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The Venice Garden and Home Tour returns on May 5.  The residence above was designed by Marmol Radziner and the garden was designed by Marmol Radziner’s landscape architects.
Courtesy photo
The Venice Garden and Home Tour returns on May 5. The residence above was designed by Marmol Radziner and the garden was designed by Marmol Radziner’s landscape architects.

Venice, Seven Days, Santa Monica, Home, Gardening, Architecture

Venice Garden & Home Tour Returns May 5

Posted Apr. 26, 2012, 4:58 am

Mirror Staff

The much anticipated Venice Garden & Home Tour returns on the first Saturday of next month with 30 gardens and homes to be showcased as part of the fundraising event for the Neighborhood Youth Association’s Las Doradas Children’s Center.

Visitors will have an opportunity to look at what’s intriguing behind gates and hedges in the Venice neighborhood east of Lincoln Boulevard, a short distance from bustling Abbot Kinney and the beach community.

Tour-goers will visit traditional Craftsman and pre-war stucco homes, stunning contemporary designs by leading local architects and will have a rare opportunity to tour homes in the architecturally significant Gregory Ain tract in Mar Vista.

This neighborhood of wide streets and generous lots, where celery and bean fields were once farmed by the Japanese before World War II, is a unique reflection of the California dream.

For decades, Venice homeowners have embraced a California lifestyle of “flexibility, openness, experimentation and the abolition of boundaries by blurring the distinctions between indoors and out…” as aptly observed by Wendy Kaplan in “Living In a Modern Way, California Design 1950-1965,” the subject of LACMA’s “Pacific Standard Time” exhibit.

The self-guided walking Venice Garden and Home Tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, starts at the Las Doradas Children’s Center, 804 Broadway, at the corner of Broadway and Pleasant View, in Venice.

Neighborhood parking is available as are shuttle buses, food stands, and food trucks; biking to the tour is encouraged.

Tour-goers will see contemporary homes and gardens by some of Los Angeles’ innovative homeowners, architects, and designers including Tom Carson, Gabriella Frears, Dennis Gibbens, Daniel Monti, Santiago Ortiz, Ron Radziner, Molly Reid, and Renzo Zecchetto and by landscape designers Russ Cletta, Jay Griffith, Rob Jones, and Suzanne McKevitt, among others.

Visitors will notice vibrant color everywhere; touches of gold and burnt orange blooms contrast with muted chocolate browns, green and gray backgrounds.

Rust colored stuccos and barn red wood structures stand near sleek, white contemporary cubs.

These Venice gardens are carefully planned and nurtured settings that bring nature indoors, create landscaped spaces between home office and family residence, include pocket vegetable gardens, rooftop plantings, and an increasing use of drought tolerant plants.

Venice residents see the trends with unique use of space and materials, make and display art to enrich their lives, and take pride in generously opening their gardens to visitors.

A feature of this year’s garden tour will be the architecturally significant Gregory Ain tract, a “Utopian” enclave of 52 modest one- story homes from 1947 tucked into Mar Vista. Landscape architect Garrett Eckbo planted rows of trees to create a streetscape that unifies the neighborhood and gives it a park-like atmosphere.

Founded 19 years ago, the Venice Garden & Home Tour is the fundraising event that draws visitors from all over California and gives financial support for NYA’s Las Doradas Children’s Center, a licensed child care facility in Venice that provides full-time, education-based child care to low-income working families.

In operation since 1991, the center offers children an opportunity for the care and additional guidance that prepares them to be effective learners, ready and eager to enter and excel in kindergarten, and soon become productive fulfilled members of the community.

Tax-deductible, non-refundable, rain-or-shine tickets are $60 advance purchase, $70 if purchased day-of-the-event.

Children under 12 years of age are admitted free.

For tickets and information, call 310.821.1857, email, or visit

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