Ocotillo Road Garden

Honor Award - Residential
Steve Martino
The original plan and photos show how this small land-locked garden was separated into two levels by two sets of stairs and dominated by boulder retaining walls. The clients wanted an elegant and modern outdoor space that related architecturally to their house and would be used for entertaining in a gallery-like setting which would showcase two large sculptures they had in storage. The boulders and stairs took up valuable floor space. The Landscape Architect removed the stairs and boulders, and lowered the upper terrace 4 feet. He expanded the garden to the west property line along the same contours eliminating cutting higher into the hill while providing needed new access to the back yard from the driveway. The existing non-native plants were replaced with southwest desert plants. The water channel creates a visual axis from the entry door to the prized Kaneko ceramic sculpture. New foldaway glass doors seamlessly connect the garden with the house and allow the water sounds to fill the interior. The spa area in the back corner was raised 4 feet for mountain views, the existing wall was raised and a second fireplace added for privacy from the adjacent houses. New steps lead up to the desert, while the desert plants spill down into the garden. The steps are classic ‘steps to no-where.’ They lead to neighbor’s property line – this ‘borrowed-scenery’ trick makes the adjacent open space look like part of this property. A long wall that wraps around the back terrace forms the garden. It’s material and form changes as it moves across the space. The designer tried to exploit every opportunity he could find to make this garden an extension to the house. The results is an elegant modern garden that celebrates its desert setting by making it part of the owners daily experience.

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