Artist leaves creative mark on lushly landscaped yard
A first glance, Ann Hunt’s backyard in Dickinson is mind-boggling.
Where to look first? The view from the yard looking toward the veranda, or the view from the veranda looking toward the yard?
Hunt, an artist, has created an interesting and stunning atmosphere by bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out, resulting in a horticultural fantasyland.
With an eye for shape and form, Hunt’s creativity has left its mark on every plant and every décor item in the lushly landscaped backyard that marries the covered terrace.
“It was nothing but woods when my husband and I moved here in the 1970s,” Hunt said. “We removed a few trees, but left the big oaks, pines and a hickory.”
Over the years, Hunt planted palm trees, dug flower beds, brought in flagstone, brick pavers, river rocks, antique pots and statuary. Only one thing was missing: “I’m a water person, and used to own a sailboat, so we dug a pond, added a waterfall and goldfish,” she said.
The soothing sounds of the waterfall and the breeze gently blowing through the gauzy curtains hanging across the veranda are meditative and relaxing. Hunt, of course, planned it that way.
“Everything just blends together,” she said. “As an artist, I see things differently, like color schemes and leaf texture. Little by little, I created all this from things that I love.”
Weathered pots, pedestals, umbrellas atop tables, hanging lanterns, concrete torsos and petrified wood share space with hundreds of species of plant life, particularly ferns.
Many flowers are blooming, displaying colors of hot pink, vivid violet and crimson red in beds, hanging or sitting in pots on tables.
Cowhide rugs, animal print throw pillows on swings and settees, candles, seashells, wet bar and wicker chairs all are part of the welcoming atmosphere inside the veranda, which Hunt designed for herself and guests.
“We’ve had as many as 75 seated here comfortably,” she said. “The mannequin in the corner always makes for interesting conversation. I call her ‘Lolita.’”
A stone walkway leads to a meditation garden in the far corner of the yard, where two concrete benches straddle an obelisk with praying hands. She bought the obelisk at Frazier’s Ornamental & Architectural Concrete in Houston.
“I walked up to it and it spoke to me,” Hunt said. “I love to sit out here with my cat, Blue.”
Hunt is not particular when it comes to buying and adding plants. If they’re easy to care for, she’s sold.
Flower beds stretch along the fence line, while others take on various shapes throughout the yard. A contemporary red sun made of metal is flanked by rectangular wall art made of iron.
A separate herb garden emits aromas of oregano, tarragon, mint, parsley, sage, basil and bay leaf.
Among the many varieties of plant life, Hunt has her favorites, such as the hydrangeas with blooms of violet and pink, plumbago, angel trumpet, knockout roses, coleus, spirea, impatiens, camellias, Turk’s cap and begonias. But she also likes her “volunteer” plants.
“We have things that just spring up out of nowhere,” she said.
A ground cover of blue prostrate petunias are in abundance in front of tall, thick bamboo growing along the back fence, adding privacy and year-round blooms.
Hunt’s day begins with a 5:30 a.m. gym workout. When she gets home, she heads for the backyard.
With a potting area and art studio next to the veranda, Hunt still dabbles in projects.
Before the sun sets, she likes to sit in front of the fish pond at a small bistro table, sipping something cool with friends, while Alexa, a portable music device, plays in the background.
“I just say, ‘Alexa, entertain me,’” she said.