"Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'" observed comedian Robin Williams.
One way to celebrate the outdoors this season is to peek inside the homes and gardens that open to the public for viewing.
Here are five area home and garden tours happening in the next few weeks.
AIA Fort Worth Homes Tour
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Architectural design junkies can experience four residential styles with the added bonus of speaking with representatives from each property's architects on the American Institute of Architects' second home tour.
Architect Norman Ward's home, on acreage with trees and pasture, is made up of four pavilions under one roof, built in concert with its natural surroundings. Considerations were made for wind, sunlight and views.
Architect Brandon Allen's 1948 brick home in Ryan Place represents the contemporary renovation of an older house, a completely reworked interior within the home's original footprint. Similarly, a 1925 craftsman bungalow remodel by Firm 817 has preserved the home's original character while updating the interior and adding on.
The fourth home, a midcentury modern built in 1967 by noted architect Lee Roy Hahnfeld, remains largely unchanged. Its original architecture is complemented by the owners' collection of midcentury modern furniture and accessories.
"Our tour appeals to anyone interested in design, home renovation, anyone in the Metroplex thinking of hiring an architect. This is a demonstration of what local architects can do," says Alesha Niedziela, Associate AIA executive director.
Noon-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Tickets are $25, $10 for individual homes, available at the Center for Architecture, 3425 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, and at each home on the tour.
Tour home addresses are 240 Loma Blanca Lane, 3900 Bunting Ave., 3020 Sixth Ave. and 1740 Vinewood St., all in Fort Worth.
For details, visit www.aiafortworth.org.
Southlake Garden Tour
Although the Perennial Garden Society sponsors the Southlake Garden Tour, "we definitely don't discriminate," says tour co-chairwoman Beckie Underwood.
The tour spotlights six Southlake gardens and features learning opportunities tied to characteristics of the gardens themselves. The educational component is what sets the Southlake tour apart, says Underwood. "We're providing some very beautiful gardens and the educational aspect of [gardening] at a very affordable price."
The tour includes a certified natural habitat showcasing water conservation with drought-tolerant native plants, rain barrels and pond-supplied irrigation; a swimming pool that evolved into a pond when poor drainage and runoff were constantly wreaking havoc; a built-in mosquito-control misting system that resuscitated a shady back yard; and an English cottage-style garden thriving despite North Texas conditions.
Experts on hand will include Tarrant County Master Gardeners; representatives from the city of Southlake, Alpine Materials and the Bob Jones Nature Center; and radio personality Marilyn Simmons, an expert on organic square-foot gardening.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday
Tickets are $8 in advance, available at Calloway's Nursery, 760 Grapevine Highway in Hurst, 291 E. Southlake Blvd. in Southlake, 2901 Long Prairie Road in Flower Mound, and 1424 N. Center St. and 4940 S. Cooper St. in Arlington; Marshall Grain, 3525 William D. Tate Ave. in Grapevine; and North Richland Hills Farmer's Market, 7700 Davis Blvd. in North Richland Hills. You can also purchase them on the day, for $10, at any garden on the tour.
Tour garden addresses are 225 E. Bob Jones Road, 107 Wilmington Court, 1305 Wakefield Court, 710 Deer Hollow Road, 1750 Hunters Creek St. and 1502 Iron Court, all in Southlake.
For details, visit www.southlakegardentour.org.
Colleyville Garden Club's Promenade Garden Tour
This nationally recognized tour celebrates its 20th year with three creative gardens in Colleyville and one in Grapevine. The tour, designed for gardeners and nongardeners alike, also hosts a plant sale of member-grown plants appropriate for North Texas and a raffle of garden-related items and services.
Gardens include a 3/4-acre space of winding paths and vintage vignettes that backs up to a natural area; a former farm with flowers skirting unusual natural rock formations; and a spectacular outdoor kitchen with a fireplace and other areas of sanctuary for reflection and conversation.
"The fourth garden shows what can be done when you've downsized and you have a smaller garden footprint," says Susan Taylor, tour chairwoman. The front and side gardens of this zero-lot-line home display a water feature and an abundance of color and texture in every season, with more than 45 varieties of plant life.
