currently in Austin


Soulful Contemporary Design & Water Tank Tips

So, you know, there’s a silver lining to every cloud, right? For me, those clouds haven’t dropped significant rain for months, so my usually statuesque narcissus are stunted this year.

The silver lining? The weeds have kept a lower profile, at least for now. They’ll certainly make up for lost time if rain arrives with warmer temps.

Every spring, I get questions about weed control. Honestly, it’s faster to pull or mow rather than spray with herbicides that can damage valuable plants and certainly mess with the watershed. When I pull them—before they’ve set seeds—I tuck them under perennials as free fertilizer.

I’m the first to acknowledge that weeds are in the eye of the beholder, since many are edible and feed tiny pollinators, like chickweed. But to tame unwanted garden crashers, Daphne explains how to take charge.

Many succulents resent too much rain in winter. Designer Liz Klein worked with Marilyn Tinstman to create a glorious collection of drought-tough plants including red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) and Yucca rostratas.

But only one rostrata bloomed last year. Why was that? Get Daphne’s answer.

Houseplants will flat out die when overwatered. Confined in pots, there’s nowhere for extra water to go except into frantic, suffocating roots. A hard lesson I learned is to abandon my loving schedule and handle houseplants like the garden: check the soil first. John shows how to spare the water and save the plant.

As we’ve become more sensitive to water resources, rainwater collection tanks are seriously on the radar. But what should you know before diving in?

Tom meets with Chris Maxwell-Gaines of Innovative Water Solutions to step through basics for choosing the best system for you.

When Chris and his wife served in the Peace Corps, rainwater harvesting was their only water supply. No longer taking water for granted, they started Innovative Water Solutions with a fellow Peace Corps volunteer once they returned home.

He explains the difference between wet and dry systems, whether to go for galvanized metal (lined to prevent rusting) or polyethylene, and how to tie into an irrigation system.

Plus, find out when you can go gravity fed or when you need a pump. He’s also has solutions for small spaces and underground storage tanks. Watch now!

On tour, Sprout architectural designer Jackson Broussard is among the most soulful people I’ve ever met.

In every design, he brings together architecture, plants and memories with heartfelt craftsmanship.

A very special makeover landed him in his East Austin childhood home that he bought from his parents a few years ago.

Eventually he built a narrow treehouse home for himself in the backyard he shares with renters up front.

He gave the front yard a new look, defining spaces with layers of mysteries and nooks, tucking in sentimental relics and repurposed treasures.

In this sociable neighborhood, Jackson and his neighbors are great friends, so his low wall between properties wasn’t a “keep out” dividing line.

Not only does it help with drainage on his Blackland prairie soil, it gave him a chance to tuck in memories from near and far.

Jackson’s artful wall extends into his makeover carport screened from the neighbors with a cedar coyote-style fence.

It’s become a neighborhood hangout as well as work space.

From the carport, he proclaims entry into his own abode via carefully chosen scraps for footing and regal columns.

An altar of plants, viewed from either side, unites the spaces even while designating separation.

Here, as throughout the garden, he displays carefully selected terracotta pots from Impruneta in Italy.

In the narrow space, heightened by a Mission olive tree (that made it through recent low temps just fine), he crafted a sliding steel and rebar gate that started with hardware from a defunct butcher shop in Seguin.

In back, he diversifies viewpoints and experiences from outdoor dining spaces to a Geo Zoysia lawn for cocker spaniel Daisy Mae. Bay laurel, that Jackson plucks for the kitchen, enclose the semi-shaded cove under post oak trees.

To elevate the view, Jackson designed an ipe deck big enough to entertain.

His concrete pond was inspired by his love of furniture, its wide ledges a favorite spot for guests to gather.

But nobody sits for long, since there are so many mysteries to explore, whether on foot or viewpoint from a comfy chair.

Jackson’s got a great story behind the design of his outdoor shower, too.

But I’ll let him tell you all about it and the story of his garden!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda