Inside Austin Gardens tour preview: Wendy Brennan’s garden

I LOVED this garden. And I’ve gotta say that the amount I loved it was a little surprising to me. A few years ago, this contemporary minimalist style would not have appealed to me at all. Hoooo boy do a few years of extreme heat and drought make a difference!

This is a garden where the focus is on the hardscaping, which is designed both for looks and to direct runoff, highlighted by tough plants that rarely need supplemental water.  I really loved the unexpected use of hardscape materials and how everything was either recycled, found, or bought on clearance.  I never would have been able to tell. The walkway and the concrete slab divider art are the result of taking a concrete saw to an old sidewalk. The red “windowframe sculpture” is a repurposed bit of ranch machinery with a coat of paint on it.

The screen along the property line separating Wendy’s seating area from Link Davidson’s property next door is made of clearance air conditioner screens from Target attached to some chain link fence posts.

Old rusted tanks stand in for some expensive sculpture. It’s fabulous.

And did I mention that I love the walkway? I really, really do.

One thing I loved about this garden is that it was a collaborative project, designed by Wendy’s next-door neighbor, Link Davidson to fit her taste and needs. After giving us the guided tour of Wendy’s garden, Link invited us to tromp about his place and peer at the million projects-in-progress he has going on while reconstructing his funky found-object garden that was crushed to bits by a falling hackberry.

Link’s garden after Wendy’s garden was like whiplash. You’d think that these two neighbors would have nothing in common design-wise, I swear to god. I thought it was hilarious. Link is a guy who, next to his veggie bed– which is arranged like an actual bed with a galvanized headboard and stone pillows, no lie– has a tranquil seating area that looks like this:

Did I mention that directly stage right there’s a flying lawnmower on a pole with red Christmas lights wired to the underside? Well, there is. There are strings of colored lights everywhere. Trippy. I can’t help but imagine that Link throws some wild parties. But ANYWAY.

It was wicked cool to see how Link’s penchant for tough plants and found object art worked in a much more restrained setting, and I really enjoyed how he reined in his crazy creativity to design and construct something so minimalist. I suppose it helped that it wasn’t his own yard. I have that problem with my own yard CONSTANTLY. I often feel the urge for something more pared-down and contemporary, but my inner plant geek refuses to cooperate. Minimalism is clearly something meant for other people, I’m guessing other people who don’t define themselves as garden geeks, who have a completely different definition of “low-maintenance.” Clearly, I have too much free time.

For more information on tomorrow’s Inside Austin Gardens tour, please see the TCMG Inside Austin Gardens page.

About The Gardener of Good & Evil

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8 Responses to Inside Austin Gardens tour preview: Wendy Brennan’s garden

  1. Robin says:

    Welcome to WordPress! Great posts and insight about each garden. Interestingly, it didn’t occur to me that Sue had used “common” plants to achieve that lushness. A good point I need to make note of. Nice post.

  2. Like you, I often admire minimalist gardens like this one, but my “inner plant geek” won’t let me pare down that much in my own garden. It WAS fun to see the contrast between Link’s own garden and the one he made for his neighbor.

  3. Marc O. says:

    I was really blown away by Link’s spaces, too. There’s something I really deeply admire about taking found objects (i.e., trash!) and repurposing them in a way that makes them look far better than trash.

    • I agree. I never would have thought of using water heater tanks as garden art, you know? I’ll definitely have my eye out in a different way the next time bulk items pickup rolls around.

      • Marc O. says:

        I’m glad I have a truck for those bulky pickup days!

        Your switch to WP looks great! And I hope we get a chance to talk next time we run into each other.

  4. jenny says:

    I was really glad to catch up on the garden tour that I missed. Thanks for taking me on the tour. I am really beginning to wish for a more minimalist style myself.

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