To really see Laity Lodge’s landscape, you’re going to need a few different perspectives.
Start with a super-wide angle. Go a few miles above Earth, then look down—not just at the Hill Country, but all of it. Of the available square miles on the planet, only about 50 million acres are ice-free. In the last few thousand years, humans have managed to transform more than half of that land, writes journalist Elizabeth Kolbert, “by converting it to cropland and pasture, but also by building cities and shopping malls and reservoirs, and by logging and mining and quarrying.”
The longer we’re here, the more we’re learning that because we’ve transformed so much land, we’re also going to have to transform it back—rewilding as much land as we can.
Now, come back down, all the way to the Lodge, which has become a good bit more wild in recent years thanks to a renovation engineered by Austin-based Ten Eyck Landscape Architects. Walk the property with fresh eyes, starting up the hill at the facility known as Cedar Brake and working your way down the path past the Lodge and to the river, looking all around you as you go.
Not long ago, your walk would have been across a parking lot, then through a well-manicured lawn framed by shrubs and trees mounded with mulch beds. It was a nice walk, the caliche rock lot notwithstanding. But it was not a walk through the wild.
When the Foundation rebuilt Laity Lodge and installed the facility known as Cedar Brake in 2015-2017, we replaced the lot and lawns with meadows and a woodland garden, along with an improved fountain, new seating areas, and more. Today, the Lodge’s land is wild again, and with each season, it gets a bit wilder.