| Architecture Studies Library
Nevada Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (NASLA) Landscape Awards
|Project Name: Mojave Water Harvest Garden
Project location: Las Vegas, NV
Project number: NASLA Awards 2005 15
Category: Landscape Architectural Design - Residential/Model Homes
Material in the Architecture Studies Library: Project description form, CDROM with images.
Project description. Image(s) 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
Landscape Architect Firms:
Residential Design Category
Name of Project: Mojave Water Harvest Garden.
The project represents an experimental prototype for conversion of typical residential gardens in Las Vegas. The original 1970’s ranch style house, located on a quarter acre lot in a typical suburban neighborhood, contained sloping lawns where irrigation water drained into a large swimming pool and into the street. West facing bedrooms acted as solar collectors that warmed excessively during summer days. The designer/builder/owner sought to use readily accessible materials that could be constructed by non-professionals on a small budget of less than $10,000. Goals Included:
Starting in 1992, the owners regarded the site to allow slopes away from the sidewalk to harvest front yard runoff. A granite boulder wall retains an upper level patio and planting beds, and echoes the Wilson Cliffs escarpment on the west side of the Las Vegas Valley. Decomposed granite paving allows percolation to the shallow aquifer (the garden is located near the original springs that identified “las vegas” and the water table ranges from 20 – 50’ in this area). Plants are allowed to reseed in the paving and planting areas. An existing, mature pine tree was kept because of the shade it provides to the house and parking area.
The backyard was graded toward a small, central turf panel used for sunbathing, dog lounging, and group horseplay. Large concrete patios were replaced with flagstone paths, patios, and planting areas adjacent to the western façade. Patio tables were located so that residents could choose the coolest site in summer and warmest in winter. Stucco bench walls sculpt outdoor rooms and retain earth. Chilopsis linearis and inexpensive rattan mats provide afternoon and evening shade. Acacia smallii, planted along the west property line, shade the north patio where a fire pit is used for occasional bonfires. The aging, rooftop air conditioner was replaced with a dual system evaporative cooler/air conditioner that reduces energy needs by approximately 30% and introduces much appreciated humidity during hot months.
Turf was also removed from side yards and replaced with flagstone or decomposed granite. Two existing pomegranate trees produce enough grenadine and jelly for the entire year while existing grape vines provide table grapes each spring. Existing ivy and pyracantha were retained to provide green blankets over privacy walls.