to $25.

Come find out about gardening and design at Backyard Spark! I arrange in-person talks by inspiring designers, panorama architects, authors, and gardeners just a few occasions a 12 months in Austin. These are limited-attendance occasions that promote out rapidly, so be a part of the Backyard Spark electronic mail listing to be notified upfront; merely click on this hyperlink and ask to be added. Season 8 kicks off in fall 2024. Keep tuned for more information!

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