Paths and nooks in Deborah Ballard’s garden give it a feel that is very similar to the Arboretum. Several sculptures by Ballard are interspersed throughout. (Photo: Jo England)
When Deborah Ballard moved into her Casa Linda Estates home 30 years ago, the backyard was a blank canvas with a few bushes here and there and some large, mature trees that dotted the lawn. It was perfect for Ballard, a nationally known sculptor and instructor at SMU, who has since transformed her private oasis into a lush garden that is home to some of her favorite works.
“Every time I’d have a little bit of extra money I’d buy one of those $2.99 plants and shrubs,” Ballard said. Those little investments have made for a big payoff, as the artist has created a memorable garden she enjoys year-round. Her outdoor space is just one of nine you can tour this Sunday, May 17, during the 14th annual White Rock East Garden Tour & Artisan fair. The tour also includes a stop at the Promise of Peace community garden and an art fair and plant sale at Casa Linda Park.
Realtor Vicki White has sponsored this garden tour from the beginning, she says, because she’s passionate about the lake and the gardens that make up the Lake and Garden District.
“I was born and raised right here in this East Dallas neighborhood,” White said. “The people are so genuine and friendly; no Zip code snobs here. We all truly enjoy going on the area home tours and garden tours because, let’s face it, this area is just different. So many trees and mature landscape, and sometimes it’s a little quirky.”
Quirky is good, of course, and Ballard says, most people will notice the sculptures first at her home on Selva Street in Casa Linda Estates, as the abstracted human forms dot the landscape. Some are hidden and made to look like rocks, while some are more obvious. There are several in the front yard, which have prompted people to stop and actually knock on her door to ask if they can tour her garden.
“We do get a lot of people who stop, and that’s why we put the bushes up,” Ballard says of the hedges that line the curb of her home. “It gives people a sign that this is private property.”
So if you’ve driven by Ballard’s home several times and have always wanted to see the gardens but you weren’t so brazen to knock, here’s your chance. Jump for more photos of this lovely sculpture garden, as well as more information on how to purchase your tickets the May 17 garden tour.