The owners desired a landscape that would enhance outdoor living and provide an extension of the interior living spaces whilst embracing fluidity of movement and continuity of space between interiors and exteriors of their home. They entertain frequently and utilize the exterior spaces for outdoor dining and lounging. The client also desired a garden that was reflective of the desert, was easy to maintain and one that incorporated unusual cactus and succulents. The landscape architect and homeowner worked together to site major landscape features, and capture and enhance views of Camelback Mountain, the region’s prominent landmark, from various vantage points within the house and site. The landscape consists of clean, simple geometries to reduce clutter in a relatively small yard. Layers of cacti and succulents were composed, creating galleries in the landscape, in much the same way as the gardens of Lotusland; however, the ground plane was kept purposely low profile, endorsing the sculptural columnar cacti as the focal points in the garden. To create some movement in the landscape, the cactus and succulent groupings were stippled with native grasses. Context sensitive and passive sustainable strategies were employed to collect and filter roof rainwater - the rock and cacti garden adjacent to the house relies on this occasional watering for survival. Featured plantings in the dry garden include the rare Cephalocereus senilis Old Man Cactus, Pachycereus weberi Candelabro, Echinocactus strausii Silver Torch and Lophocereus schottii monstrous Totem Pole Cactus. The zero edge black pool creates a large reflective sculpture punctuating the gardens around it, capturing the reflection of the sky, the fire at night, and adjacent unusual sculptural plant palette, creating wonder in the landscape. A small fire feature is located at the end of the pool for intimate outdoor gatherings. Two Parkinsonia microphylla Foothill Palo Verde Trees, native to this part of the Sonoran Desert, were added as shade, habitat and as a perfect contrast against the black and gray house finish.
Location: Paradise Valley, Arizona
Completion Date: 2016
Schematic Hardscape Design
2018 AZASLA Design Excellence Award