For Bob and Gert Gebhardt of Penn Hills, a day toiling in their garden yields its just rewards.
"I'm so busy back here, there is no time for housework," Mrs. Gebhardt, 81, said of the couple's hillside garden filled with maple, oak and poplar trees, ferns, hostas, pachysandra, astilbe and more.
"At my age, I sometimes sit and watch the weeds grow and the world go by," Mr. Gebhardt, 83, said.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 14, the couple's yard -- which also has reflecting ponds and a stone bridge -- will be one of the stops on the Crescent Hills Yard & Garden Tour in the Penn Hills neighborhood of Crescent Hills.
The self-guided, rain-or-shine tour will include at least 12 gardens at homes within a 2-mile radius on Crescent Hills Road, Spring Grove Road, Hathaway Court, Glenfield Drive and others.
The first-time event is sponsored by the Crescent Hills Civic Association, which includes 600 homes.
Proceeds fund improvements to the association's Crescent Hills Park at 141 Sycamore Drive, which is maintained by volunteers and open to the public.
The tour begins at the home of John and Donna Frazier, 145 Crescent Hills Road, who are newcomers to the neighborhood and who battled lots of poison oak and ivy as they created a garden in what was not a garden space.
Highlights of their work-in-progress include a traditional lion head fountain, a rock garden with sedum and daylilies, and an herb garden with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
The garden of Robert and Sylvia Lynch is on about one acre with a natural woodland in the rear.
Their yard features a front lawn dinosaur-shaped rock garden, a koi pond, Japanese maples, rare woodland plants and several water features.
Geoffrey Goldberg has a Japanese rock garden, or karesansui, at his home. In it, gravel and sand are raked in ripple designs to represent air, fire, earth and water.
Association president Andrea Getsy and her husband, Jim, boast an English cottage garden, a profusion of tall and unstructured bushes and flowers. On its periphery is "Jack's Trail," a toddler walkway crafted for grandson Jack Marshall of New Kensington.
The trail is stocked with lifelike "wildlife" such as an alligator, bear, deer, snake, tree frogs and more to stimulate a child's interest in nature.
The grandparents' next labor of love will be fashioning a butterfly garden in its center.
For Mr. Getsy, the sky is the limit when it comes to gardening, with one's vision and creativity as guides.
"Then you just enjoy and relax,'' he said.
The tour ends in Crescent Hill Park, where free refreshments will be available and a garden-related sale and raffle will be held.
Tickets are $8 if purchased in advance, $10 if reserved or purchased on the day of the tour.
To purchase in advance, mail a check payable to Crescent Hills Civic Association to P.O. Box 17055, Pittsburgh 15235. Include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
Reserved tickets or those to be purchased on the day of the tour will be available at the first tour stop, 145 Crescent Hills Road, where maps and yard descriptions also will be available. To reserve tickets: Chris Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-793-1940.
For more information: Mrs. Frazier, 412-795-5235.
Margaret Smykla, freelance writer: email@example.com.