Homeowners work with landscaper to create functional, chic island garden
Tim Louis and Stan Delahousaye have moved around a bit during their 45 years together. The longest stay was the 25 years they lived in Houston’s Memorial Park area. Next came a move to Galveston’s Cedar Lawn Historic District for four years, then onto acreage in East Texas. Subsequently, a return to Galveston had them renting a house in the West End neighborhood of Evia.
It was during this time they decided Evia would be a good community to set down permanent roots, so they looked around, and last year found the perfect place to buy.
“But not too perfect,” Louis said. “I loved the inside of the townhome, but was not totally in love with the outside.”
Although the yard had potential, Louis wasn’t sure whether it could live up to the expectations the couple envisioned.
But Delahousaye knew it could, he said.
“We knew Raegan Markey, a landscape designer, and a former neighbor from Cedar Lawn, and felt like she could give us what we needed,” Delahousaye said.
Louis drew up a cursory sketch, handed it over to Markey, who owns Green Couture Co. Landscape in Galveston, and the work began.
“I had worked with Sullivan Brothers Builders, the developers of Evia, and assisted them with the land design, so I was familiar with the property and HOA restrictions,” Markey said. “Tim and Stan were lucky in that they not only had a nice size yard, but were in an area where there is an actual green space next to them. So, they eventually were able to do some of the landscaping on a small portion of the green space.”
The team created a sandstone hardscape and flower beds, installed a waterfall and erected a white picket fence around the perimeter of the yard.
After the job was completed, Louis realized that a grassy area they’d left for their dog, Leo, was probably a mistake because there wasn’t ample room for seating. So, he called Markey who returned to help, he said.
“We removed the grass and turned it into additional hardscape with the same sandstone,” Markey said.
Delahousaye continued adding plants to the beds, as well as bringing in several pots, and everything was coming together. But privacy was a concern because they faced a busy street and the green space to the side, he said.
“Even though we were able to plant some things in the green space and had a fence, we needed height,” Delahousaye said. “Two Chinese elms were already there, which helped some, but we added two crepe myrtles, five magnolia trees, planted Confederate jasmine to climb the fence and put 11 potted airplane plants atop the fence posts. So, that gave us the look we wanted.”
The front porch of the house is deceiving in that it isn’t the main entrance. The entrance begins in the back next to the garage.
White vincas and pink pentas to the left are a welcome sight. Beds to the right are a mix of drift roses, pittosporum, yellow flowering bulbine, plumbago, purple fountain grass and foxtail ferns.
Enter the garden gate, and five tall papaya trees catch the eye, as do snapdragons, gardenias, cyclamen, ligularia, begonias and pink hydrangeas.
Bougainvillea, bird of paradise, angel trumpet, mandevilla, fuchsia vincas, white and lavender pentas all add to the array of color.
“The vincas trailing off the balcony are so appealing,” Louis said. “They create a sense of natural beauty.”
Delahousaye favors the papaya trees, he said.
“I grew those in Houston just on a whim,” he said. “They grow so fast and they are spectacular in that they look like palm trees. I grew about 100 of them when we had the lake house in East Texas.”
Louis, a retired psychotherapist and Delahousaye a retired registered nurse, were married in 2018 and are certain that this is the last move they’ll make, particularly since Markey did such a fine job creating the yard they wanted.
“Every time I come back here there is something new in the ground,” said Markey, who calls the theme of the yard functional island chic.
“Stan has made this garden into something that I appreciate, so this garden is an act of love on his part,” Louis said. “But his real dream is to go camping in the wilderness. So, he has somehow set this up, so I won’t have to go camping with him. I can stay here and enjoy the beauty while he’s in the woods.”