written by:
March 18, 2014
Originally published in The Great Outdoors
as
Climate Control
Seven landscape architects across the United States explain how they mastermind inspired designs showcasing the best of their regions.
modern landscaping garden southwest walkway

Southwest: Steve Martino 

Phoenix-based landscape architect Steve Martino has unlocked the secret to successful gardening in dry desert environs: “The backbone of my career has been celebrating the desert rather than making apologies for it,” he says. His drought-tolerant designs relate to the southwestern climate and feature native plants—like the whale’s tongue agave, compass barrel cactus, and ocotillo in front of a Scottsdale midcentury house. 

1 / 12
modern landscaping garden southwest native plants

Southwest: Steve Martino

The red yucca, brittlebush, and prickly pear at a Palm Springs, California, home also relate to the southwestern climate. “Native plants let your garden tap into the food chain—it becomes a habitat while connecting you to the history of a place.”

2 / 12
modern landscaping garden california steel staircase concrete walkway

California: Andrea Cochran

On a two-and-a-half acre landscape in Geyserville, California, Andrea Cochran found that compatibility was key. “Although not all of the plants are native to California, they are native to the Mediterranean and arid regions with similar climates,” she says. Lomandra— an Australian herb—flanks a Cor-Ten steel staircase and a walkway lined with Yosemite tan pebbles and concrete. 

3 / 12
modern landscaping garden california blue agave yard

California: Andrea Cochran

To contrast the billowy tufts, Cochran inserted blue-toned agave. “Drought-tolerant and hardy enough to handle the intensive sun exposure of this location, both of these plants are regionally appropriate,” says Cochran. “California is in the midst of a drought; we need to consider water-conserving plants.”

4 / 12
modern landscaping garden pacific northwest concrete retaining wall steel walkway

Pacific Northwest: 2.ink Studio

A respected wine-growing region, the Willamette Valley is known for its mild and wet weather. For a house overlooking a steep ravine in Portland, Oregon, landscape architects Melinda Graham and Jonathan Beaver of 2.ink Studio sourced hyperlocal plants from the Valley. Bracken, sword, and deer ferns border the concrete-and-stone retaining walls and the walkway lined with Preto Carvaõ Basalt and brushed stainless steel.

5 / 12
modern landscaping garden pacific northwest wood sorrel ground cover

Pacific Northwest: 2.ink Studio

Oregon wood sorrel offers ground cover. “The lushness of our native landscape is really the most captivating aspect of our region,” Beaver says. “Because we get so much rain, that can become an integral dimension of our designs.”

6 / 12
modern landscaping garden midwest meadow saltwater lap pool

Midwest: Hoerr Schaudt

Knitting the designed spaces into the greater wilderness beyond was paramount for the ten-acre landscape Douglas Hoerr devised in northern Michigan. “The idea is once you’re there, you can’t tell what we did,” he says. Instead of building formal gardens right to the property line, Hoerr added a meadow planted with mature trees and indigenous grasses to buffer the yard. Naturalistic plantings ebb and flow around the 110-foot-long saltwater lap pool. 

7 / 12
modern landscaping garden midwest russian sage recreation space pool

Midwest: Hoerr Schaudt

Ample amounts of Russian sage add visual interest, and manicured bluegrass offers recreation space. “I always like to say, strike half of your original plant list out and double up on the rest. It keeps you from getting too busy.”

8 / 12
modern landscaping garden south paved walkway runoff

South: Mark Word Design

The garden Mark Word Design created for an Austin, Texas, home sited adjacent to a nature reserve puts water conservation first. “It’s about usage levels, but it’s also about the way we treat storm water and runoff, since it all goes back into our supply at the end of the cycle,” designer Sarah Carr says. Word and his team kept the ratio of paved to unpaved surfaces low and chose plants that help reduce erosion, require little irrigation, and allow storm water to percolate. 

9 / 12
modern landscaping garden south mulch ground cover yard

South: Mark Word Design

Mulch and living ground covers—like Big Blue liriope, marsilea, and Palisades zoysia turf—keep moisture within the soil and lowers the soil’s temperature, protecting the live oak trees’ roots.

10 / 12
modern landscaping garden northeast granite stairs oceanfront

Northeast: Stephen Stimson Associates

To recreate the original ecosystems on a plot of land in Northeast Harbor, Maine, that required extensive site rehabilitation, landscape architect Lauren Stimson and her team examined early photographs and paintings depicting scenes more varied than the existing evergreen forest. They designed granite stairs leading into a seaside area featuring huckleberry, sweet fern, bayberry, and sheep laurel, as well as white spruce trees.

11 / 12
modern landscaping garden northeast granite stepstones salvaged cedar slabs

Northeast: Stephen Stimson Associates

Seeking to “clearly define the moments of interaction between the man-made and the natural,” Stimson embedded granite stepstones, salvaged cedar slabs, and native ground cover within the existing forest plant community.

