Love Where You Live Houston 2019
the art of the yard

Pristine River Oaks art garden masterfully blends modern design and old-world charm

River Oaks garden masterfully blends modern design, old-world charm

River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
The verdant lawn with the Janus et Cie “Apple”  as a focal point.  Photo by Kelli Durham
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
The serene yard.  Photo by Kelli Durham
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
Whimsical round art pieces center the main fountain.  Photo by Kelli Durham
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
Old-world charm resides in the yard.  Photo by Kelli Durham
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
The designers opted for a clean, modern look.  Photo by Kelli Durham
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
Striking white stone pieces.  Photo by Kelli Durham
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
A natural stone fountain.  Photo by Kelli Durham
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
Clean hedgework lines the yard.  Photo by Kelli Durham
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
The Janus et Cie “Apple.”  Photo by Kelli Durham
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live
River Oaks art garden backyard Love Where You Live

Refreshing the backyard is common practice in Houston. However, completely transforming the green space requires much more vision, ingenuity, and eye for design than a simple makeover. A home in River Oaks showcases such an artful evolution with its shimmering, all-white sculpture garden.

To fulfill her vision, the River Oaks homeowner sought the expertise of Lanson B. Jones and Co. The landscape design company takes its inspiration from classical English, French, and Italian gardens, as well as drawing from modern, outdoor designs.

Many clients might have multiple specifications they’re looking for, but this homeowner allowed the firm to bring it’s A-game however it wanted — so long as the garden was white.

That level of creativity allowed the company to incorporate sculptures from the homeowner’s collection, as well as devise new ones, and put together a space that felt at once contemporary and stylish, with echoes to the old-world gardens of Italy and France.

Into the mix came seasonal blossoms, custom art pieces that shared space with the client’s beloved and eclectic items, and space that flowed seamlessly from the home. Crushed limestone and gravel served as the foundation for the synthetic lawn, parts of which were raised to give it a level appearance.

While the garden is clearly posh, it also allows for moments of whimsey. One of its most eye-catching aspects are two round sculptures in the shape of heads that have been reworked into a fountain.

“The interplay of water is something I learned in our Italian and French gardens,” Jones tells CultureMap. “Many times water and lawn interplay with each other, and it’s kind of like they become one another, and the white moonstones where the two head sculptures are mimics water, even though there’s only a thin layer of water over them.”

It took just about a year and a half to create the custom space, allowing for renovations to the front, back, and side gardens, as well as incorporating new and existing art pieces. The semi-circle shape that houses the Janus et Cie “Apple” in the back garden is echoed throughout the front of the home as well, in the front drive, flowerbeds and pattern of the trees.

The semi-circle pattern throughout the property serves as a nod to the highlight of the back garden. During the course of renovations, the client remained in the home, and got a front-row seat to watch the artistry unfold around her.

“She had this back screened-in porch, and she’d sit out there [watching] smiling away,” says Jones. “She was so pleased with how beautiful it was.”

Beauty surely was the guiding principle for the space. Holly trees and hydrangea bring white accents to the lush green, which is also punctuated with white and light-colored stones. There’s a seating area in the garden that’s perfect for contemplating the artwork and flora.

The garden has won several awards, but perhaps the biggest award of all comes to the team from the home’s owner, who is delighted every day to walk through their work.