Bud and Barbara Hoover's garden complements their 1920s house so gracefully you'd assume it was installed at the same time. Not so. Palm Springs homes of that era rarely had gardens: "They had sand," says Barbara. Water wasn't as plentiful then, plus people usually spent only a few weeks in residence.
When the Hoovers renovated this home in 1989, they planned to live there a good part of each year. So, without compromising the structure's character, they added a few comforts like the pergola over an outdoor dining area.
Then they asked landscape architect Michael Buccino of Palm Desert, California, to take a similarly restrained approach with the garden. To provide shade, he brought in mature trees such as mesquite and jacaranda. He covered much of the ground with handsome hardscape, including native stone and river rocks for texture and pattern. In the remaining spaces, he placed plants with bold, sculptural shapes like golden barrel and organpipe cactus and fan palms. Containers of flowers, such as the pelargoniums and petunias shown in the photo, add dashes of seasonal color. The resulting garden "reflects the tranquillity and strength of the desert," says Buccino.