Natural Order

The streetscape here was designed to combine naturalistic planting arrangements, yet be structured to read at 30 miles per hour.

Note the variety in taller Yucca faxoniana and Rhus lanceolata, playing off the gray Leucophyllum zygophyllum.



This Nolina greenei and the boulders were installed, but happily, a Gutierrezia microcephala volunteered in between the boulders and has been allowed to stay. Extra rain water collects there, the boulder acting like a dam just like curb and paving edges act.


Those golden flowers are welcome, as is the irregular and planted arroyo tree, Celtis reticulata / Canyon Hackberry.

The latter tree is on the edge of the basin but rooted into it, which mimics its natural arroyo habitat.

But to get natural order in less than geologic time, or even 50 years, one needs to weed out the basins of invasive species, so the native seeding can establish.


To keep a diverse yet healthy and appealing biota for all, mindful yet proactive maintenance is key.

10/28/17 weather: 6437 / 0.00



Different methods use similar elements to create continuity.

Repetition, rhythm, massing, and echoes are just a few design principles among many. Design principles are easily and repeatedly observed in an array of creative fields that people respond to: visual arts, horticulture, and music included.

It is that simple!

Any design principles noted, in the below median or parkway?


Aristida purpurea, volunteered from the seeding specified on the plans, is now in its autumnal tan.

Agave neomexicana does the same within the parkway’s Aristida.



Nearby, Dasylirion wheeleri was repeated. Its color and spent bloom stalks, plus a similar look of Agave parryi, help unify the scene.


10/24/17 weather: 71 / 42 / 0.00

Native, Annual Grass

I need to confirm with my next-door neighbor and his rain gauge, just how wet it’s been in 2017 and in these recent storms. My guess is 2017 to date is at least 10 inches of rain, which is over 2 inches or 25% above average – but for the entire year. We have 2 months left.

Below, the same tan grass now was a green carpet over most every hill here.

Six Weeks Grama / Bouteloua barbata is a common, native annual grass in the southwest.


We had another 1 inch or even more in a late night downpour, with more lightning than I’ve seen in a couple years. But no matter how much falls, Six Weeks Grama will not re-germinate – the temperatures are cooling into fall levels, and that grass only seems to germinate in late summer and no other time.

As long as native grasses don’t grow too rangy or leggy in key areas, I assume keep them for aesthetics and function.

Even as an annual, this grama does a good job holding in the loose soils here with their roots, while gravel mulch can only cover the soil and soften the blows of wind and hard rain. Gravel cannot root.

My fingers are crossed for restraint in such areas.

The tan really creates a good visual contrast to the greens of Yucca faxoniana and Larrea tridentata.