Gato Loco…A Re-Cycling Story

Surprise, surprise! Everything came together on one of my designs – the crucial installation part – as I happened to drive by one day, doing errands. Including buying a helmet lamp for my late rides that push the onset of dark…

Photos last week –

color but few flowers, form, plants integrated with angular walls…
shallow water harvesting basins and limestone boulders slow downhill water…boulders buried 1/4 into grades, staggered to imply the meander on an uphill trail…

Locals are not just the boulders from a nearby site, but include Dasylirion wheeleri. Adapted plants were used elsewhere – Yucca pallida lines the wall (5′ white flower-tower stalks), Chrysactinia mexicana are tucked in at boulders, (yellow blooms) and the owner’s encinos – Quercus fusiformis clumps in each basin.

The Desert Tan rock mulch is large in size to minimize wash-outs in heavy storm events; it was the closest color available to mimic the lighter desert pavement nearby. It would have cost more to crush smaller rocks on the same site our boulders were harvested from, into sizes for use here, plus hauling costs.

If this were my property and money, given the scale, the trees might have not been exotic live oaks (encinos), but a local native – deciduous, better scaled, contexted, and spineless – Acacia constricta var. paucispina.

Likewise, the low yuccas might have been local spiky groundcover, Agave lechuguilla.

In the future, there might be a place to tuck in a few more small locals, such as lechuguillas and/or some Echinocereus spp.

downhill, more shallow water harvesting…new plants meet uphill plants for some future phase’s planting along the street…car parking…

The Texas State Grass, Sideoats grama / Bouteloua curtipendula surrounds ever-bluegreen Yucca pallida. That tough bunch grass occurs natively just a few hundred feet in elevation above this property, in rock outcrops along small, steep arroyos facing west. It’s able to be stepped on, with minimal damage. Tough!

Perhaps so many overplanted landscapes fuel why many think a landscape like this looks so immature? The annointed designers get huge budgets to do things well or simply over-plant / over-design, but even more designers do that, creating future owner expenses.

Or perhaps people forget this is the desert, where plants grow thin and with purpose, which we have to plant if we want it back?

the most important parking, not yet set up…outdoor bike display + customer bike parking area…”human parking” behind…uphill plants brought down into that communal space…

Martina the architect said this will probably be the smallest design I do this year. Ha!

While the budget or timeline were tight, I was paid fairly and valued. There’s nothing small about that.

sun back out…monsoon season skies…more color without a flower…
a smaller, new planting area…an old, existing Yucca torreyi framing our mountains and skies…shadows…nothing small…
looking back towards previous pictures…under the grand yucca are Bouteloua curtipendula, Anisacanthus quadrifidus wrightii ‘Mexican Fire’ (red blooms for hummingbirds), Agave murpheyi…

The required irrigation backflow preventor / enclosure takes up space, but the other plants will soften it. Day over!

all closed by dinner…picture this soon with people sitting out here…more on the communal area’s good, bad and potential later…

People sitting out in a greatly-upgraded space in the near future, a former asphalt and gravelscape hell. Cyclists, customers and sales people, all excited to live and ride here, in an outdoor setting to drive some into outdoor living?

There’s nothing small about such potential, people or place.

into the desert dusk
I even saw this flier to take…

It advertised a public showing during our town’s film festival. I was 12 when it came out, saw it in high school and many times since. Some attending weren’t even born in 1978, and one told me how he enjoyed it.

I rode there on my bike, of course, like many others in attendance.


One Reply to “Gato Loco…A Re-Cycling Story”

  1. Nice! looking good out there!

    Thanks, let me know the next time you make it out to far W TX!


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