Hospital: Daytime This Time

A coworker has accompanied me every few weeks to bustling El Paso, so I can take care of some wrap-up work.

Combined with barbecue at 2 restaurants, dinner time trips caused too many late arrivals here to see much. This time was a morning trip to close out bank accounts, so I finally saw my work in daylight.

Without overplanting, this new landscape is thin. Some looks good…


…some other plants and many grasses not so good, the daytime arrival under a scorching May sun revealed the brown, bad news.

And poorly-placed signage added to a few changes. Striping seems less obtrusive, until the owner implements their wayfinding consultant’s excellent signage


Out the canopy-shaded walkway to the front doors, the Salvia clevelandii are already growing in to soften the Yucca rostrata.


So Cal: meet the Texas Big Bend. This side was barely interesting to me originally.


It now may be my favorite spot there; the curtain wall effect with the simple yucca and shrub grouping is better than I envisioned.


Oh yeah, Hueco boulders and yuccas. Or, I need to branch out more from using scenes from desert hikes and mountain biking.

Finally, I’m including my plant lists…



The clouds are mostly where I had to change some symbols that my CAD program didn’t generate at the correct size.

Salvia clevelandii again –



The break patio, some more concrete seat walls. And after the monsoon season, time to prune up the Forestiera neomexicana.


The mostly unoccupied medical office building (MOB) has this great razor-like entry canopy.


It’s flanked on either side by a spare but purposed green ribbon between a tree grove for shade…Prosopis glandulosa trees and Baccharis x starn groundcovers.

And a rhythm of Dasylirion wheeleri of course, every 12 feet or so.

The bump-outs use many Hueco boulders filled in with spikier or flowering desert plants: Agave parryi ‘Estrella’, Chrysactinia mexicana, Fouquieria splendens, and Dasylirion wheeleri included.


And out via the service road, with a swale and Sporobulus wrightii along it. Plus Larrea tridentata, Fouquieria splendens, an Agave lechuguilla beyond the swale, to tie in with the desert background.


The blank area between the grasses and curb is an 8 foot wide, future walking path. I prefer compacted, small crushed gravel – I’m sure the owner will do pricier concrete.

I’m showing some of the good parts; I’ll try and follow up sometime with some odd plant issues I saw driving onto the project.

5/16/17 weather: 76 / 55 / T


Associates Part 1

I take notice of plant groupings growing in the same spot with identical conditions. Yet when it’s time to design, I rarely apply any of that.

Architecture, busy-ness, and dealing with client realities / curveballs take over.

I wish that wasn’t so. This is from a 9/2017 trip to the Big Bend, between Lobo and Valentine in Texas.

Another rest area in the middle of nowhere with a large yucca…


Yucca faxoniana / Palm or Faxon Yucca, at least 20′ tall.


And what else?

And a gentle reminder, this won’t look 50% as good without the yucca.


Do you ever take advantage of groupings in the wild, then create areas in your garden around those groupings? How successful are they?

I’m already thinking of a simple way to use the above plants in a purposed design for a typical space, where we can’t rely on miles of expansive scenery. I might share a sketch or two of that soon.

Hot Date in Vegas – Pt. 2

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 –

front, E of the building entrance (S facing)

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.

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.

front corner, heading to the W side (W facing)

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.

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?