Magazine article Sunset

Western Garden Design Awards: 17 Winning Gardens Celebrate Outdoor Living in the West

Magazine article Sunset

Western Garden Design Awards: 17 Winning Gardens Celebrate Outdoor Living in the West

Article excerpt

Here they are: the 17 winners of sunset's second biennial Western Garden Design Awards - gardens remarkable for their innovation and creativity. Out of scores of entries submitted by landscape architects and designers, the winners represent the best in each of six categories - Garden Decoration, Garden Renovation, Outdoor Living, Problem Solving, Regional, and Small space. They were selected by four jurors (see From the Editor on page 12). And they're filled with ideas for handsome plant combinations, paving, materials, and water features that you can use no matter where in the West you live.

GARDEN DECORATION: SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA

FOUNTAIN WITH A PAST

"Fantastical, gutsy, and refreshing" is how jurors described this garden. Its fountain recalls the water channels of ancient civilizations, landscape architect Gregory Trutza calls it an "8-foot-tall ancient aqueduct with faded Sumerian hieroglyphs that suggest remains of a past culture." In this desert climate, running water soothes the soul. The added humidity soothes plants, too. But this fountain does so much more. "The interplay of the wall texture and plant foliage is especially striking," one juror noted.

Local artist Mitchell John translated Trutza's design on Italian lime plaster. A 30-foot-long pond captures water falling from the aqueduct. The structure accommodates an existing palo verde tree and complements Adele and Steve Revella's art collection (the aqueduct is viewed from their living room window).

This unusual fountain may not be suitable for every landscape, jurors commented, but its success in this garden demonstrates that designers should continue taking risks.

Designer: Gregory Trutza, new Directions in Landscape

Architecture, Phoenix (602/998-1399)

OUTDOOR LIVING: CAREFREE ARIZONA

STATE SET

Marlene Dietrich would have felt right at home in this desert garden. Dramatic lines, an elegant pool, and exquisite stone paving make a setting fit for a movie star. But in spite of its refined appearance, the garden has a practical side too: it's wheelchair accessible.

Sliding glass doors open the house directly onto a level, covered patio-pavilion. "The open pavilion is like an extension of the interior," said one juror. Wide paths lead around the garden.

Landscape architect Gregory Trutza designed the garden to complement the house's contemporary, adobe style. A graduated rear wall frames the pool and the mountain view; higher sections block out nearby development. Night lighting is an important feature, since the owners enjoy entertaining; lighting on the trees, in the wall, and inside the pavilion sets the garden aglow by night. This space, like Dietrich, is charming at any hour of the day.

Designer: Gregory Trutza, New Directions in Landscape Architecture, Phoenix (602/998-4399)

SMALL SPACE: SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA

A GARDEN FOR ALL PLEASURES

Compact gardens, where every inch must count, are often more of a design challenge than grand ones with space to spare. So while this garden is intimate - just 1,250 square feet - its efficient use of space, as well as its colors and textures, particularly impressed the jurors. "It makes wonderful use of the outdoor areas," one noted.

Before the remodel, owners Maureen Cornelia and Peter Sheremeta rarely used the garden. The expansive brick patio was hot and unappealing, and it felt hemmed in by the glaring whitewashed studio and house. Designer Cynthia Hayes cleverly toned down the walls by painting the house a putty color and the studio a rich dark green to blend it into landscape. Then she added arbors, seat walls, and planters to create separate rooms and interesting vistas. Different paving materials - including gravel and flagstone - define the individual garden areas. Much of the brick paving was reused throughout the garden.

Plants were chosen for their all-seasons good looks. …

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