12 / 12
modern landscaping garden southwest walkway

Southwest: Steve Martino 

Phoenix-based landscape architect Steve Martino has unlocked the secret to successful gardening in dry desert environs: “The backbone of my career has been celebrating the desert rather than making apologies for it,” he says. His drought-tolerant designs relate to the southwestern climate and feature native plants—like the whale’s tongue agave, compass barrel cactus, and ocotillo in front of a Scottsdale midcentury house. 

Southwest: Steve Martino 

Phoenix-based landscape architect Steve Martino has unlocked the secret to successful gardening in dry desert environs: “The backbone of my career has been celebrating the desert rather than making apologies for it,” he says. His drought-tolerant designs relate to the southwestern climate and feature native plants—like the whale’s tongue agave, compass barrel cactus, and ocotillo in front of a Scottsdale midcentury house and the red yucca, brittlebush, and prickly pear at a Palm Springs, California, home. “Native plants let your garden tap into the food chain—it becomes a habitat while connecting you to the history of a place.”

California: Andrea Cochran

On a two-and-a-half acre landscape in Geyserville, California, Andrea Cochran found that compatibility was key. “Although not all of the plants are native to California, they are native to the Mediterranean and arid regions with similar climates,” she says. Lomandra— an Australian herb—flanks a Cor-Ten steel staircase and a walkway lined with Yosemite tan pebbles and concrete. To contrast the billowy tufts, Cochran inserted blue-toned agave. “Drought-tolerant and hardy enough to handle the intensive sun exposure of this location, both of these plants are regionally appropriate,” says Cochran. “California is in the midst of a drought; we need to consider water-conserving plants.”

Pacific Northwest: 2.ink Studio

A respected wine-growing region, the Willamette Valley is known for its mild and wet weather. For a house overlooking a steep ravine in Portland, Oregon, landscape architects Melinda Graham and Jonathan Beaver of 2.ink Studio sourced hyperlocal plants from the Valley. Bracken, sword, and deer ferns border the concrete-and-stone retaining walls and the walkway lined with Preto Carvaõ Basalt and brushed stainless steel; Oregon wood sorrel offers ground cover. “The lushness of our native landscape is really the most captivating aspect of our region,” Beaver says. “Because we get so much rain, that can become an integral dimension of our designs.” 

Midwest: Hoerr Schaudt

Knitting the designed spaces into the greater wilderness beyond was paramount for the ten-acre landscape Douglas Hoerr devised in northern Michigan. “The idea is once you’re there, you can’t tell what we did,” he says. Instead of building formal gardens right to the property line, Hoerr added a meadow planted with mature trees and indigenous grasses to buffer the yard. Naturalistic plantings ebb and flow around the 110-foot-long saltwater lap pool. Ample amounts of Russian sage add visual interest, and manicured bluegrass offers recreation space. “I always like to say, strike half of your original plant list out and double up on the rest. It keeps you from getting too busy.”

modern landscaping garden midwest meadow saltwater lap pool

Midwest: Hoerr Schaudt

Knitting the designed spaces into the greater wilderness beyond was paramount for the ten-acre landscape Douglas Hoerr devised in northern Michigan. “The idea is once you’re there, you can’t tell what we did,” he says. Instead of building formal gardens right to the property line, Hoerr added a meadow planted with mature trees and indigenous grasses to buffer the yard. Naturalistic plantings ebb and flow around the 110-foot-long saltwater lap pool. 

South: Mark Word Design

The garden Mark Word Design created for an Austin, Texas, home sited adjacent to a nature reserve puts water conservation first. “It’s about usage levels, but it’s also about the way we treat storm water and runoff, since it all goes back into our supply at the end of the cycle,” designer Sarah Carr says. Word and his team kept the ratio of paved to unpaved surfaces low and chose plants that help reduce erosion, require little irrigation, and allow storm water to percolate. Mulch and living ground covers—like Big Blue liriope, marsilea, and Palisades zoysia turf—keep moisture within the soil and lowers the soil’s temperature, protecting the live oak trees’ roots.

