Judy Alfred didn't study proper gardening techniques -- she preferred to do it her own way.

The result: Her backyard is a botanical bonanza, richly patterned with soft and hard textures, copious amounts of color and the soothing sound of running water, courtesy of a fountain in a small pond that contains goldfish.

"I love landscaping and gardening," she said.

Alfred's house at 373 E. Stewart Ave. is one of 10 on the 18th annual Merion Village Garden Tour, slated for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 9.

It is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Merion Village Association's website, merion village.org.

"We have a really nice mix of urban farmers with edible gardens, but also a variety of flowers and creative gardens," said Allison Willford, president of the Merion Village Association and chairwoman of the tour committee.

Alfred managed to pack a lot of plants and trees -- hydrangeas, Japanese maples, boxwoods, pachysandra, daisies and the like -- in her narrow backyard, bookended by a private fence.

She laid every single piece of her brick walkway and stone borders herself and planted a vegetable-and-herb garden replete with dill, basil, tomatoes and parsley, among others.

Her son, Doug, whose house at 62 E. Mithoff St. also is on the tour, said he followed his mother's example.

"I got the bug from her," he said.

Free pedicab services will be offered throughout the day, Willford said.

An ice-cream social, also free, will be held from noon to 3 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 322 Stewart Ave.

Activities also are planned in Moeller Park. The Merion Village Association will sell memberships and T-shirts and hold a raffle.