Seen On the Way to My Other Work

I first drove past this landscape in 2011. I was amazed at the sheer amount of mostly spiky plants used. Since, the owner has only added more and grouped some plants differently.

In face, this is where I sometimes park to do construction observation work at a nearby residence.


Potted Yucca recurvifolia and Hesperaloe parviflora, in-ground a specimen Agave salmiana, a Ferocactus wislizeni, and some Yucca thompsoniana clumps.


This looks striking as always against tiled, Mexican-Mediterranean hybrid architecture seen occasionally in a few higher end neighborhoods in El Paso.

My main question is the use of so much large rock much instead of something finer textured or smaller in size? That would allow many plants to show up more. Also, sunken grades might help hold in water to benefit the plants and still provide terrain interest.

I cropped out the hose, but hand-watering by hose might be the irrigation method over drip. I’m not sure.


Echinocactus grusonii overload, of course. Some Yucca faxoniana appear in back, to add height and show well against the home’s shady portal.


On the east side, there are some great examnples of Opuntia engelmannii and O. lindheimeri growing among Dasylirion wheeleri and Agave parryi.


And more golden barrels and yuccas.

Even a Larrea tridentata is growing against the wall, it’s wispy form adding softness to the sharp Yucca thompsoniana or Y. rostrata. And more E. grusonii.


In this spot, I can’t tell if the greener sotol is Dasylirion leiophyllum or D. acrotrichum. And what looks like a relative of Yucca faxoniana, though some will attribute the smaller head to Y. torreyi…too even of foliage growth for the latter, methinks.


I really enjoy this landscape, ahead of many with vast lawns and mesic plants. A few houses in this neighborhood are starting to update their front yards with lower water-use and native plants.

This landscape is already there, and then some.


8/20/18 weather:
96F / 73F / T or 36c / 23c / T



Stepped building facades and wall seem to be more common in the southwest than anywhere else in the US. At least to me.

In hilly areas, we see stepped rock outcroppings or built steps where people construct buildings and towns.

Walking around Marfa, I enjoyed their regional interpretation of the step.



This is quite stunning with that sky and the yucca / shadow.


Something else I’ve never noticed at the Chamberlain Building before: two sets of walking steps in front of the building.


Taos Townhomes

A colleague called me years ago, stating a familiar problem in the region, “the city is now requiring landscape plans for my project to have an irrigation plan and all be stamped by a licensed landscape architect.”

I obliged, reviewed her plans and did the rest. Several years later, here is Puertas Pintadas in Taos.


Having well-designed architecture doesn’t hurt, but skilled maintenance made me smile for once.

Even the door and window colors with the twisted columns…


While I would have preferred a native grass instead of maiden grass, and more natives overall than what were used, I also know I had the next phase to design myself and the reality of plant suppliers, too.

The purple smoketrees are ready to prune out, already interesting in series.


Hawthorns remind me of native chokecherries in the Rocky Mountain foothills, and those stepped balcony walls under the ramadas look perfect to sit out under the cool night air.

Chinquapin oaks are not native, but they really love many soils and are quite stunning in leaf and vigor. I only wish more were used.



Speaking of the last phase I designed plantings and irrigation for…stay tuned.


10/3/17 weather: 89 / 54 / 0.00