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 Tuscan-like 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 botanical garden.
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 the 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 bamboo, 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 floor-to-ceiling pocket window. When fully open, the windows disappear, and the verdant setting