"Our 'Water Smart' educational exhibits on rain harvesting and drip irrigation will appeal to everyone's desire for plants in bloom during our typically hot, dry summers," Taylor says.
Tarrant County Master Gardeners and the club's members will be on hand to answer questions.
11 a.m.-4 p.m. May 5
Tickets $12 in advance, $15 day of tour. Available at Foreman's, 3801 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville; Market Street, 5605 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville; Blooming Colors, 2221 Ira E. Woods Ave., Grapevine; Marshall Grain, 3525 William D. Tate Ave., Grapevine; Calloway's Nursery, 760 Grapevine Highway, Hurst, and 291 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake; and Weston Gardens in Bloom, 8101 Anglin Drive, Fort Worth.
Garden addresses and a map are supplied with the ticket.
For details, visit www.colleyvillegardenclub.org.
Fairmount Tour of Homes
This charming neighborhood of bungalows and four-square homes with picket-fenced front yards and wide porches welcomes the rest of town to experience its hospitality.
Five neighborhood homes, one restoration-in-progress, one commercial property and a bonus home reveal a recurring theme, says Fairmount resident historian Mike McDermott: "Reusing and repurposing old discarded or unused items."
"This includes the renovation and reuse of the old home itself," he says, and extends to the materials used to refurbish and furnish the homes, as well.
Some, like the Shanklin home, feature original details such as ceiling box beams, built-in bookshelves and hardwood floors.
Others, like the Gerhart-Trotter home, represent "green" choices made in the restoration process, such as using old woodwork on the property to construct a new wet bar and installing cork and bamboo flooring to replace deteriorated wood floors.
The entry of the Rehling-Macdonald home makes a dramatic statement with a salvaged bank of vintage casement windows repurposed as a display cabinet.
Since the Pereda home had been virtually stripped of all original features, the homeowners hired a local craftsman to restore interior doors using mortise and tenon construction, befitting the home's period.
"This adaptive reuse contributes to Fort Worth's love of history," McDermott says.
Noon-6 p.m. May 11-12
Tickets $12 in advance, available at Old Home Supply, 1801 College Ave.; The Butler's Antiques, 2221 Eighth Ave.; Montgomery Street Antique Mall, 2601 Montgomery St.; and Old Neighborhood Grill, 1633 Park Place Ave., all in Fort Worth. Or buy online through May 10 at www.historicfairmount.com. On event days, tickets, $18, will be available at SiNaCa Studios at 1013 W. Magnolia St.
Tour home addresses are 1425 Alston Ave., 1966 Alston Ave., 1213 Carlock St., 1416 Henderson St., 1626 Lipscomb St., 2244 Fifth Ave., Pendery's, 1407 Eighth Ave. and 14 Chase Court.
Hidden Gardens of Fort Worth
For its 10th anniversary, the Hidden Gardens tour returns to the Ridglea Hills neighborhood and its established landscapes.
"Midcentury modern is finally in. And that area is known for it because of all the architecture. It's a beautiful area that needs to be celebrated," says Suzy Coleman, Historic Fort Worth special events coordinator.
Ridglea Hills, once farmland, boasts properties with large lots, and the smallest garden on this tour is 1 acre. The largest is a gated community of townhomes on a 5-acre property that once hosted the sculpture garden of an oil baron. Today, townhome residents share a 1-acre pond graced by swans, a wisteria-draped gazebo and lovely landscapes of water lilies, junipers, azaleas, flowering quince and roses.
A 3-acre property on the tour welcomes guests with 90 feet of Old Blush roses along the drive before delighting them with perennial and Japanese garden elements. Two other homes display gardens reflecting graceful outdoor living, with an alfresco shower, pools with cabana houses and a generous vegetable garden.
The tour spotlights how, despite generous lots, "it's all been utilized for a family's use," says Coleman.
Noon-6 p.m. May 19
Tickets $20 in advance, $25 on the day, and available at Archie's Gardenland, 6700 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth; Calloway's Nursery, 2651 S. Hulen St., Fort Worth (no ticket sales on tour day); Into the Garden, 4600 Dexter Ave., Fort Worth, and 3300 Knox St., No. 200, Dallas; and McFarland House, 1110 Penn St., Fort Worth. Or buy online at www.historicfortworth.org.
Garden locations provided with tickets.