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    Landscaping albuquerque, landscape design albuquerque xeriscape xeriscaping native plants
    A rainy fall afternoon at one of our sites which was installed last year. The straight lines of the welded steel trellis and the square cut flagstone provide a slightly more formal look to this design, but elsewhere there are meandering, flowing plant layouts that maintain our signature style. This is the time of year where planning for next spring starts to take shape. Call us for a free design consultation.
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    Excited to be starting this project in the NE side of Albuquerque this week. The central feature of the landscape is a custom designed 20′ x 20′ welded steel pergola with built in bench seat and table. This is meant to serve as more of an outdoor living room rather than just a patio or seating area. Other features include a ceramic pot water feature, a netafim sheep fescue lawn, welded steel garden boxes and a flagstone patio. Of course all this is accompanied by a diverse native plant pallet with color throughout every season.
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    Landscape Design Albuquerque Xeriscape Xeriscaping Native Plants
    Here is a hummingbird trumpet in the foreground and a mixed meadow with dozens of Plains Coreopsis blooming in back. All planted in April and all coming along beautifully. Annual wildflowers like California poppy and plains Coreopsis are the first phase in establishing a native grass meadow and play a crucial role in stabilizing and preparing the area for the grasses which will start to dominate the meadow in years to come. This is why it’s best to use a mix of wildflowers and grasses when vegetating an area, aside from the fact that it looks great too. All irrigated by subsurface Netafim irrigation tubing which is much more efficient than above ground sprinklers.
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    Landscape design albuquerque, landscaping albuquerque xeriscape albuquerque native plants water conservation
    Just checking in at a design from last year. This Honey Locust tree (Gleditsia triacanthos) has put on about six feet in height already and the Purple Smokebush (Continus coggygria) is filling out well. The groundcover in the foreground with the red flowers is Hummingbird Trumpet (Epilobium canum) and the client is reporting that his hummingbird sightings have gone up drastically since they began blooming.
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    Photos of a revegetation job we did a couple years back. After a pool was built nearby there was a denuded, compacted access road and a large area behind the pool totaling about half an acre. Here’s what it looks like now after seeding Gaillardia, Mexican hat, plains coreopsis, desert marigolds and a variety of native grasses. For now, the annual and perennial flowers have a strong presence while the grasses are still small. This is the typical progression of a revegetation project, ultimately leading to a prairie mostly dominated by the grasses. For now, though, it’s quite showy.
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    Another great bit of swale work with moss rock boulders accenting the edges for a more natural appearance.
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    We created this little turtle apartment for a client a few years ago. It’s a simple flagstone piece propped up high enough for turtles to enter (but not high enough for raccoons to sneak in) with a soil berm on top to insulate them from the elements. This property used to be a lawn, and though the turtles were present at that time, the client reports that since the xeriscape conversion, they’ve started to reproduce! She also reports a 55% reduction in her water usage which isn’t bad either. This is just one of many examples of wildlife that will be attracted to a diverse mix of native and adapted plants in our professionally designed landscapes.
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    Here’s a shady garden under a large mulberry tree with some spring flowers in full bloom. The pink is Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea), the yellow is Golden Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha) and the purple is Rocky Mountain Penstemon (Penstemon strictus). All these plants (or their varieties in the case of the coral bells) can be found all over New Mexico in the shady understories of our Ponderosa and mixed conifer forests. This landscape just went in last summer, so it has a long way to go in maturing, but is already showing off its beauty.
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    There are ways to have an emerald green turf like this one without wasting water. This grass is called sheep fescue. It’s easy to germinate, share tolerant and it only needs water once a week once established. Believe it or not, there are no sprinklers on this lawn, only drip tubing which we installed underground that supplies water directly to the roots, preventing evaporation and saving even more water! It’s also a much better solution for providing deep watering to the existing mulberry tree, and there’s no trenching required.
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    A large backyard landscape renovation in the north valley with many existing shade/fruit trees and a gnarled, mature cottonwood. These clients felt overwhelmed with the amount of space they had, the bare soil and the accompanying weeds. We used a heavy layer of various wood mulches to suppress weeds, maintain soil moisture and promote plant health, then added a diverse and extensive plant pallet with drip irrigation. The drip will benefit the nearby existing trees as well as the new landscape as their roots continue to grow outward. More pictures of this project to come.
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    Visiting a landscape design in Tucson from a few years back and things are beginning to fill in. The Sonora and Chihuahuan deserts are both teeming with insect and wildflower activity this spring after a particularly wet winter. Great time to get out into the garden and start planning!
