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: Linda Davidson developed the initial concept for this home high above Placitas, then handed it off to a team that built it in 2003-2004 using foam block construction. The home’s dramatic location provides 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.
The couple’s first concern was securing the construction soil while retaining the integrity of the extreme slopes. Marc was accustomed to the fertile soils and ready water supply he grew up with in Albuquerque’s South Valley, and the couple spent eight years raising vegetable gardens and fruit trees in the Village of Placitas’ more forgiving microclimate. There would be no fruit trees or large vegetable gardens on this new property.
The first year or two, Marc 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 he added roses, Wisteria and, in protected areas, 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 rockhounding adventures … no water needed!
- 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 few Floribunda
- Others: Wisteria, Creeping Phlox, and Green Maple