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Venice Garden Tour 2014

I have never been on the Venice Garden Tour before.  It always seems to happen on a day when I’m working (ah the life of retail).  But this year it worked out and boy was I excited.  My husband didn’t quite share my enthusiasm but I drug him along anyway with the promise of good Truck food and a pleasant day near the ocean.  Neither of us were disappointed.

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After picking up our map and guidebook at the Neighborhood Youth Association campus (they are the beneficiaries of the tour and why it started) we headed to some of the walk streets not too far way.  And since we were walking we got to see some amazing places along the way like this beautiful parkway planted with my favorite Mexican Feather Grass.

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Walk streets are interesting.  Instead of having the houses open to the street, all the houses open to these little public walkways.  In fact, and I shouldn’t say this, you really don’t have to go on any tour to have an amazing voyeuristic experience in Venice.  I think most of my photos aren’t even of houses on the tour.

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The first house we saw had this really cool little patio.  So easy but really packs a punch.  With a different chair it would be amazing.

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This house wasn’t on the tour but all I had to do was just look into the yard.  Most of the houses had their seating areas in this front area on the walk streets so that there was no way to avoid interacting with your neighbors and passersby.  I really liked that.

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This was probably my favorite garden and again, it wasn’t on the tour.  The front walkway crossed over this beautiful pond.  The yard was definitely low-water but still felt lush.

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I really liked these orange powder coated house numbers.  Just the perfect zing against this very dark green house.

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And here again are orange house numbers (though this one wasn’t on the walk street).  Love the ipe fence and gate.

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This house, actually two houses, was on the tour and definitely a show stopper.  They had a great edible garden in raised beds.

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Here’s another shot of the raised bed garden.

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And here was their fire pit area on the side of the main house.  Gotta love the butterfly chairs. 

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Many houses had beautiful front gates with really interesting hardware like this one.

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And here’s another even more amazing gate.

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I gotta say people in Venice really know how to rip out a lawn and use their gravel.

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This house was gravel everywhere (which was a little too deep in some places…hard to walk in), but I loved this more rustic take on a concrete fire pit.  And while I enjoyed how the white slip covered outdoor furniture looked, I don’t know about the reality.  But it sure looked pretty.

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This was a nice detail in the front entry too.

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And people were so creative on their use of space (and look, more gravel).  This table was made of plywood and it looked great.  Notice the Fermob Bistro Set in the distance?

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Behind the previous house was this other amazing house that you came into over this pond/fountain.  I wish I had a better photo but there were so many people it was really hard to shoot.  This house was worth the tour for sure.

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Here’s a view of the entry from the upstairs (and look, even more gravel).

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On the upper deck there was this very cool zen patio looking out from the owner’s work space (though I could have done with one potted plant…just one).

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And out the back by the parking there was a great outdoor shower where the owner showered when he came back from surfing.

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I would kill kittens (not really) to get one of these gnome stools we saw in another yard.  How cool is that?

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And I really enjoyed getting all this great fencing inspiration.

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Not to mention walkway inspiration.

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One property had created an amazing stacked stone shrine in-between the two houses on the lot (a lot of places in Venice are two houses on a lot…they are narrow but quite long).

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And a few of the places had views that were pretty unbelievable.  This one was right on Venice Beach.  Maybe not my style, but I just loved that view.

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Although it had this really groovy yurt on the other side.  I’d love to have one of those.

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A lot of the houses by the beach were old Craftsman kit houses (though I’m not sure if this one was…just loved the pergola).


And it was really neat to get to go inside some of them.  This one was from 1907 and was virtually untouched.  It even had an alarm system still on the wall from a company that went out of business in 1880.   That was something I wasn’t expecting, getting to see inside so many of the homes. (though this is the only interior photo I took…go figure).

So at the end of the day we had walked probably 4 miles and saw 24 gardens before pooping out.  There were vans provided along the way but we opted to walk the whole thing and it was totally doable (though we were pretty darn tired at the end).  So definitely go next year, but if you can’t wait, just start strolling around on the various streets (or better yet, the canals!) and you will have a design adventure of your very own.



3 Responses to “Venice Garden Tour 2014”

  1. Love this tour! You have so much more local inspiration there than we do. Thank you for sharing. :)

  2. Pam/Digging says:

    I so enjoyed your recap. Looks like a wonderful bunch of gardens. The 5th photo from the top — your favorite — was on a previous tour. I remember seeing it on someone else’s blog last year or the year before.

  3. annette says:

    I figured it had to be on a tour some time…it was so beautiful.

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