West Lynn Residence

Studio Balcones designed a landscape for a significant remodel of a 1920s Old Enfield Austin home.

In collaboration with Jay Corder Architect, the design achieves an inventive spin on the Art-Deco architectural style, while also responding to the specific demands of a young family. By translating the architectural style into a planting palette with both native and adapted hardy plants suitable for Central Texas, the landscape creates a jewel-like setting that accessorizes and offsets the clean, white architecture. Intricate paving patterns and iron work add to the landscape beauty, and a children’s Secret Garden, swimming pool, and roof garden parterre allow the family to enjoy numerous outdoor spaces.

Greenway Residence

In Central Austin, a retired couple bought a home built in the 1940s on a half-acre lot backing up to Waller Creek. They love trees, and thus they loved the wooded property as it features ten heritage and protected trees.

Working collaboratively with Clayton & Little Architects on the gut remodel and addition, we wove together the house, carport, a back deck, screened porch, and terraced staircase – blurring the line between the house and landscape and creating an inside/outside experience. The one-story house is completely ADA accessible.  

The driveway is stabilized decomposed granite with concrete stripes and reads like a courtyard.  There was no existing driveway, and some of the largest existing trees were next to where the new driveway wanted to be. The new driveway and curb cut were carefully navigated through the City’s permitting process to protect the tree root zones.  

In the shaded front yard, we created a woodland garden, with native understory plantings, porous gravel walkways featuring a gabion wall covered in ferns that define a patio. Subtle terraces and a new front walkway create a new entry sequence, and understory trees were added to create more privacy from the street.

In the sunnier backyard, an amphitheater and stage are cut into the grade of the lawn with steel edging.  This performance/gathering space supports many gatherings of three generations of a highly creative family.  

The project includes a 12,000-gallon rainwater harvesting system, with one above ground galvanized steel cistern as well as two rainwater bladders found beneath the screened porch.

The Greenway Residence garden was featured on Central Texas Gardener, Season 26, Episode 2 “Rethinking Landscapes in Weather Challenges,” and on The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days 2019 Tour.


A Clarksville bungalow gains a one room living room addition, the Solarium.

An accordion window wall opens to the backyard, blurring the inside/outside transition and transporting you through a lush threshold to the urban backyard and Accessory Dwelling Unit. Privacy was important to the owner, so the compact lot became more intimate through added screening and plantings, tucking the Solarium into a green envelope. The plant palette includes lush subtropical plantings appropriate for the period bungalow, while the paving is minimal and modern.

Salado Ranch

Salado Ranch is a homestead property and a functioning ranch. Studio Balcones’ designs include a restoration planting around the existing creek, a fruit tree orchard, a pond, a small farm stand, and a small amphitheater for neighborhood gatherings.

Westlake Residence

This house on a hill, with amazing views to downtown Austin, required skillful grading maneuvers to accommodate pathways, a pool, and spaces for play.

The landscape design embraces a gradient of formality, with more manicured plantings and detailed hardscape hugging the house, while a less formal design language of exposed limestone cuts, boulder walls, and hardy drought tolerant plantings is used farther away from the home.

The four landscape zones include the forested/meadow driveway entrance, the dramatically detailed and planted stepped house entrance, the retained pool terrace with concrete hardscape and steel planters, and the wilder periphery with exposed limestone cuts, boulder walls, and native grasses. Over 230 caliper inches of trees were planted on site to create a future forest that will provide shade and cover for both animals and people.

Balcones Drive

Conceived as a clearing in the woods, the landscape architecture complements the clean lines of a mid-century modern, cantilevered home by adding color, shadow, and movement.

Steel retaining walls and precise grading maneuvers create structure, and roof scuppers and rainwater features define two intimate courtyard spaces. Design goals included protecting and highlighting existing trees, highlighting the limestone shelf of the Balcones Escarpment, having little to no lawn, and a seamless indoor/outdoor experience.

Water sensitivity is highlighted throughout the planting palette; drought tolerant plant species unite the wooded (shade) and open landscape (sun) typologies.

Studio Balcones collaborated with Michael Young and Pollen Architecture to ensure that the landscape and building had a fluid dialogue between outside and inside including coordinating details of the exterior wood bench at the family room’s accordion window, the slot window view of dry stack masonry supporting tree roots growing out of the limestone shelf, and creating a new entry courtyard experience at the carport. 

The Project was featured on the 2011 AIA Austin Tour of Homes and has been featured in Dwell, Texas Architect, and Tribeza. 

Bungalow On The Hill

Nestled in the hills of Westlake, this residential client wanted to make their hillside more lush and enjoyable for their young family.

Studio Balcones created a terracing solution that provided native plantings, welcoming walkways, and an open grassy play area.

Belmont Parkway

Studio Balcones designed the landscape for this quiet and modern home designed by Tim Cuppett Architects.

The site drops down dramatically to Shoal Creek and is composed of three zones: a street level entrance courtyard with quiet brick paving, custom gabion benches, and a perennial garden; a circular custom concrete dipping pool, brick terrace, and herb garden to the west of the house; and a looser landscape as backdrop with stone retaining walls, sweeps of native plantings, and a large boulder landing at the creek’s edge. 

The house cleverly splits the grade with a series of stepped gardens and custom limestone steps that dip under the living room bridge, leading to the larger backyard. A water runnel runs alongside the steps, carrying collected rainwater through grates and pipes that is then funneled through a rock creek bed, down to Shoal Creek. As the site includes numerous existing Heritage Trees, the design protects and celebrates these majestic Live Oaks and Cedar Elms.