Things To Do in Austin:
The Greenhouse at Driftwood
A new event venue just west of Austin offers an elegant setting in nature.
“Not only is this a one-of-a-kind place in the Texas Hill Country, but it was also a big part of our love story,” says Harper Connell of the new special event and wedding venue, The Greenhouse at Driftwood. Before Harper and her husband Dave Connell transformed their small slice of utopia into a venue, the couple exchanged their own “I dos” amidst the lush wildflowers and century old Oaks that lie at the confluence of Onion and Jackson Creeks. “After Dave proposed, we knew without a doubt this was where we wanted to get married,” Harper says. “Through the planning process, and ultimately the wedding, we realized how well the place worked as a venue, and here we are!” The 80 acres property has been in Dave’s family for three generations, since a love for the outdoors brought the family to the oasis in the 1970s.
Today, the husband and wife team operate on their own, running the grounds for intimate dinners, large reception, and everything in between. Harper’s background in public relations and events has helped tremendously in creating a vision for the venue’s brand while Dave’s passion for the land has been invaluable in imagining the property’s potential. To achieve the perfect marriage of these two ideas, the team sought out Tom Hatch of Hatch Ulland Owen Architects to design a space that would offer an elegant backdrop for successful events while staying true to the natural beauty of the area.
As the name might suggest, the greenhouses are the highlight of the venue. Just to be clear, this is not your grandmother’s greenhouse. There are presently over 70 different species planted in not one but two beautifully constructed houses made of glass and steel. A 2.5-story desert greenhouse filled with soaring cacti, aloes, succulents, and pachypodia makes for the perfect backdrop for bridal portraits–or walk over to the property’s massive three-story tropical greenhouse where cycads, palms, orchids, and bromeliads flourish for colorful and romantic engagement shots year round.
Recreating the property into a fully functioning event venue was no small endeavor, but after three generations of caring for the land, the Connells are used to such labors of love. Attention to conservation and sustainability, they note, is a way of life here, where rainwater collection is the primary water source and most of their power needs are met with rooftop solar panels. “The greenhouses, the views, the architecture, the whole package is really romantic,” the couple says. “And it’s lovely to have other people see what we love about this special place.” The Greenhouse at Driftwood is currently booking events for 2015 and beyond. Tours are by appointment only.