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    Water was piling in this area of an adjacent parking lot, so we cut the curb out to allow it to drain into the swale and passively irrigate the landscape. There are three large shade trees in the swale that will benefit from these deep waterings over time. There are many different low impact design features such as this simple concept and we’re always happy to get a chance to implement them.
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    Prospective designs for later this season. This property had large rock borders dividing the landscape in a somewhat awkward way so we choose to use them instead in a rock/crevice garden that will be home to many native plants with spreading or creeping habits alongside some more upright xeriscape favorites like Yucca baccata and Claret Cup Cactus. As always, diversity in plant material is key to creating a robust habitat for various birds, bats and other pollinators.
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    Another xeriscape design, this time including native plants ranging from the Sandia and Manzano mountains, foothills and bosque. Can you identify which plants represent which ecosystems?
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    Winter is a great time for landscape construction. Most planting of shrubs and trees can be done at this time as well with the exception of Mediterranean adapted plants and other cold sensitive species.
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    Fall greetings from all of us here at Southwest Horticulture. Here is a photo taken by Louis of a design by George Radnovich from Sites Southwest that we installed last spring. The permeable paver walkways are great quality with a timeless appearance and are manufactured locally by a company called Riccobene. The red flowing plant is Epilobium canum or Hummingbird Trumpet.
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    Landscaping Albuquerque Water feature xeriscape native plants landscape design albuquerque
    A look at one of our installs from this spring. This boulder had a lot of character and made a perfect fountain stone once we drilled a hole in the middle. The blanket flowers in front of the fountain are actually a native wildflower that blooms throughout the summer and tolerates hot, sunny locations.
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    Another xeriscape conversion that took this long stretch of lawn and turned it into a diverse mix of shrubs, perennials and specimen trees. We also needed to remediate drainage issues from the roof and did so by adding swale lines and contours to the soil that gave us a place to display some natural stone rip-rap and rock walls. All of this and we still maintained some lawn area for the sake of two large shade trees that were used to sprinkler irrigation. But we converted to low-flow sprinklers of course!
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    The finished product on the more formal xeriscape design I posted a while back. The gabion seat walls and flagstone path were just what this space needed to become a garden that people will want to spend time in rather than just observe. The path will soon be carpeted with Creeping Thyme and Turkish Veronica, and the honeysuckle will quickly climb the welded steel trellis.
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    Visiting a job from a few years back. It’s great to see how the Creeping Thyme has infiltrated the flagstone patio. This was planted around July 2015 and that desert willow in the background was only about a foot tall. Birds, butterflies and bees were abound during my brief visit. So nice to see a design fulfilling it’s original vision.
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    Here’s another custom, welded steel pergola built by Louis and his crew with a grape and a wisteria growing up the sides. We also built this flagstone patio for the client who had a poorly built, mismatched flagstone patio previously. We are very grateful to have such hard working, talented artisans on our team. Bob taught us this flagstone style years back and it really stands out from 99% of the flagstone work we see around town.
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    A recently completed xeriscape conversion in the Ridgecrest area of town. The property has so much character and sits on a corner lot with a far above average square footage in what was originally the lawn area. For as much water and maintenance this lawn must have required, it wasn’t really a usable space. There are a couple mature elm trees but otherwise no shade, just vast, uniform, exposed lawn that wasn’t particularly inviting. Now it’s home you just about 300 plants with an array of color, texture and size that will make the space so much more interesting as well as provide habitat for birds and pollinators as it matures. Excited to see this one develop.
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    It’s nice to see a plan start to come together. Trees and shrubs can take years to mature and fulfill the vision of the original design, but small perennials call mature more quickly like the yellow Prairie Zinnia on the foreground of this shot and the blue Dwarf Plumbago in the back. At this site, the architecture of the client’s house lent itself to a couple areas of mass plantings as opposed to our typical natural style, but the result was beautiful nonetheless. Often times perennials can have much shorter lives than shrubs and trees as well, but these two spreading ground covers will continue to propogate and survive for many years to come. It’s all about choosing the correct plants.
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    A look at a meadow area we seeded last fall. There is a “before” picture in this gallery which shows this same area as a patch of blank dirt. Now it is teeming with native wild flowers which will pave the way for the emerging grasses.
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    Look at this crew! The kids from ACE high school installed this landscape we designed for them in no time. They even worked on the irrigation system as well. Next week we’ll bring in the gravel and take some after pictures.
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    This is a look at one of our newly installed projects at twilight. Low-voltage lighting is a great way to accent plants and paths and make a landscape come to life at night. We use LED bulbs that create a soft warm light and last forever without requiring much electricity. Some of the best wildlife is fluttering around at this time of night, bats with their erratic flight, hawkmoths pollinating primrose and honeysuckle, etc. Overall, just a great way to complete the look and make the landscape usable at any time.
