Southwestern garden escape This Albuquerque backyard is a vacation in itself –– complete with road trips. See 5 things that make it work Designed for discovery Meandering paths, dry creek beds, and shared materials connect low-water planting areas, a shady patio, and grass-filled "traffic" circle. Design: Amy J. Steidlmayer, Red Twig Studio, Albuquerque (505/265-0082) Pinterest Vista point The arbor-shaded patio with banco seating invites guests to the garden’s far reaches. The fireplace is faced with the same cultured stone as the circular planter, visually connecting the two areas. Traffic island A large round planter, filled with 'Hameln' fountain grass, encourages a circular traffic pattern. It’s built of cement blocks and faced with cultured stone. Bridges Small wooden bridges span the path. In summer, the dry creekbed is a river of gold, thanks to the generous daisylike blooms of Perky Sue (Hymenoxys scaposa). Roadside attractions Carefully chosen plants prompt frequent stops along the route during every season. These include tawny grasses; yellow-flowered Perky Sue, potentilla, and turpentine bush; and blue-flowered Caryopteris. Rambling road The desert rose color of the fine gravel makes the path stand out from the coarser gray gravel mulch around it, inviting you to follow its lazy course.