The tranquility and beauty of well-designed local gardens, often maintained on property away from the eyes of the general public, will be on display for ticket holders at upcoming charity garden tours in Venice and Westchester.

The annual Venice Garden & Home Tour, which raises funds for the Neighborhood Youth Associationís Las Doradas Childrenís Center, is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 5th, and starts at the childrenís center, 804 Broadway, Venice. Tickets are $70. Children under 12 are admitted free when in the company of an adult.

About 40 gardens are included on the tour, which has been held annually for the past 13 years.

The Westchester Mental Health Guild Showcase Tour of Westchester/Playa del Rey Gardens, which benefits the Airport Marina Counseling Service, is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 6th, with tickets available at The Guilded Cage, 8917-B Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester. Tickets are $25.

This is the fourth year of the Westchester garden tour.

VENICE — Last yearís tour through the walk streets and stylized properties of Venice raised about $200,000 for the Las Doradas Childrenís Center.

Each year, different neighborhoods are highlighted on the tour. This year, properties a short stroll east of the shops and cafÈs on Abbot Kinney Boulevard will be featured, including gardens only accessible by the areaís “walk streets.”

Many of the gardens encompass entire yards (small as some Venice yards may be) with a focus on replacing high maintenance grass lawns with visually interesting plants and shrubs that are more native and manageable in the Southern California environment, organizers say.

This yearís tour features beach bungalows with trailing roses and intimate pocket gardens, as well as contemporary homes showcasing current art and the California indoor/outdoor lifestyle, organizers say.

Landscapes sculpted by designers Jay Griffith, Russ Cletta, Barry Campion, Stefan Hammerschmidt, Mark Tessler, Mario Violich and Kathleen Irvine will be featured on the tour.

The tour was started as a fundraising idea by acclaimed Venice landscape designer Griffith along with Venice community leaders Linda Lucks and Jan Brilliot, in response to the financial needs of the Neighborhood Youth Associationís Las Doradas Childrenís Center and Learning Center.

“As early as November, I start walking the neighborhoods in Venice, peering over fences, knocking on doors, looking for beautiful gardens to feature on the tour,” says Brilliot, saving fellow garden enthusiasts the trouble. “Usually people are pretty receptive to opening their properties up and being part of the tour.”

The tour is now a main fundraiser for the programming of the Las Doradas Childrenís Center.

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the Neighborhood Youth Association, a charity started in 1906 by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

“The Las Doradas Childrenís Center is a safe haven for children with bright minds who are carefully nurtured by a dedicated staff,” says Vendella Barnett, executive director of the Neighborhood Youth Association. “These children become effective learners who are ready to enter and excel in kindergarten,” she says, detailing the mission of the program.

Information, (310) 821-1857.

WESTCHESTER — Eight select gardens from the Westchester and Playa del Rey area will be on view for the Westchester Mental Health Guild Showcase Tour.

Gardens that incorporate ideas and feelings of tranquility with visual beauty were chosen for the tour route, organizers say.

A designated home along the route will provide refreshments and will feature a plant and gift sale.

The tourís beneficiary, the Airport Marina Counseling Service, is now in its 45th year of providing affordable mental health care to the community of Westchester and surrounding areas.

Airport Marina Counseling Service (AMCS) is a private, nonprofit outpatient mental health clinic that has been serving the greater LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) region since 1961. The mission of the organization is both to provide excellent, affordable and professional mental health services; and to train mental health professionals.

The service was founded in 1961 after community leaders realized that there were no mental health services available in the Westchester area.

Demand for services rapidly increased once AMCS opened, and the clinic became the major provider of mental health services to adults, children and families living and working in Culver City, El Segundo, Inglewood, LAX, Marina and Playa del Rey, Venice, Westchester and West Los Angeles.

Information, (310) 641-7850.