Steven Gunther

Desert tradition now in Southern California

Sharon Cohoon,  – November 5, 2004

Joann Clark’s house and garden in Yorba Linda would look right at home in Tucson. That’s just what she wanted. Clark, owner of the interior designer firm Artistic Design & Company, fell in love with the desert while gathering ideas there for a client. Though she loved Southwestern style, it was the resource-respecting philosophy behind it that really sold her. “I admire the way Southwestern architecture and landscaping work with the climate instead of fighting it,” she says, “and how nothing is wasted, especially water.”

When it came time to renovate her home in Yorba Linda, she knew she wanted a pueblo style. When she turned to landscaping, a Southwestern motif was again her choice. That meant very little turf, lots of rock mulch, and a rainfall-collecting, dry creek bed that doubles as a design feature. The reservoir, which runs under the bridge leading to the entrance, also solved the problem of rainfall draining toward the house, which is 8 feet below street grade.

Southwestern landscaping also meant using tough, nondemanding plants such as palo verde and mesquite trees, prickly pear cactus, purple fountain grass, santolina, and red bougainvillea, another desert tradition.

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