Kierland Commons is a pleasant, mixed-use development in North Scottsdale, a few blocks walk from my peaceful summer condo residence. Its pleasant feel is based in large part on great landscape and hardscape elements for such a space in the desert.
Phoenix dactylifera at a key intersection, classic.
Sensible shade, native and adapted species, and mostly southwestern or at least arid-region forms. No silly gesturing to dissimilar places.
I have no idea if the varied shade structures were part of the original design or added later, but my guess is the latter given some planters look to be suffering from shade.
There’s less climate / desert denial and more horticultural / design savvy seen here or in the Valley of the Sun than that place 6 hours NE. (into tucking temperature-hardy but thirsty plants into the most horridly hot spots under overhangs or against walls, then blaming their failure on “cold”)
Hence my guess; designers here tend to get plantsmanship and design principles.
Many people walking in the cool of the morning like me still choose the shady side, under a combination of built and grown shade.
Great shirts, by the way…little at Kierland for the guys.
See how this works…built and grown shading? Always a challenge in limited rooting areas and dense development patterns, but this met the challenge.
I remember when Kierland was first being developed on a (long) past Mountain States’ landscape architect conference. Streets disecting Sonoran Desert with spare creosote bushes and palo verdes, or bladed land. There were even a few stands of Ericameria nauseosa on a nearby (former) arroyo, unusual at this low, 1400 foot elevation.
Now, it’s all built up and a great place to walk, only 2 blocks from my condo for the summer.
Their large container plantings are a mixed bag, but the thought was there. This is a good specimen of Texas Mountain Laurel / Dermatophyllum secundiflorum, which loves alkaline soils and limestone rock. It does well in the Valley.
Yet the bougainvilleas are sheared into submission and look like they will never grow overhead. Are there concerns of possible damage from their aggressive growth and weight on the shade canopies? If not, what a waste.
If the shade structures are able to support such woody vines, their walkways would be greatly complimented by carefully-pruned bougainvillea branches covered in brilliant flowers.
This is not a problem as much as a proactive lesson to those not used to the desert’s high alkalinity in the water…calcium deposits from irrigated containers requires maintenance to avoid staining hardscape.
Good use of paving patterns here, again, from stencils or some sort of repeated formwork.
I ate here finally, though the menu is a bit too SoCal for my tastes. But my carne asada tacos were well-prepared – healthy and tasty.
What drew me in? The care to provide an attractive landscape of part hardscape and part plantings, and here…SHADE from a ramada!
Some don’t like their random planting of too many spikes; I’m on the fence, but I tend to side with them. My 2 Bay Area sisters did like it, so perhaps regional differences or just my design snobbery!
I think everyone likes this fresh manner of tilework on the garden wall.
To me, this is refreshing with cool, coastal colors that contrast where I’m from in New Mexico (or Arizona), the dry land with most-every wall in beige or tan stucco.
Still good if I could adjust a few plants, though the Sticks on Fire / Euphorbia tirucalli seem too close.
And we know what happens, when the usual landscape maintenance crews in the Desert Southwest see overplanted landscapes, as they start to grow in…
105F / 76F / 0.00 or 41c / 24c / .00