Back to Reclamation’s Date Street Campus, their first project I designed with TSK.
Building 1400, the Lower Colorado Regional Office or just “the Green Building”, the landscape was on a *tight* budget thanks to the design-build process. A success thanks to all: owner to design team to the desert.
What worked? From Boulder City NV, too hot on 6/24/2015 –
The plants were chosen for tight spaces, the creosote bushes providing green and visibility out the windows via the open forms; the building can shine.
Varied rock sizes act as mulch, like desert pavement does in the wild.
a well-known Mojave resident…not Wayne Newton…a compact variety of Joshua Tree / Yucca brevifolia var. jaegeriana
each Joshua Tree was set between windows at regular intervals, creosotes between…
…or agaves and Angelita Daisy nearby at entries
Creosote Bush / Larrea tridentata
Ocahui / Agave ocahui (thanks Danger Dan in PHX)
Some promising information on this odd agave hybrid, whose parentage had me questioning its toughness to high desert locales – here.
Onto one of the two largest planting areas on that property, this one including a small water harvesting tank. I might share more on the sides, rear and water harvesting tank another time.
The larger spaces allow near-native Teddybear Cholla / Cylindropuntia biglovii, plus native Catclaw Acacia / Acacia greggii, White Bursage / Ambrosia dumosa, with creosotes and Joshuas. The wildflower seeding in the swale is dormant now, so I’ll have to check it out in the spring.
the W side – Black Mountain in the distance
the E side – Red Mountain in the distance
With half the rain El Paso gets, it’s very arid; the LEED Gold certification attained on this project severely limits irrigation. Looking at the mountains, one can see why I use “Martian” to describe their land.
Do you ever wonder what your plantings would look like, if you could only use drip irrigation to establish, then hand watering afterwards in drought?
I enjoy seeing the use of native plants to an area when designed to abstract patterns in nature. Those patterns come out of the common processes of land most anywhere, plus each space’s architecture.
Many areas of Texas use plants well with a space’s architecture, native or not.
Photos from Austin TX and nearby, 3/18 to 21/2015 –
Looking out onto the semi-arid sub-humid (southern) prairie.
Sidebar: in a similar pattern of temperatures and atmosphere, for Austin to be something else, it’s long-term average might read like this – semi-arid = 12″ – 24″ of precipitation (Ozona) arid = under 12″… (Van Horn…but a different atmosphere) humid = over 36″… (Houston)
Austin’s average and more years than not receive 30″, mas o menos. Smack dab in the middle of sub-humid.
Not that I like their change of this space to ground glass, but it does help people visualize before going overboard on a passing fad. (at least most ground glass installs, which are poorly-done)
A return home via Fredericksburg netted something stunning – not exactly native, but adapted – from the ecoregions adjacent to the central Texas prairies, wetter and drier sides. Mas or menos…
Do you wonder why native plantings or xeriscapes can look visually unappealing, even if filled with good native or adapted plants?
I wondered, so I now strive to design with more thought.
Great gardens aren’t only about massing, but they can involve other design principles such as repetition, or just making that which thrives and is native as the majority – not the freak.