#4 The Overlook Garden

  Subdivision: Overlook
Owner/ Designer: Linda and Marc Davidson
Garden Type or Features: Spectacular views, steep ridge stabilization, variety of mature shrubs, trees, and desert plants.

Artist in the Garden: John DeSpain

Description: This house, designed by Linda Davidson and built in 2003-2004, is situated on a high ridge above Placitas. It provides with great surrounding views but also came with landscaping challenges — extreme slopes on both sides of the property and poor soil consisting mostly of rocks, gravel, and sand.

Marc was accustomed to the fertile soils and ready water supply of Albuquerque’s South Valley, where he grew up, and the couple had spent many years raising vegetable gardens and fruit trees in the Village of Placitas. There would be no fruit trees or large vegetable gardens on this new property.

The first concern was securing the construction soil while retaining the integrity of the extreme slope. They spent the first year or two focused on planting slow-growing native and drought friendly shrubs and trees such as Juniper, Mugo Pine, Arborvitae, Desert Willow, Scrub Oak, Live Oak, Spanish Broom, lavenders, yuccas and cacti.


Over time, they added roses and, in protected areas, Wisteria, Creeping Phlox and a Green Maple. Flowerpots brought color to the home’s many patio spaces, and a small, enclosed vegetable/herbal garden plot was added for strawberries, spring leafy greens, spices, and a few experimental crops.

As the drought established itself across the Western states, Marc began filling most flowerpots with attractive rocks from the couple’s hiking and rock hounding adventures … no water needed!


Plant List

  • Evergreens: Austrian, Afghan, Mugo, Arborvitae, Junipers, and Scotch Pine
  • Shrubs: Heavenly Bamboo, Desert Willow, Pyracantha, Small Leaf Sumac,
    Scrub Oak, Live Oak, English and French Lavender, Thyme, Spreading Juniper
  • Desert plants: Yuccas, Spanish Broom, Desert Four O’clock, Cacti
  • Roses: various wild roses, Hybrid Tea (‘Abraham Lincoln’, ‘Queen Elizabeth’, and ‘Barbara Streisand’, and a couple of Floribunda
  • Others: Wisteria, Creeping Phlox, and a Green Maple Tree