Anyone who has ever been curious enough to peer beyond the frontal wedges and guarded front doors of some of Venice’s most architecturally savvy residents, this Cinco de Mayo may offer Santa Monica residents and other locals an opportunity to freely snoop about.
Highlighting 30 gardens and homes, the Venice Garden & Home Tour arrives on May 5 and raises money for the Las Doradas Children’s Center. According to organizers, the annual fundraising event will give “visitors a look at intriguing gardens and architectural gems hidden behind gates and hedges and features homes from Venice’s historic past and the latest trends in landscaping and contemporary architecture.”
The tour will take place in Venice neighborhoods east of Lincoln Boulevard and continue through the Gregory Ain tract in neighboring Mar Vista.
“Tour-goers will walk, ride, or bike through quiet, sun-drenched neighborhoods, but distinctly different from the bustling beach community,” organizers stated. “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.”
Among the featured architects who designed the contemporary gardens and homes are Tom Carson, Gabriella Frears, Dennis Gibbens, Daniel Monto, Santiago Ortiz, Ron Radziner, and Molly Reid. Featured landscape designers include Russ Cletta, Jay Griffith, Rob Jones, and Suzane McKevitt, among others.
“Visitors will notice vibrant color everywhere,” organizers stated. “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 increased use of drought tolerant plants.”
According to organizers, tour-goers will be able to visit several artist studios, including one operated by Cliff Garten.
Earning top billing at this year’s Garden & Home Tour is the “architecturally significant Gregory Ain tract, a ‘Utopian’ enclave of 52 modest one-story homes from 1947 tucked into Mar Vista.”
The Venice Garden & Home Tour launched 19 years ago and raises funds for the 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.”
A self-guided tour, this year’s event starts, rain or shine, at the Las Doradas Children’s Center at 804 Broadway, or the corner of Broadway and Pleasant View in Venice. The tour begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. Tax-deductible tickets are $60 before Saturday and $70 on May 5; children under age 12 are admitted free. Parking is available in the surrounding neighborhood, though organizers encourage patrons to bike to the event. Shuttle buses are also available.
For more information, call 310.821.1857 or visit the tour’s website at www.venicegardentour.org.