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    Another design for a xeriscape conversion. There is currently about 1500′ sq of grass that we are in the process of removing from the site to convert to a more natural, flowing design aesthetic using native and xeric plants. We welcome a new team member this week and continue to look forward to many more projects that make a positive impact on our clients well being and that of our community!
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    Happy mother’s day! This is a picture of my mommy’s garden that we designed and built last year. It still has a long way to go, but looks nice already.
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    The design continues as we move into warmer weather.  This space is a courtyard with large windows from the kitchen and living room looking out upon it which warrants special attention to aesthetic details as well as the sense that this landscape will truly be appreciated by the home owners.  The property is situated right next to the bosque which means there will be plenty of wildlife visitors as well.  All the members of the mint family (Salvia, rosemary, lavender, catmint etc) are prized for their durability and beauty in the garden, but did you know they’re also rabbit and deer resistant due to the natural oils that give them their fragrance?
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    Since most people don’t interpret designs from a plan view for a living, a completed design can seem a little abstract to the average person. Sometimes color helps the client better visualize the planted spaces. Of course there’s no matching the colors of nature precisely, and it’s hard to represent color changes in flowers and foliage throughout the season, but this is something that I’d like to continue working on as time allows. This perimeter garden has a few large shrubs throughout right now, but we’re removing some and creating a dense, colorful planting near the entry way that will be much more welcoming and interesting to residents and guests.
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    It’s very busy design time and spring again! I’ll be posting many designs that I’ve been working on from large installations like this to small flower bed designs. Any space can look like a page out of a magazine with the right professional design. This project will have about 300 plants going in and probably close to 100 different species. A diverse selection of native plants based on their color, texture and size is a key element to creating a space with dramatic beauty and year round interest. Even better, it is this very same diversity that attracts pollinators, birds, butterflies and all the creatures that inhabit the landscape as well! In landscapes as well as in life, diversity is a key element to keeping things interesting.
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    Visited a recently finished project this morning. We incorporated a lot of evergreen elements into this design, shrubs like Rosemary, Yucca, Mexican Blue Sage, and in the floral layer as well with plants like Penstemon, Germander and Yellow Ice Plant
    The house is a mid-century classic with a large mulberry in the middle, so we kept some of the original plant pallet like Nandina and Wisteria and incorporated the brick path to showcase that aspect of the property. Anxious to see how the more contemporary design elements like native desert plants and Mediterranean herbs work with the older style plants as the season progresses.
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    We are charging right through winter and into spring! Calendar fills fast these days, but it’s always a good time to start a design like this front yard of a repeat client whose backyard we did last year. This landscape design employs a variety of plants that will cascade over the edges of the drystack brick retaining wall which will be recycled from a poorly designed patio that was inherited with the property. As always we aim for color year round, appropriate plants for sun and shade, rainwater harvesting and low water/maintenance. Will post pics when this one is completed.
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    Brick and welded steel make for a classic combination in this side yard. The Honeysuckle vines were planted in January and were not very big, now they’ve nearly covered this trellis to provide privacy for the client in just one growing season!
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    This French garden is more formal than our usual style, but it has been a lot of fun to see it come together nonetheless. Bob and Carmen perfected the spacing on the dwarfplumbago which is the plant with the red foliage below. They are prolific bloomers and during the summer were covered with butterflies throughout the day. The front yard is a beautiful carpet of prairie
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    Fall is my favorite time to just check on some of our previous installs. These natural stone stairs in this client’s native landscape in the foothills are still looking great and the plants are filling in nicely as well.
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    Another look at the steel pergola and completed travertine water feature in one of our projects from this summer. This structure will be covered with honeysuckle in no time, adding a sweet fragrance to this outdoor living space in the spring.
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    More fall flowers the reds are Salvia gregii a prolific bloomer throughout the growing season and great for attracting hummingbirds. The orange and yellow in the background is a Washington Hawthorne tree which has berries in the fall that are browsed by birds.
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    More design work. This is another backyard that will promote habitat for birds and pollinators while creating a more intimate and private space for the client to enjoy. The fall and winter are busy for us as well, and we take off a few weeks during the holidays, so remember, if you’d like to have a landscape installed in the spring, now is the perfect time to start the process.
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    Fall flowers at the house of one of our favorite clients. Every design is focused on bringing color year round instead of just a spring bonanza followed by a plot of green the rest of the year (a common oversight in many landscape designs.) We are lucky to work with such nice people, both our teachers and clients.
