Spring Light

Following a recent pre-construction meeting one morning away from the day job, using more vacation time to do so, I was glad to visit El Paso’s new Transmountain Hospital. You might remember I was the LA on its HKS-led project team.

The light was perfect, and the spaces I designed are settling in.

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Masses of similar plants contrasting other masses would never satisfy some, but it satisfies the need for ease of maintenance, and rhythm driving or walking.

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Available plants in quantities meant natives like Prosopis glandulosa, Muhlenbergia emersleyi, Chrysactinia mexicana, and Agave parryi. And adapted plants like Salvia clevelandii and Zephyranthes candida.

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The bright green of newly-leafed out Prosopis really is stunning against shadowy buildings and mountains, or bright blue skies.

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On to the break area, designed especially for nighttime sitting.

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Soon, the Salvia and Zephyranthes candida will be in bloom for the front doors area.

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The physicians parking area is stunning, and sweetly scented with near-native Acacia farnesiana. (take that old genus name, taxonomists!)

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Ahhh, the bold mountain islands on the east side of the Rio Grande Rift…

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If you’re entering from the west, off Resler, this is part of the greeting.

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Masses of the common Dasylirion wheeleri…just know when this planting is a few more years old, it will look almost too dense in spots but be spare and interesting in most of it.

The unknowing person would never imagine any of that.

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Time to head back home and to the now-day job.

Do you ever look at large-scale landscapes the public uses? Do you know the severe time and budget constraints on those? Or the array of other challenges on each one?

Time for bed, computer software diagnostics for hours over months are enough challenge.

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Dissecting Retail: Three Years After

At El Paso’s Kern Place Crazy Cat Cyclery store, the architect and I created some small but distinct spaces using our ubiquitous rock walls with grade changes.

It won an AIA El Paso award a couple years ago.

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That enclosed, communal space with a single Quercus fusiformis and some Yucca pallida is good. It’s mostly being maintained well, too.

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The far side that once contained a rather “seasoned” Yucca torreyi specimen, then it fell, and finally the yucca’s replacement, is not so good.

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The small spaces on the side will fill in more, as the sotols grow and damianitas hopefully reseed around.

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I still regret not insisting on what should have been done on the south street’s uphill climb.

Because mountain biking and good headlamps are important, so is good plantsmanship.

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12/25/17 weather: 7331 / .00″

Home Take 3

I found a home after much looking.

The existing adobe I placed an offer on gave me a counter offer out of line for the neighborhood and future redo of owner “touches”. So, a couple weeks ago my realtor and I executed a contract for a home built to LEED Platinum standards, including total solar power.

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front looking east (porta-potty not included)
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front looking west (new construction all around like my ’98-’04)
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back looking east

I’ll do my best to agree with any neighbors’ bad tree choices, so my small view of the Organ Mountains stays in some form! (smile)

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The 4 floor plans I entertained were narrowed down to one with outdoor living space potential.

Shifting the house footprint back a few feet allows a 12 foot square courtyard with a locking gate. Privacy is king. The front kitchen window may be changed to a door, to step out onto a firm, crunchy gravel patio with a few well-placed plants.

North is on the right.

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The 4,337 foot elevation is a touch closer to the sun’s surface than my rental, but the location at the south end of the Jornada basin might put me back in USDA z 7b. But still Sunset z 10. We’ll see.

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My new home happens to be in a development I provided landscape architect services for. Perhaps using xeric Quercus was my unintentional signature?

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Only 8 months until the house is finishing up!