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River Oaks’ Own English Wonder Garden

How the Landscaping and Expertise of Lanson B. Jones Created a European-Worthy Retreat in Houston

BY // 11.12.18

Versailles, Chiswick, Boboli: No notable European garden is complete without well-placed sculptures.

When a River Oaks client with an English-style home, a distinctive personal style and an established collection wanted an all-white contemporary art garden, Lanson B. Jones & Co. was well-suited to execute, as the Houston-based landscape architecture firm views landscape design as an art form in itself. Over the past two decades, the team has applied its concept of the European scaled garden to a wide variety of high-end residential and commercial projects in and around Houston.

After all, the firm’s entire existence traces back to founder Lanson B. Jones visits to Europe as landscape architecture student at Texas A&M University when he marveled over some of the greatest formal gardens in history.

“We love to have a formal and informal balance in our designs, and that concept worked out perfectly here,”  Jones says of the River Oaks project, “The architecture of the house is very traditional while the client’s personal style is quite contemporary. With this project, we were able to honor both.”

White is the unifying theme: white seasonal color in a white stone urn outside the front entrance, uniform beds of white pebbles under an allée of eagleston holly trees, white furniture for outdoor dining and lounging, white sculptures — new, existing and custom. Lanson B. Jones’ team of passionate designers and licensed architects used these distinctive elements as anchors in the design, which features an open, expansive lawn.

The result is a personal outdoor gallery — and unlike anything else you’ll see in Houston.

River Oaks garden
This River Oaks garden would fit in Europe.

The selection and placement of art was as carefully considered as the landscaping. A pair of stone heads, the client’s own, were repurposed in a custom sunken fountain with low-profile water features and moonstone beach pebbles. Drawing inspiration from another artwork, Jones created a custom art piece made of two pieces of white Estremoz Carrara marble imported from Portugal. The work provides gravitas and angularity without competing with other garden features.

A glazed ceramic Eve Apple from JANUS et Cie, placed on a subtle berm surrounded by crepe myrtles, adds whimsy to the classical-meets-contemporary scene.

Landscape architect Jim Jech designed a kitchen fountain — a distinctive piece made from a steel basin and a hand-selected art stone spout — creating a serene, soothing sanctuary.

With the installation of artificial turf in the backyard, and the addition of seating elements from JANUS et Cie and planters from Longshadow, the space is clean and elegant, but ultimately useable — exactly meeting the client’s demands and wildest wishes.

That’s the Lanson B. Jones way.

Jones opened his eponymous landscape architecture firm in 1994 and, in the 25 years since, it has transformed the aesthetics of Houston’s most prominent neighborhoods, one project at a time. Including a European art garden in the heart of River Oaks.

For more on Lanson B. Jones’ memorable projects and for information on making your own perfect garden and landscaped home a reality, click here.

When others see a home,
We see a Work of Art
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