Last Saturday, I spend the day at a home featured on a local garden tour and what a treat that was.

I love the concept of garden tours, since it’s a great way to get an close-up look at landscape designs, plant types, upkeep needs and the passion it takes to even have a yard to display.

Landscape design is probably the No. 1 priority when considering a look that works for your yard. The design must fit your property, complement your home and flow — not detract — from the already established permanent structures and trees. In fact, it’s important to have a master plan, including existing features, as well as future items to be added at a later date. You definitely don’t want to design and implement a landscape plan only to have to dig it up a few years down the road, when everything is already established, to add a long-desired feature.

Attending home garden tours is an excellent way to see many options already in place and functioning, see what features blend together, get a feel for flow, discover a variety of materials in use and observe what designs work for what size yards.

Unless you spend a great deal of time researching them, it’s difficult to know which plants go together, the size of the mature species, watering needs, color choices, blooming cycles and where to go to find the plants you want.

Going to local garden tours allows you to see first-hand the native and adapted species growing successfully in your area, combinations that work, color schemes, maturity sizes and arrangement of plants.

One of the scariest aspects of a fully-landscaped yard is the prospect of upkeep. We create a grandiose perception of the amount of work required to keep an attractive display.

Speaking to the homeowners at a tour gives you the scoop on day-to-day maintenance demands.

Finally, going to the different homes on a garden tour lets you experience the passion these gardening enthusiasts feel for their craft.

Listening to them discuss their designs, sensing the pride they feel in their property is actually contagious. It made me go home and get out in my gardening beds spruce up some of my favorite natives.

Watch for future garden tours in the area and try to attend one. It’s fun, relaxing, educational and just plain exciting.

Darla Menking is a certified Bell County Texas Master Gardener and a Texas Master Naturalist. Email her at darla.menking@gmail.com.

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