In this “stay at home” era, there’s no time like the present to invest in the beauty of your living space – inside and outside. Consult a professional to turn your backyard into a paradise you’ll love lingering in.
Peggy De La Garza wants clients to feel like “they don’t have to go anywhere,” she says, and that their home is “their own special place, their own oasis, their own resort.” The award-winning landscape designer and Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest winner has been creating outdoor oases in the Valley with her husband, Lorenzo De La Garza, since 1977. “This work comes as second nature,” she says. “It’s as easy for me to do this work as
De La Garza designs “landscape that is classic and stands the test of time,” with her signature mix of lush desert and subtropical plants, with “a lot of color, and a lot of boulders and outcroppings and water features.” She recommends clients start with a plan and implement it wisely – either in intentional stages or all at once, to avoid costly re-dos later down the road. “I like to put it in its place and keep it in its place,” De La Garza says. “We do it right. If I can’t do it right and to perfection, I don’t want to do it. I think that’s the way it should be.”
Enchanted Garden Landscape
“An outdoor oasis, to us, is where your indoor space flows into your outdoor space as one,” says Roger Booth, president of Enchanted Garden Landscape, which has been serving the Valley for 24 years and whose designer/founder, Donna Winters, is a Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest winner. “I think with this pandemic, people are staying in their homes more and, given that time, are coming to us in order to create that outdoor oasis that may be missing.” Booth says creating these spaces is crucial in the Southwest “because we spend so much time in them, and it’s so important that we feel relaxed and comfortable in our outdoor spaces.”
To achieve beauty while being sensitive to our desert environment, Booth and team focus on low-water landscapes. “Water is such an important resource for our world, and we want to help to facilitate its conservation,” he says. “We also think it’s important for us to listen to what our customers are trying to create for their outdoor spaces. Many times, customers know what they want, but can’t always articulate it in ‘landscaping’ terms. It’s our job to pull that out of the customer in order to create their dream landscape.”
Azul-Verde Design Group, INC.
Azul-Verde owner/designer Michael Rockwell focuses just as much on the azul (blue) in a client’s outdoor space as he does the verde (green). The Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest winner is known for his skill with swimming pools and water features over his more than 30-year career in the Valley. “Swimming pools, gardens and courtyards are natural extensions of the home, and no two are alike,” he says. “To meet the inherent challenges of the harsh Arizona heat and the pre-existing natural elements, each landscape is its own unique solution. The goal is a beautiful space that blends seamlessly with both the surrounding environment and with the needs of those who live there.”
To achieve this, Rockwell consults with clients to find the most comprehensive, all-in-one design solution, incorporating exterior features, paving, pools, irrigation, lighting and landscape elements to “honor the client’s vision.” Cohesion is paramount, he says. “No dream home design is finished without the right exterior to soften the man-made lines to welcome guests.”
High Desert Designs
For High Desert Designs owner/designer Chad Norris (a winner of Phoenix Home & Garden’s Masters of the Southwest award), merely designing a pleasant outdoor space isn’t enough – he likes to draw clients out of their homes and into that space. Norris enjoys creating scenes that “treat the view windows of the home as picture frames and view corridors to the oasis outside. They are meant to draw your desires to the outside,” he says. “Creating a space that is relaxing, an escape and mentally stimulating is always a desire for homeowners, especially now.”
Fittingly, High Desert Designs specializes in “the combination of lush and desert elements,” using saguaros, organ pipe cactus and other cacti along with palms, grass and annual flowers to “give you the best Arizona has to offer, year-round,” Norris says. “Creating destination-style settings is something we are known for, and many clients have said they have a new love for their outdoors after we create our living art landscapes… Managing your property’s landscape and protecting the investment is our passion. We can completely remodel and create the destination you’ve always dreamed of now, or phase it out over years.”
While structural elements make up the lion’s share of the design of an outdoor oasis, it’s the finishing touches that bring everything together. “Outdoor living is a trend that has evolved over the past decade to go beyond a backyard space with patio furniture and a grill to truly being seen as an extension of a home’s interior and aesthetic,” says Kelly Bird, director of marketing and communications at The Cosanti Foundation, “a true Arizona treasure… based at Cosanti, the site of several experimental architectural structures designed by the late theoretical architect, Paolo Soleri, and a site on the Arizona Registry of Historic Places.” There, “skilled artisans make our bronze and ceramic windbells one by one and carve each bell with their own unique patterns, markings and designs.”
Vickie Mayer, general manager and director of retail at Cosanti Originals, advises clients on how to showcase these singular sensations. “It’s no wonder that our Cosanti windbells are found in the gardens, backyards and outdoor spaces of many homes in and around the Valley,” she says. “They’re beautiful indoors or out, but you can really appreciate the sound of them when they’re outside. They are windbells – not windchimes – and a stronger gust of wind is needed to make them ring. When they do, their sound is pleasing and distinctive.” Mayer suggests displaying smaller windbells in clusters. “The larger ones are like hanging sculptures and look most beautiful on their own, especially at night when spotlighted.” Celebrate the summer monsoon with the new Rain Chains. “We partnered with a local artist to create the chain portion of the Rain Chains, which range from 18-48 inches in length, and are made of thick Dalle de Verre glass pieces and interesting natural elements,” Mayer says. “Each Rain Chain is finished with a bronze windbell, in complementary patina or burnished finish.”
“It’s no wonder that our Cosanti windbells are found in the gardens, backyards and outdoor spaces of many homes in and around the Valley.”