Ranch dressing

Regional: Tucson, Arizona

This Tucson garden, shaded by mesquite trees and a eucalyptus and lushly planted with desert-adapted shrubs and grasses, has the look and feel of a historic Southwest rancho. "This hands-down favorite really achieves the look of the southern Sonoran Desert, and all in an urban setting," said an impressed juror. "The ocotillo fencing, stone ramada, and lush plantings feel very original."

Though the garden looks mellowed by time, landscape designer Jeffrey Trent completed the work just three years ago. He removed old sheds, crumbling walls, railroad ties, paving, and most shrubs. In their place he built a stone ramada and entry arbor to resemble a 1930s WPA structure.

A preexisting fountain encircled by brick paving became the garden's focal point, connected by a flagstone patio to the house. Low seat walls define the patio's perimeter. Behind them are beds of lush-looking desert plants. Ocotillo fencing protects the pool area at the rear of the property.

"This designer had a real sensitivity to the color and feel of the desert," summed up one juror.

Designer: Jeffrey Trent, Tucson (520/792-9274)