2016 Garden #4

The Topiary Garden

You will be amazed at the view of this open landscape and home against the panoramic back drop of the Sandia Mountains. The combination of the Mediterranean style home and the wind-swept shapes of the topiary pruned junipers reminds one of landscapes along the California Big Sur coast.

Armstrong Garden 2 Maize Trl-scene

Continue to a center landscaped area with artfully arranged green ceramic pots among the yucca plants. A three tiered fountain ringed by brick and box plants lies just behind.   This landscaped garden, planned and designed by the homeowners, is stunningly simple and  dramatic.  The lady of the house is the pruning artist.   At one time she planned to prune all the native one-seeded junipers on the property down to the street level.   Now sensitive to the sun she has trained a landscaper on the art of  pruning juniper trees to resemble bonsai plant shapes.  The owners and their pruning assistant will inform you on the unique art of juniper pruning.   The junipers are gently trimmed once per year and are given extra water to maintain their health.  The larger west end enclosed courtyard provides a 70-mile view of the Rio Grande Valley.   The courtyard foreground is anchored by an illuminated rock waterfall with a large horse sculpture on the side.  This is a low maintenance garden property with water saving features captures roof rain water passively.

History of the Landscaping from the Owners

This custom home was built in 2004 and occupied in November 2004. The home was built on virgin hill lot (~1.7 acre), replete with many One Seed Junipers. The home was positioned on the lot to maximize views and to save as many junipers as possible. The home was designed to take advantage of south, west and north views. The view to the west stretches for 70 miles.fall 2015 098

All landscaping was planned and constructed by the home owners.

Plant and Landscaping special features:

Front (north facing)

  • U-drive centered with 3 large pots in an artistic cluster, with Yuccas
  • Many topiary junipers with branches spread in artistic clusters
  • Large 3 tier fountain ringed with brick and box plants
  • Ring of junipers around Great Room cathedral windows
  • Emerald green arborvitaes near front door
  • Evergreens along north wall
  • Italian cypress at north west corner
  • North-east topiary juniper group ringed with natural colored stones
  • Watering done with timed drip system throughout
  • Low voltage ground lights around driveway and along front path
  • Path with wrought iron gates to access west patio

West Patio

  • French drain rock basins catch and divert rain water from portal canales
  • Custom cut flagstone walk surrounding home
  • Rock/waterfall feature with automatic recirculating water
  • Low voltage ground lights along flagstone and highlighting rock features
  • Various native cacti planted in rock featuresfall 2015 097
  • Italian cypress west and southfall 2015 093
  • Watering done with timed drip system and with selector valves to limit water to cacti
  • Built-in custom BBQ/seating
  •  Patio ringed with retaining wall with west side kept low (2 ft) to preserve the view

Planting information

The ground is 60% rock so planting was done by amending the soil with commercial compost bags recommended/provided by local nursery.

fall 2015 100

Tour Safety

Guests should not approach the west patio retaining wall which is 2 ft high. Outside of wall drops 6 ft to rocky ground.