Today, I got to go on the Laguna Beach Charm House Tour–the 39th annual–with my friend, Carey. Our friends, Cindy and Mark Evans, whose amazing home and garden were on the tour, gave us tickets! How nice is that? (Click HERE to see the Evan’s garden, which I featured in a previous post.) 
There were six homes on the tour–bungalows, craftsmen, modern–and I was mainly interested in what was outside the houses. They all had lovely landscaping and gardens, but this is the only one where I pulled out my camera. It’s a 1926 Garden Cottage that has been owned and tended by the same family for the last 42 years. (We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the homes.)
The Charm House tour raises money for Village Laguna, a community organization that has fought for years to preserve the unique village character of Laguna Beach. The group isn’t popular among everyone in town, however, especially some of the newer residents who sometimes forget what attracted them to this coastal town in the first place–unique, charming homes, a sense of character and history,
 and unparalleled natural beauty. 

Despite Village Laguna’s best efforts,
 many of the Laguna homes like this have been torn down or “renovated” into McMansions.  
The woman smack in the center of this photo is the indefatigable Charlotte, a Village Laguna crusader who spent countless hours cajoling the owners of these unique homes to allow hundreds of strangers to tramp through them for the cause. Check out that line! 
In the front yard on the left, this playful aviary houses doves. 
Here’s another view of the aviary and the giant bamboo.

If you go back and look at the front of the house, you can see where these Paolo Soleri windbells hanging on the front. Learn more about these bell on Carey’s personal Web site, One Laguna Life.

The red paint on the fence and trim were the perfect contrast to the plants, like these cacti.

Creative container gardens like these were all over the porches and yards. 
Another sweet little container of succulents.

Now we are in the generously sized backyard, 
which was bright and sunny despite all the large trees on the property.

The eclectic, untamed plantings were grounded by classic sculptures
 like this who were watching over the yard. 

It rained this morning, which is unusual for mid-May, but then cleared to a perfect, sunny day.

The owners had the yard cordoned off in places so I couldn’t always get as close as I wanted, but there were plenty of little stone and brick pathways to access most of the plantings.
Like I wish I could have gotten a closer look at this little garden shed in the way back.

Their kitty, named Eleanor, didn’t seem at all bothered by the throngs of visitors.

This giant cactus must have been at least 30 year old.

This is the side yard. You can bet these ferns were here long before the current “vertical garden” craze.
More from the side of the house. 

Everywhere you looked, tons of flowers, very happy flowers.

I know this tour took so much work, and would not have happened without an army of volunteers and the generous homeowners. Exploring homes and gardens like these help us all remember what we have, and how it’s worth the effort to protect it! 
Because once a little bungalow like this is gone, it’s gone forever.
Click here if you want to learn more about Village Laguna.

6 thoughts on “Charmed

  1. lots of great funky details in these pics but my favorite is what looks like a stack of different colored terracotta pot dishes under a pot (in the photo with the bamboo and the pigeon house)

  2. Holy moses – what an incredible home / property / garden! It's so cool that you got an up close look at it. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous, inspirational photos. The details are just incredible – It's a dream house and garden! Ahhhhh!

  3. Just doing my usual catching up of the blogs! I regard your blog as like a fantastic and inspirational coffee table book! This post is not an exception, so much to take in….

  4. What a beautiful home! Lots of beautiful flowers and interesting things to see. I need to go on a home garden tour sometime.

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