Tours offer inspiration for your new-to-you home

From new builds and renovations to small-space gardens and large acreages, find lots of ideas around the region

The annual Victoria Conservatory of Music Mother’s Day Garden Tour has been offering inspiring ideas since 1982.

The purchase of a new-to-you home is exciting, but knowing just how to put your own stamp on the house and garden can prove a challenge.

Good news for those making the move this spring, this is also the season local organizations throw open the doors on some of the region’s finest – and most inspirational – properties.

Not only will the homes and gardens provide plenty of design ideas, but the tours are also significant fundraisers for local non-profits.

Here’s what’s coming up in Oak Bay and around Greater Victoria.

First on the calendar is the long-standing Young Life Home Tour, marking 26 years on April 30 and May 1.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, this self-guided tour allows guests to navigate through 12 homes at their own pace, taking in all the projects in one day, or spreading the tour over two days. Proceeds support the work of Young Life, a non-profit organization that fosters meaningful and life-changing relationships with youth in Victoria.

This year’s tour features an eclectic mix of whole home renovations, new builds and some uniquely designed kitchens and family rooms in the Oak Bay, Victoria and West Shore areas. Included are two waterfront properties, plus three homes with some of the most spectacular views in the city, organizers say.

Weekend passes are $25, available at Dig This Oak Bay and a number of other locations around the region – visit younglife.ca/victoria-home-tour/ for more details.

The following weekend takes guests to some of the region’s most breathtaking gardens, for the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Mother’s Day Garden Tour, May 7 and 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

A Mother’s Day weekend staple since 1982, a two-day pass grants exclusive passage to 10 enchanting private gardens where live music from conservatory students and faculty will also entertain. On-site Master Gardeners will also answer garden-related questions.

Bring a camera and take away ideas for must-have plants and inspired design ideas from gardens ranging from exotic to native, established to new, country acreage to city spaces.

Garden tour tickets are $30 in person or $33.20 online (children 12 years and younger are free) from the conservatory, 900 Johnson St., from 250-386-5311 or from eventbrite.ca.

From grand landscapes to beautiful gardens of tiny proportions, Victoria Hospice’s 11th annual Teeny Tiny Garden Tour is coming up Sunday, June 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The self-guided tour allows guests to discover some of the region’s loveliest spaces, all crafted in smaller scale. Tickets are $25, on sale starting in May.

For more information, visit victoriahospice.org.

Looking ahead to summer, Oak Bay will figure prominently in the 10th annual For the Love of Africa Society’s Water Garden Tour, July 9. As always, the self-guided tour will feature gardens portraying what can be achieved in this uniquely picturesque environment, including fountains, streams, ponds and waterfalls, tucked into the surrounding suburban and rural landscapes.

In addition to music and Master Gardeners at several stops, each garden will also have volunteers available to answer questions about the For the Love of Africa Society, a Victoria-based organization that raises funds for projects in Africa.

For tickets and details, visit watergardentour.ca/

Finally, the self-guided Art Gallery of Greater Victoria Home Tour arrives on Sept. 11 this year, showcasing some of the region’s loveliest homes, all in support of the art gallery.

More information and ticket details will be available closer to the tour date at aggv.ca.

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