Book review - Desert Gardens of Steve Martino
I have always said that I would be unhappy living in the desert because it is not green enough for me. I still adhere to that belief but I do enjoy looking at photos of desert gardens and the plants that inhabit them are certainly dramatic.
I was recently sent the book "Desert Gardens of Steve Martino" by Caren Yglesias to review for Library Journal and I really loved the book.
Martino, a Phoenix-born landscape architect, calls himself "an accidental landscape architect". He was fascinated by the desert from a young age when he would explore the surrounding Sonoran Desert on horseback. Later, he majored in architecture and found himself more interested in the outside spaces between buildings and how to use them as expansions of the interior. He became highly interested in native desert plants at a time when other landscape architects considered them nothing but weeds. He questioned why they were using plants that relied on water instead of local plants that thrived on practically none.
His work, which he describes as “weeds and walls” pairs native plants alongside boldly painted stucco walls, water features, and custom outdoor furnishings.
This book showcases twenty-one of Martino's artistic gardens in Arizona and California which dramatically capture the light, colors and shadows of the Southwest. The book is illustrated by spectacular photographs by Steve Gunther.
|Martino says that he is a fanatic about privacy and creates it by using walls and plants.|
|He started out as a photographer and composition and shadows are a focus in his work.|
|Courtyards are often used in his designs as a way to bring people out of their houses and into the garden.|
|I love walls and we had a purple wall in our previous garden. I have been thinking about how to incorporate a wall in our new garden and this book gives me ideas.|
|Water features and pools are also important elements in a desert garden.|
This is a beautifully designed book that will appeal to gardeners and designers interested in Southwest gardens. The book is published by Monacelli Press and will be available April 3.