Meadows and more

The newest trend in Santa Fe gardens embraces the natural landscape

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  • The rough-hewn table on the portal was created by Luis Tapia, a Santa Fe artisan, but the wrought-iron chairs and St. Francis statue are from Mexico, and the rugs and pillows are from India. Because they all share the same earthy tones and handcrafted aesthetic, everything harmonizes.

    Table

    NORM PLATE

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Landscape lessons

Soften up. For a lusher, more natural-looking garden, use drought-tolerant groundcovers rather than hardscaping wherever possible. Most of Betty and Jonathan Calvert's backyard, for instance, is a meadow of blue grama grass , which can get by on natural rainfall, says Richard Wilder.

Mimic nature. Plants in nature are opportunistic; they tend to congregate where conditions are particularly favorable. That might be on the leeward side of a windbreak or near a water source . For a convincingly natural look, follow the same patterns. And always plant in curves or swirls ― nature never lines up in rows.

Regionalize. Select plants that thrive in your soil, climate, and rainfall patterns, and they'll look at home even if they're not indigenous. Catmint is one good example. Another, in the entry garden, is thyme; Wilder added it between the paving to soften the space. Decorative items should look at home too: The rough-hewn table on the portal was created by Luis Tapia, a Santa Fe artisan, but the wrought-iron chairs and St. Francis statue are from Mexico, and the rugs and pillows are from India. Because they all share the same earthy tones and handcrafted aesthetic, everything harmonizes.

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