A merry & bright holiday garden

Juan Acosta’s yard becomes a bright and cheery display of twinkling lights and classic Christmas characters after dark. DAILY RECORD PHOTO BY RACHEL WILLIS

December Yard of the Month

Juan Acosta’s yard has something blooming all year long, but Christmas decorations take center stage in December at his home onLockwood Drive just off Broadway Street in San Marcos.

Acosta notes that he uses the same collection of lights and decorations every year, but changes the arrangement to keep his display fresh and interesting. Meanwhile, his everyday landscape still shines in the background, including a yearround display of small garden gnomes interspersed with annual flowers in well-mulched beds beside the walkways.

A snowman stands beside neatly trimmed yaupon hollies lining the driveway, in front of a large blooming hibiscus against house wall. PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE SPRING LAKE GARDEN CLUB

A star motif was an original part of the landscape plan, with the front yard dominated by a large five-pointed planting bed edged with limestone blocks surrounding a red oak. The oak has grown significantly since the Acosta home was featured as Spring Lake Garden Club’s yard of the month in March 2012, but plants around it now feature a striking chartreuse sweet potato vine and a purple variety near the base of the tree. Healthy hibiscus plants next to the house were also noted five years ago, and their fuchsia and yellow blooms are part of the landscape’s preference for these colors, plus pink and blue.

Another enduring part of the landscape is neatly trimmed and evenly spaced small green shrubs, mostly yaupon holly, but also ligustrum and pittosporum. Acosta trims these shrubs in round or square shapes in planting beds along the driveway and adds pots of flowers at the end of each line. A sago palm marks a side entrance to the backyard and a tall yew frames one side of the garage door. A gray cenizo trimmed up as a small tree partially screens the front porch. Roses line the edge of one side yard and carry out the garden’s color theme when in bloom.

Christmas decorations and lights fill Juan Acosta’s front yard while hanging flower pots on porch continue to add color.

Since his home was last featured as yard of the month, Acosta has added a metal roof over the front patio, offering a shady spot for seating near a large fountain and a place for hanging pots filled with petunias and impatiens. These flowering pots can be moved inside in case of very cold weather and Acosta installed a misting system for hot weather, which also helps cool the porch seating area. Acosta’s late mother lived with the family for several years, and she enjoyed sitting on the front patio, surveying the garden and accepting compliments on it from friends and neighbors who passed by.

A major drainage project for the Acosta home, in response to recent heavy rains, is two french drains in the lawn, one on either side of the property, to direct water away from the house to the back yard. The drains are topped with white gravel that lead the eye toward plantings at both sides of the front yard. Even with a daily commute to work in Austin, Acosta still waters the landscape only by hand - both planting beds and lawn - and like all his garden work, he notes “It is very relaxing and I enjoy it so much.” Acosta adds mulch to the planting beds each year to keep plants cool in summer and improve the soil.

One permanent part of Acosta’s landscape is a simple white cross at one side of the yard, which at Christmas serves as the backdrop for a Nativity scene. Usually surrounded with flowers such as bright yellow marigolds, the cross in holiday mode uses two planters to edge a pile of hay holding the Nativity figures. Lights strung on the tall cross join the thousands of lights he has hung on house eaves and around the decorated front yard, wishing all who pass by a “Merry Christmas.”

More decorations fill the side yard between roses lining the fence and rounded yaupons edging the driveway.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666