2022 #5 The Forest Sanctuary

Subdivision: Villas De Las Huertas
Owner/ Designer: Cheryl and Dick Weber
Garden Type or Features: Unique contemporary architecture landscaped with Northern New Mexico plants and trees with 360 views.

Artist in the Garden: Pea S. Garr

Description:  The Webers moved from Colorado to their uniquely designed Northern New Mexico style home in 2018. They were searching for a contemporary home in the Albuquerque area, and this home was perfect.

The previous owner, an artist and gardener, designed and planted the property using selected Northern New Mexico trees and shrubs grown from root stock before moving to Bend, Ore., to be closer to family. Cheryl and Dick, both accomplished artists, have had four years to learn best practices for maintaining the yard while establishing themselves in the Placitas art, volunteer, and social scene. They are good stewards of their planted landscape.

The front and side garden areas are predominantly high elevation plants – aspens, wood rose, and other conifers. The front entryway courtyard and portal protects the aspens from intense sunlight, and the aspens themselves have created a cool micro-climate for themselves, the surrounding plants, and the owners, who enjoy sitting under them on warm days and evenings. 

That V-shaped open-air courtyard also features a winding rock riverbed leading to a sculpture that can be also can be enjoyed from inside the house.   

The back courtyard is a formal two-row planting of dwarf Hawthorn trees, situated in a rectangular section of turf bordered by Canadian rose shrubs and Butterfly Bushes. This formal planting leads the eye to an elevated concrete pool area accented by sculptures. 

In addition to the plants and the contemporary home they surround, this landscape is designed to provide 360-degree views of the higher elevation property: the west valley, east, north, and south high elevation foothills.  

Plants by Garden Areas:

  • Front (west facing) open — aspens, conifers and a variety of wood roses from Mora, N.M.
  • Front open rectangular courtyard – mature aspen grove and Blue Plumbago ground cover in the front entrance courtyard, Mountain Dogwood, Redbud tree, pink native Penstemons, Joe Pye Weed shrubs, Atlas cedars, Piñon.
  • Side yards with combination of natives, shrubs and trees suited to the local climate and somewhat higher elevation – purple or plum leaf Sand Cherry (prunus X cistena) hybrid shrub, green Western Sand Cherry shrub (prunus besseyi), Four-wing saltbushes, conifers of all types, Mountain Mahogany, Apache Plumes, Honeysuckle, Three-Leaf Sumacs, raspberry shrubs that did not take hold.
  • Back enclosed courtyard is planted in roses shrubs (Canadian), a formal Hawthorne tree garden – two rows planted in a rectangular turf area that visually leads to the elevated pool. Canadian rose shrubs, rose vines, lavender, Crepe Myrtles, Virginia creeper vine.