S1  Nancy
606 Amesbury Lane, Central Austin  78752

Highlights: First time on tour, built by Moore Landscaping and Design

This perfectly manicured garden is a blend of classic perennials and Texas natives. The front yard lies in the deep shade of a large oak that is surrounded by flagstone and well-placed gardens. Part of the back yard is decomposed granite with boulders and interspersed plantings. The other part is a large grassy area encircling a 700-gallon pond and waterfall constructed with red sandstone. A large Peggy Martin rose, known as the Katrina Rose, sprawls across the back fence. All of the gardens are edged with limestone. There is a glass border which conceals rope lighting along the flagstone walks, and lighting is hidden in the walkway itself.

S2  Dorsey & Neil (Taylor, builder)
1715 Norris Dr., Zilker Park area  78704

Highlights: First time on tour, rainwater harvesting, Certified Wildlife Habitat, rainwater harvesting, built by Taylormade Waterscapes

This 1950’s ranch home nestles under huge oak trees, and each turn of a path brings a surprise. The all-organic site is a Certified Wildlife Habitat that utilizes rainwater harvesting. Notice the berms and swales that guide water to the rainwater tank. The expansive back garden contains multiple flagstone paths that weave down a hillside and through wildflower and native plants. The 1,200-gallon pond is sealed with DragonKote spray-in liner. Colorado water lilies are in bloom, and there’s a little koi family in residence. An impressive filter and UV system is nearby in the garden shed. Take time to sit on the porch and enjoy the view and the melody of the wind chimes and waterfall.

S3  Karen & Dave
10800 Canfield Dr., Circle C  78739

Highlights: First time on tour, Certified Wildlife Habitat, built by Native Waterscapes

A flagstone walkway through this beautifully landscaped yard goes to the rear garden, which contains a 1,500-gallon pond. At the back of the garden are two waterfalls that drop into a small limestone-encircled pond. The stream meanders through the yard, splits and then flows into a bog and another pond. The pond that is adjacent to the flagstone patio is filled with water lilies that have naturalized between the rocks. Yellow Louisiana irises fill one corner of the pond and help filter and clear the water. Behind the bog in the corner of the yard, a recently added swing is hidden away next to red honeysuckle and bamboo.

S4  Naomi & Bobby
1303 Kittansett Cove, Lost Creek  78746

Highlights: On the 2011 tour, Certified Wildlife Habitat, rainwater harvesting, owner-built

The stream that flows through this property starts at the top of the hill and seems to have been here forever; it’s all actually only eight years old. Seventeen truckloads of limestone boulders were brought in the first year in order to build the walls and terraces that provide planting areas for unusual shrubs and trees. Along the walkway at the top of the hill, there are citrus trees and a vegetable garden. Following the stream to its lowest level, there is a large double koi pond. There are hidden trails throughout the garden with unusual and rare plants; small surprises wait to be discovered. A full-sized storage building masquerades as a tugboat, appearing to have crashed on the hillside. This was the most popular stop on the 2015 tour.

S5  Dan & Paula (Matt, builder)
609 Furlong Dr., Barton Creek  78746

Highlights: First time on tour, largest pond on tour, massive boulders, two bio-falls, extra-large bog, built by Texas Ponds and Water Features

Colossal and awe-inspiring – both apt descriptives for this property. The entry to the pond area is through a bed of decomposed granite and native plants. A small stream and waterfall lead into a well-disguised bog, which flows into an amazing setting. A second stream joins the first, combines with recirculated water from the pond and results in a total waterfall flow of over 17,000 gallons per hour. Massive red sandstone boulders form the 15-foot-wide waterfall. The 20,000-gallon pond is about 6 feet deep, 30 feet long and is the largest pond on this year’s tour. The pond, built by Texas Ponds and Water Features was constructed in just eight weeks.

S6  Mark & Cheryl (Philip, builder)
8106 Chalk Knoll Dr., Barton Creek  78735

Highlights: First time on tour, built by Phillip Atteberry

A 12-foot-tall formal double-tiered fountain surrounded by a bed of annuals is the centerpiece of this estate’s front garden. To the left is a 6,000-gallon limestone-encircled informal pond, which utilizes an Aquascape skimmer and Aquascape Bio-Falls. The waterfall at the back of the pond drops for about two feet and then splits into two falls, which are also about two feet high. The pond is filled with an unusual variegated water lily, rushes and surrounded by native plants and is home to koi and goldfish. At the back of the waterfall area is a pétanque court, a French game similar to Italian bocce ball.

S7  Bruce
5220 Serrano Trail, Hudson Bend  78734

Highlights: On the 2014 tour, new koi pond, outstanding native landscaping, Certified Wildlife Habitat, rainwater harvesting, owner-built

Adjacent to the 2,000-gallon water lily pond, there’s a new koi pond with a more formal look that incorporates a large urn within the bog garden that provides filtration. Water flows over a stone wall and between square pavers forming four waterfalls. Stucco and rock walls enclose gardens filled with ice plant, bulbine and red yucca. A dry creek winds throughout. No less amazing is the garden at the front of the home, which covers almost an acre and is filled with blooming crape myrtle and colorful lantana contrasted with drifts of purple ground cover. So beautiful!

S8  Lyman & Marie
5511 Merrywing Circle, River Place  78730

Highlights: First time on tour, formal, Alamo facade built by Canteras Real Stone Works

Do you remember the Alamo? This pond was built to the specifications of the amateur historian and owner who collects Alamo memorabilia, and it features a beautiful formal pond with an 8-by-4-foot facade of the Alamo overlooking a square, raised pond that is about 10 by 10 feet. The pond is filled with water lilies and surrounded by tropical plants. The attached deck is enclosed with raised flagstone planters filled with Knockout roses and artemisia. Additional rock planters line the fences and are filled with colorful shrubs. The pink granite walkway is an unusual ground cover for the path that crosses to the grassy area at the rear of the garden.