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    Louis and I at the opening ceremony of the crane viewing platform at the Rio Grande Nature Center last week. We built the accompanying landscape which was designed by Judy Kowalski of the New Mexico State Parks department. We ran into one of our clients at the event and she took this picture. So nice to see people coming together over the preservation of our wild spaces.
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    Another completed landscape from earlier this season. Bob and Carmen did a fantastic job on the flagstone patio and Louis did all the trellis work that closes in the space and creates an outdoor room. There are also trees that will grow up to shade the patio in time. This will be a nice native / edible garden for the client and their children that people will actually want to spend some time visiting.
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    This landscape has been in since July and has already grown considerably. Despite the lush appearance, this client’s water bill has been reduced by 55% by eliminating most of the lawn that was in this area previously.
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    Another look at the welded steel pergola built by our install foreman Louis. In the coming years, the Japanese honeysuckle vines will cover the sides and top of the structure, adding to the cool, inviting atmosphere and perfuming the air in the spring.
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    Here is the completed Japanese style garden. The welded steel pergola in the back really finished off the look and makes this landscape very “usable.” In time the Japanese honeysuckle vines will cover the pergola and the trees and shrubs will grow up to shade the perimeter and enclose this landscape. Will post a better picture of the pergola later.

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    On our latest installation, those ugly old, falling over railroad ties had to go, so we tore them out and built a natural stone retaining wall in their place. This wall will last forever, but beyond functionality, it lends a feeling of rugged, natural beauty to the rest of this design. More pics to come.
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    A close up look at the moss rock water feature that Louis and Mario, our installation experts came up with when the client asked for a low impact water feature that would give birds and her turtles a place to hang out.
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    Another installation in the Ridgecrest area with a latilla portal that will eventually be covered by the lady banks rose planted at it’s base. This client actually works for the water utility authority and shared our vision of enhancing the beauty of her landscape through lush and dense plantings while still using a responsible amount of water. So nice to work with forward thinking members of our community who strive towards similar goals!
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    One of our latest designs implemented. This used to be a big, water sucking lawn and now it’s a bird/pollinator/turtle paradise for a fraction of the water costs. We teamed up with Amos at ABCWUA to give the client an idea of when this xeriscape conversion would pay for itself through reduced water bills. What a great tool, happy to work with those folks.
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    My take on a Japanese garden design. Of course this is mostly my own style of design but with many plants (both native and non native) that lend themselves well to the Japanese garden aesthetic. This project will hopefully be going in around mid July.
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    This was a huge flat expanse of artificial turf before we converted it into this colorful xeriscape The remaining turf area is Sheeps fescue which is a drought tolerant, no-mow, alternative lawn grass which will require so much less maintenance and attention than a typical lawn over the course of its life.
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    Here’s a recent design that we are very excited to install. The xeriscape rebate inspector is coming in, the lawn is coming out, and this densely planted pollinator and bird habitat garden is going in.
    Did you know 70% of residential water use comes from outdoor irrigation? That’s mostly due to lawns which use an obscene amount of water through sprinkler irrigation. A well designed xeriscape conversion like the one pictured here can be full, lush and densely planted and still require a fraction of the irrigation and maintenance that a lawn would require.
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    Another completed landscape designed by a local landscape architect. The flagstone rock garden was meant to emulate a feature seen in the Denver botanical gardens. These permeable paver walkways allow water through to tree roots and make a durable, showy surface.
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    Here’s a job we finished this winter. There are dormant plants in the ground with irrigation, but they have yet to come up. In the mean time, admire this elegant rain chain as it provides a more attractive way of directing roof run off into a locally manufactured rain barrel. The paths and stone garden bed will make this an inviting garden where the clients will be spending a lot of their time.
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    This flagstone patio will be covered in creeping thyme soon. We constructed this shade structure for the lady banks rose to climb on, built the patio and installed the irrigation and plants in the perimeter beds of this courtyard style garden. Excited to see this after another growing season.
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    A beautiful cutstone retaining wall surrounds this cobblestone basin which catches rain water shred from a nearby patio The sprawling plant is a native called Yerba Mansa. It typically grows in the Bosque so is no stranger to getting it’s feet wet. It will spread and fill in the entire basin in the future but has already come a long way in just it’s second year.
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    Before and after with the hodgepodge brick/flagstone/paver monotonous square and it’s transformation to an elegant brick path with a sweeping curve and a flagstone patio with a large red oak tree planted for shade. This should be an inviting and useful space in the summer months. Can’t wait to see it when the tree leafs.

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