Historic Landscape Styles
Historic Landscape Styles

Historic Landscape Styles

Earlier this week, I was finishing up an appointment in downtown Phoenix and since I had some spare time available, I decided to drive through one of my favorite historic neighborhoods – the Encanto-Palmcroft district.

Historic Landscape Styles

Historic Landscape Styles

I always enjoy driving down streets looking at homes built long ago and seeing how they are landscaped.  Some, remain the traditional landscaping with green lawns, neatly pruned shrubs and deciduous trees, like the one above.

Historic Landscape Styles

I love porches, which aren’t a popular feature in southwestern homes in general.  These homeowners made the most of their small porch with a pair of rocking chairs and colorful Talavera pottery.

Historic Landscape Styles

Some of the houses had taken on some more modern design elements such as adding raised beds and a small courtyard.

Historic Landscape Styles

I really liked this raised bed which was filled with plants prized for foliage and not flowers.

Historic Landscape Styles

While there were still front landscapes filled almost entirely with grass, but some had decreased the amount of grass.  I liked this one where two rectangles of grass flanked the front entry, yet stops at the wooden fence where it transitions to a xeriscape.  It speaks to the historic roots of the neighborhood while injecting a touch of modernity.

artichoke agave (Agave parryi 'truncata') and lady's slipper (Pedilanthus macrocarpus)

Plants such as artichoke agave (Agave parryi ‘truncata’) and lady’s slipper (Pedilanthus macrocarpus) fit in seamlessly with the other more traditional landscape elements in this garden.

Historic Landscape Styles

This home also retained its lawn but added drought tolerant plants up toward the foundation.  The spiky texture of agave and yucca add a contemporary touch along with texture contrast.

Texas olive (Cordia boissieri).

Here is a car that you would expect to see when many of these homes were brand new.

Check out the large Texas olive (Cordia boissieri).

Historic Landscape Styles

This home had a walled-in courtyard added for privacy and a curved path leads up toward the entry.

Historic Landscape Styles

The pathway leading toward the residence begins at the parking strip and is flanked by river rock.

Historic Landscape Styles

A couple of the historic homes shed their green lawns and formerly pruned shrubs completely.

Mature specimens of ironwood (Olneya tesota), jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), and creosote (Larrea tridentata) create privacy for this house.

An informal pathway also bisects this parking strip leading toward the entry path to the house.

Historic Landscape Styles

The purple door contrasts beautifully with the hunter green color of the house.

Historic Landscape Styles

The backyard of this desert retreat is surrounded by a fence made of rebar.

 hopbush (Dodonaea viscosa) and yucca.

Small vignettes are visible through plantings of hopbush (Dodonaea viscosa) and yucca.

palo blanco tree (Acacia willardiana).

As I left the historic district, I spotted a beautiful specimen of a palo blanco tree (Acacia willardiana).

I could have spent several hours exploring the Encanto-Palmcroft historic district, but it’s nice to have a reason to come back again someday.

*You can view another garden in this historic district from an earlier post, A Hidden Jewel In the Middle of Phoenix.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

2 replies
  1. Gardens at Waters East
    Gardens at Waters East says:

    I really really enjoyed your blog post today. I am into garden design and architecture so you combined two of my loves. Your photos were so helpful in seeing what I call "sustainable" living in an area with little water resources. Again, very nice posting. Jack

  2. RobinL
    RobinL says:

    I found it interesting to note that even there in the desert SW, homes still thought it appropriate to keep a grass lawn. But I'm glad to hear that times are changing those antiquated views.

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