A Landscape Architect’s Take On Desert Gardens


A Landscape Architect's Take On Desert Gardens

Desert Gardens of Steve Martino by Caren Yglesias

Garden designers and admirers of all things green will find a delightful surprise in the eclectic repertoire of Steve Martino, a landscape architect who was born and raised in Phoenix and is based there still.

As seen in this survey of 21 gardens, the dry desert terrain of the Southwest is elevated by Martino’s inclusion of the bold, man-made element, typically in the form of bright stucco walls, outdoor showers, sculptures, arbors or benches.

Vibrant colors and statement pieces lend a sense of drama to the environment that, when juxtaposed with native vegetation, creates a surprisingly harmonious transition from the home to its surrounding landscape. The careful interplay of light and shadow also guides his work, as does abundant wildlife.

Martino’s signature style brings much-needed levity to a scorching environment while providing practical spaces for living and entertaining.