Northeast: Stephen Stimson Associates

To recreate the original ecosystems on a plot of land in Northeast Harbor, Maine, that required extensive site rehabilitation, landscape architect Lauren Stimson and her team exam- ined early photographs and paintings depicting scenes more varied than the existing evergreen forest. They designed granite stairs leading into a seaside area featuring huckleberry, sweet fern, bayberry, and sheep laurel, as well as white spruce trees. Seeking to “clearly define the moments of interaction between the man-made and the natural,” Stimson embedded granite stepstones, salvaged cedar slabs, and native ground cover within the existing forest plant community.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

two of a kind padua italy matching family homes facade green roof doors color
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to interiors , we visited homes from Haiti to italy. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
April 30, 2016
houseofweek
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
April 30, 2016
W House living room
Our best reader reactions this week.
April 29, 2016
Vineyard house illuminated at night
Rammed-earth construction fuses this Portuguese house to the environment.
April 29, 2016
vintage Scandinavian furniture Kathryn Tyler
In southwest England, interior designer Kathryn Tyler built her home around her ever-expanding furniture collection.
April 29, 2016
steel facade home Seattle
On the sandy shores of Fauntleroy Cove in Seattle, renowned firm Olson Kundig Architects crafts a subtle home with striking steel accents.
April 29, 2016
seperate piece renovated guesthouse eames storage unit cork floor tiles living room
An architect and an interior designer put the tools to the test for this impressive renovation.
April 29, 2016
Ceramics by WrenLab
Manhattan doesn’t get to have all the fun during NYCxDesign. Brooklyn is set for the return of BKLYN DESIGNS at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint from May 6-8, 2016. Here are just a few exhibitors we are excited to see this year.
April 29, 2016
n0a6974 dxo
Architect Diego Revollo refreshes an apartment with a standout kitchen.
April 29, 2016
img 8652 1
The city of San Francisco has been eagerly awaiting the reopening of SFMOMA for years—and as the May 14th opening approaches closer everyday, the anticipation continues to build for art enthusiasts both near and far. This morning, we were given the opportunity to explore the newly expanded space before the crowds roll in. After a series of speeches, remarks, and tours, we left the grounds feeling thoroughly inspired and excited to share what we discovered.
April 28, 2016
gramercy 1 ar53319
A family doesn’t have to travel far for a private oasis away from the busy city.
April 28, 2016
Renovation of 1967 Hamburg apartment with Vipp kitchen.
In our April issue, we showcased an apartment in Hamburg, Germany, with a striking, matte-black kitchen from Vipp. The 77-year-old company became famous for its iconic pedal trash can before venturing into kitchens and other tools for the home. This isn't the first time that the Danish company's products have graced our pages, and here we've gathered additional examples from our archive that show how the brand's minimalist black kitchens are always a win in modern interiors.
April 28, 2016
Zafra residence living room.
A man and his wife make an emotional return to an apartment building he loved as a kid.
April 28, 2016
the garden inside concrete dining pavilion indoor outdoor custom cabinets thermador dishwasher refrigerator
A skylit conservatory doubles as a verdant dining parlor in Sonoma County, California.
April 28, 2016
Details of the Calico collection.
Calico Wallpaper founders Nick and Rachel Cope showed us through their home in our March Issue, now step inside their studio.
April 28, 2016
william krisel pow 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
April 27, 2016
Dwell on Design and designjunction at ArtBeam
It's all part of Dwell on Design + designjunction's three-day event, featuring a program of talks chock-full of leading figures in design, architecture, urbanism, and beyond—coming up May 13-15 at ArtBeam in New York.
April 27, 2016
seattles mariners floating house prefab facade exterior fiber cement panels
A prefabricated floating home drops anchor in the Pacific Northwest.
April 27, 2016
royan treatment living room stone fireplace vintage new furnishings
French designer Florence Deau effortlessly mixes the old with the new.
April 27, 2016
modern netherlands 13 noordeinde schoolhouse parquet herringbone floors stove
Take a lesson from this school-turned-home.
April 27, 2016
The sidewalks of Copacabana in Rio De Janero, Brazil, designed by Roberto Burle Marx
The Jewish Museum in New York City takes it outside with a celebration of the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
April 26, 2016
Waterfront home in Belvedere, California
A 1960s home infested with powderpost beetles had to be sacrificed before this this Zen-inspired house could happen.
April 26, 2016
dialogue house
At the base of Echo Mountain in Phoenix, a geometric home by Wendell Burnette opens up to the surrounding desert landscape.
April 26, 2016
street smarts kitchen full view
A creative couple transforms an old Toronto storefront in Dundas West into a home and studio.
April 26, 2016
hald strand
This architect thinks of everything for his summer escape, pizza oven included.
April 26, 2016
gans turin residence living room
Thanks to a contemporary interior that she’s been updating for a decade, modern architect Abigail Turin has learned to love her traditional 1925 San Francisco home.
April 25, 2016
131
Johannesburg-based design studio Counterspace was founded in 2014 by young architecture graduates Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers, and Amina Kaskar. Their projects are collaborative, research-led investigations into possible futures and ideas of otherness in Johannesburg.
April 25, 2016
through living room
A second-story addition and a new indoor-outdoor focus revive a nondescript house in L.A.
April 25, 2016
Modern living room with Flexform sofa and Jens Fager candelabra
An Antwerp home blurs the boundaries between art and design.
April 25, 2016
hillside haven  1
This backyard is its own modern retreat in the Berkeley Hills.
April 25, 2016