Living on the edge

Enjoy year-round outdoor living

Tucson ― Residing in the desert has many advantages, including year-round outdoor living and the ability to grow a wonderful diversity of plants.

Owners Barbara Gutek and Geza Bottlik appreciate all the desert has to offer, including the many birds that visit their property. So when they hired Jeffrey Trent to design their desert-edge garden, they requested that it be suitable for entertaining both friends and wildlife.

The garden, which slopes away from the house, was parceled into a series of terraces to maximize the usable area. The upper terrace―with its outdoor kitchen, dining patio, and seat wall―is the main entertaining area. Surrounding it are many colorful native and desert-adapted plants that provide creatures with food and shelter. A small pond in the back welcomes visiting birds.

An intimate gathering spot on the middle terrace has a built-in fireplace edged with a low seat wall; square cutouts in the wall frame views of the desert.

The lowest and most intimate terrace ― screened by an existing California pepper tree ― is reserved for a spa. "It's a wonderful series of spaces for outdoor living," noted a juror. "The subdued colors and gentle transitions to the desert make the garden very unobtrusive."

DESIGN: Natural Order Inc., Tucson (520/792-9274)

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