A dated landscape is brought back to life with a plethora
of plant textures, forms and colors
Situated in a cul-de-sac among a handful of Ranch-style
homes and one newly built Tuscanlike villa, Brian Kissinger's
Mid-century Modern house truly is a standout. But from
the street, it hardly stands out at all. Hidden behind
mounds of exotic looking plant material and specimen-size
vegetation, the residence sits down "within" the landscape,
almost as if it has been dropped in the middle of a
This magical setting was created by Kissinger-a landscape
designer- after he and his partner, Todd McCandless,
purchased the hillside property in Paradise Valley,
Ariz., in 2005. the existing house was a revival of
a Mid-century Modern dwelling (circa 1967) that the
pair says had good bones but needed an overhaul. Working
with architect James Kottke, they gutted the inside
and developed an updated version of its former self
that takes advantage of panoramic mountain views.
"With house itself being a creature of uncluttered simple
space, I wanted the garden to be a juxtaposition of
plant material," Kissinger remarks. "With so many viewable
areas from inside, it was really important to create
a canvas that not only framed the mountain vistas, but
also stood well on close inspection."
To accomplish this, the landscape design created four
separate garden zones that encompass layers of plants
offering a range of textures, shapes and varieties.
For instance, in the front yard, massive berms are planted
with a mesmerizing mix of low-growing cacti, sprawling
succulents and lanky saguaros that thrive under a canopy
of date palms.
In the entry courtyard, Kissinger designed a tropical
garden with babboo, jacaranda trees, cycads and plumerias.
"It's kind of a controlled chaos," says Kissinger. "It's
how it might look in nature." The lush environment can
be viewed fro the dining room thru floot-to-ceiling
pocket window. When fully open, the windows disappear,
and the verdant setting