Desert connection

Echo the natural landscape with rustic materials and native plants

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McCoy and Simon removed the wall and stripped away non-native vegetation. Ten Eyck added broad terraces of decomposed granite edged with steel headers and used the same steel to define planted areas, most of which are filled with grids of deer grass. Rows of desert milkweed fill another steel-edged rectangle, and ocotillo and golden barrel cactus lend their sculptural presence to a steel-framed raised bed in the center terrace. Though most of these edgers simply create patterns, others act as low retaining walls for the landscape's subtle grade changes.

"We love how Christy carved the earth and made individual plant species stand out," says Simon. "The look is clean and architectural." It's also practical. Besides blending in with native soil, decomposed granite is a relatively inexpensive form of hardscape ― important when you're covering large areas.


The opposite section of the garden presented a completely different problem. A neighboring house pressed in close, and the adjoining yards bled into each other without delineation. Ten Eyck enclosed this space, turning it into an intimate entry courtyard. Then, to compensate for its lack of view, she planted more lushly than she had on the south side.

"The north and south gardens are literal extensions of the house, so it's like adding two new rooms," says Simon. Best of all, the new design connects the couple to the larger landscape, so now the desert feels like their space too. "When we look out, the landscape seems to be growing up around us," she adds. "It's like being hugged by the desert."



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