Minimal With Warmth

The title sums up when I create a garden space, in the way many larger clients like Tenet require more for less, here at the new Transmountain hospital.

Sometimes less is more.

You pick. Minimal with impact? Or just subtle impact?

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Yucca rostrata and Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’, companions in the Chihuahuan Desert below the Big Bend, are united here.

Not naturalistically, but rather, with the architecture of the space, visibilities, and negative space.

To think, this success involves “a yucca and rock”, but with shrubby companions to add warmth to the scene. Those into minimalism or modernism only need to warm up and humanize their spare scenes.

Some can do it, others can’t.

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I rarely find that less is less, or more is more. It’s really about how one does either. But I’m not a hobbyist or collector!

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Desert skies and mountain vistas don’t hurt, either.

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11/20/17 weather: 67 / 30 / 0.00

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Place to Rest

With a little extra budget and thought, any landscape can become a garden to pause within.

That’s part of why various state transportation departments landscape their freeways. When there’s congestion, drivers have ample opportunity to stop – all 8 lanes – and experience a garden.

So do hospital visitors – photos from 10/9/17.

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As the mesquite tree and plantings mature, they will provide quite the pleasant spot seated on either concrete seat wall, to pause and take in the grand view from mountains to valley.

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On the other side of the building, seat walls provide architectural definition to the blue site tables and planters with New Mexico Olive trees.

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This was a challenging project from a time standpoint, and I hope those driving the schedule can re-evaluate this, instead of figure out how to construct something of this scale as fast or faster next time!

I’m always in awe of watching a general contractor and subs of this quality put it all together with normal time frames. Two highly-seasoned superintendents told me they have never been involved with or even heard of such a project scale going in nearly this fast.

Thanks, Robins & Morton, and notably on my work, Joe Aguilar and Accent Landscape Contractors.

Their efficiency and support are why small details became reality, such as site furnishings and hardscape accents. Those features benefit each space, though not required by the city.

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Back to the front of the hospital, these seat walls are located at a future Sun Metro bus stop, or a place to sit while waiting on your ride.

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Or to just take photos for your blog or portfolio.

This being a windy area of town, the Bull Muhly grasses usually sway back and forth. No matter the hardscape and site furnishings, appropriate plantings are a must.

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11/12/17 weather: 76 / 45 / 0.00

Looking In and Out

Driving home, I took an hour to tour the Transmountain Hospital landscape I designed in El Paso. It was actually daylight.

Looking towards the ER entrance, I was disappointed about not being able to utilize passive water harvesting to benefit these plants.

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The simple pattern of Muhlenbergia emersleyi ‘El Toro’ and young Acacia farnesiana in a part-curve compliments the Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’.

The lone Yucca rostrata stands as a focal point, swallowed by the swirl of grasses.

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The same scene, but looking out of the ER portico and far into the badlands along the US-Mexico border.

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