RICHMOND — Stepping out onto Bob and Carol Ann Vickers' second-floor balcony, the summer breeze plays in and out between stone pillars and into the manicured yard below, picking up the soft floral scents around the garden.
The free-flowing lines of the flower beds planted with vivid perennials, mimic the meandering lines of the grounds' focal point, a crystal blue in-ground pool.
Then beyond the crisp, crinkled edges of pink crape myrtles, bell-mouthed yellow daylilies, fuchsia rose bushes and wine-hued Japanese maples is a clear view of the Gibson Bay lake.
And that is only one of the homes on this section of the annual Art in the Garden Tour.
Three homeowners in the Gibson Bay golf course community in southwest Richmond will open their private gardens for Saturday's tour, which pairs alluring landscaping with local art. Seven homes will be featured during the event, organized by the Richmond Area Arts Council.
The homes on Highland Lakes Drive are testaments that it is not the size of the yard that matters, but what is done with it.
The Vickerses, who own one of the 17 homes on the Gibson Bay waterfront, said they enjoy the outdoor space for entertaining.
"It's really a nice party place. Bob and I like to entertain, so this is a nice place for us," Carol Ann Vickers said.
The perennials make the garden low- maintenance, and with grandchildren living out of state, the pool and water slide are highlights when they visit, she said.
Lovers of the performing arts, the Vickerses opened their home for the tour to Linda Pack and Pat Banks, the Central Kentucky author and local illustrator, respectively, of the new book Appalachian Toys and Games From A to Z.
Only a few houses away from the Vickerses' is Dan and Emily Jarosz's landscaped yard and manicured vegetable garden.
From the square plot of land the green tops of close to 20 vegetables grow out of homemade mulch from the Jaroszes' compost pile.
"Its amazing out here; most of the winter we will be eating from this little garden," Emily Jarosz said as her husband pulled up a beet from the garden.
Gardening runs in Emily Jarosz's family and is an economical way for the couple to eat healthy and enjoy fresh produce.
Tall trees and shrubs around the yard keep the house private as beds of geraniums, peonies and yellow daylilies add color and depth.
Artist Buddy Dobbins and his pottery will be featured in this garden.
Dobbins' pieces range in style from gourdlike vases glazed in jewel colors to classic baking dishes and bowls.
This is not Dobbins' first year working with the garden tour; his work has been featured before, and he and his art were requested back this year.
Barbara McGinnis' home, the tour's other featured garden in Gibson Bay, incorporates contemporary and folk art.
McGinnis described her garden as having a "Colonial Williamsburg flair" as birdhouses, statuary and decorative pots can be found among the flowers and trees.
"I love decorating, to be honest with you, so I extended it outside," McGinnis said, standing in front of one of the many birdhouses under the pergola over her back porch.
McGinnis said she had her home professionally landscaped when she moved in, but in the past year she started a rose garden, planted perennials, laurel, pink verbenas and spireas. Five lush green arborvitae shrubs tower over the edge of the garden and provide privacy for the yard.
"I haven't really cut it back because I like a green, lush look," McGinnis said.
Featured in McGinnis' garden is Robby Robertson's pervious concrete art. Seemingly ordinary slabs of concrete suspended on table legs turn into showers of crystal water droplets when wet.
The unique form of art seems to fit well with the neighborhood, residents say.
"Out here people seem to have their own style," Jarosz said. "I haven't seen one house that looks like something I've seen; they're all unique."IF YOU GO
Art in the Garden Tour
What: Tour of seven Richmond gardens with local artists and artwork on display in each
When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. June 22
Tickets: $12; available at any of the tour gardens.
Learn more: (859) 624-4242, Artsinrichmond.org
Participating gardens: Dan and Emily Jarosz, 389 Highland Lakes Dr.; Barbara McGinnis, 369 Highland Lakes Dr.; Bob and Carol Ann Vickers, 356 Highland Lakes Dr.; Johnnie and Ronda Allen, 824 W. Main St.; Secret Garden, Hickory Hills, off Goggins Ln.; Gentry and Dinah Deck, 119 Mahogany Dr.; and Gary and Kathy Acker, 90 Foxtown Rd.