The Outside World

Warmer months mean it’s time to get out in your landscape. Here are some great designs, tips and products–like whimsical planters and outdoor fabrics–to get you back to the garden.

Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture Mitschele’s Landscape

CACTUS CANVAS
Not long after a Paradise Valley couple renovated their Mediterranean-style home, they also opted to hit the refresh button on their 6.6-acre landscape. “We resisted the desert for a while,” says the wife of their previous manicured, water-intensive landscape, “but we decided to embrace it and never looked back.” They asked Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture of Phoenix to handle the project. “We took out most of the original plantings except for trees,” explains Allison Colwell, a principal of the firm, “and replaced everything with cactus, aloes, agaves and other desert plants.” Working with the couple’s estate manager Woody Woodruff and contractor Mitschele’s Landscape, Colwell scoured the state for plant materials, finding specimen plantings such as saguaros, boojum trees, cardon and golden barrel cactus, quiver tree and Hercules aloes—even scoring numerous rare, crested cacti. “We did a more natural planting at the property’s perimeter that reflects nearby Camelback Mountain,” says Colwell, “then it transitions to lusher plantings inside the gates.” Colwell also designed a “freaks and geeks” bed with unusual specimens, like boxing glove cholla, old man cactus and dinner plate opuntia. “The garden gives us great joy,” says the wife. “It’s become a collection—almost a hobby—and we can add to it.”  

Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture Mitschele’s Landscape

RAISING THE BAR
For the latest incarnation of Thomas O’Brien for Century Furniture, a garden variety of options abound. But the one that stands out most is the Augustine metal bar cart, available in O’Brien’s signature Litchfield green or navy. Neoclassical scrolls and gold wheels add the pizzazz, while three tempered glass tiers bring the function. Prep up your outdoors space with one, or do as O’Brien suggests and add two to an entryway or living room for maximum impact. $2,685, 2708 N. 68th St., Ste. 4

Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture Mitschele’s Landscape

MASTER GARDENER 
If you’ve ever walked the grounds of a significant estate in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley or Phoenix, chances are the garden was designed by landscape architect Jeff Berghoff. Since opening his Scottsdale firm in 1997, Berghoff—a Phoenix native and ASU grad with a BSLA—has established himself as the go-to designer of luxe properties, be they ultramodern or sweetly traditional. “I try not to have a style,” says Berghoff, whose 300-person firm handles design, build and maintenance. “However, I do try to introduce a sense of romance that’s based on an English garden, with layers of plantings, hedges and drifts of things like lavender.” Berghoff caught his first big break when the late Scottsdale architect George Christensen recommended him for a big estate project. Since then, he’s concentrated on residential work, creating landscapes for homes designed by architects like Marwan Al-Sayed, Al Beadle and Frank Lloyd Wright—namely, the historic Gladys and David Wright house in Arcadia. Berghoff’s talents have garnered him clients in Colorado, Texas and California, where he’s working on three Napa Valley wineries. He’s also developed a passion for garden photography, hosting a pop-up exhibition, Visions of Garden Life, last fall in Scottsdale. “I’m always on a site and always in the dirt,” he says. “I love it.” 

Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture Mitschele’s Landscape

ASK THE EXPERT

What trends are you seeing in outdoor furniture?
“There’s an accent on seating for casual lounging outdoors, with deep seating, cushioned pieces as an extension of indoor rooms. Outdoor fabrics are becoming more tactile and textured, and the furnishings themselves have an eclectic mix of materials, such as wood, metal and woven pieces. In colors, outdoor furniture is following fashion-driven colors. You see a lot of gold tones in jewelry and plumbing, for example, so gold tones are current for outdoor furnishings. We’re also seeing more a trend toward more contemporary designs with cleaner lines, plus a mixing of styles. Nothing is ‘matchy-matchy’ anymore.” -Steve Elton, chief brand curator for Brown Jordan, 15345 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale 

Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture Mitschele’s Landscape

BED HEAD 
When vice president of Scottsdale’s Parnian Furniture Leila Parnian was recently searching for an outdoor line to carry, Vondom was the clear choice. The Spanish outdoor furniture company crafts modern, contemporary pieces made out of high-end polyethylene and polypropylene, ensuring every piece is UV-protected and weatherproof. Guests can purchase chaise lounges, an LED-lit bar, planters and more. Parnian is the only Vondom distributor in Arizona. From $110, 16219 N. 82nd St., Scottsdale

Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture Mitschele’s Landscape

FIRE WATER
Two dramatic elements join in perfect harmony in the Torch 360 Degree water and fire bowl, designed by Bobé Water & Fire Features, an Arizona-based manufacturer of high-end outdoor landscaping products. Torch 360’s seamless lip cascades water over the bowl in a beautiful sheet, adding an element of Zen to dancing flames. The highly customizable product also comes in a variety of sizes and finishes, so you can select the perfect model for your outdoor design needs. Price available upon request 

Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture Mitschele’s Landscape

ASK THE EXPERTS

What are people buying at your nursery?
“There’s a big resurgence of interest in houseplants, such as fiddle leaf fig, Sansevieria and ZZ plants, both from a clean-air and interior design perspective. People Instagram their potted plants. Outdoors, we’ve seen an uptick in edible gardens because of the interest in veganism and clean eating—everyone wants the farm-to-table experience at home. Leafy greens, herbs, citrus and basics like tomatoes are popular. We also sell a lot of moringa trees for their leaves, used for tea. And, here, everyone wants drought-tolerant plants for landscaping.” -Jessica and Ryan Jerrell, owners, Dig It Gardens, a nursery and design studio, 3015 N. 16th St., Phoenix 

Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture Mitschele’s Landscape

WARMING TREND 
For more than 30 years, Israel-based Ortal has specialized in frameless gas fireplaces. Its new indoor-outdoor model stylishly bridges the gap between the interior and exterior. The outdoor glass of the fireplace protects the home from the elements and condensation while the fireplace’s efficient heating system keeps an indoor space toasty. All of Ortal’s models feature built-in, recessed lighting and a burner design that supplies optimal warmth. From $10,800, Arizona Fireplaces, 20835 N. 25th Place, Phoenix

Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture Mitschele’s Landscape

A NEW DAY 
“The Daybreak collection was developed around the idea of combining casual comfort with bold design,” says Marc Kurlander, Link Outdoor’s director of design. For the rectangular Daybreak dining table, which spans 120 inches and seats up to 10, Kurlander mixed teak and stainless steel to create a versatile piece that would be at home indoors or out. The table also comes in a variety of finish options. To the trade, John Brooks Inc., 2712 N. 68th St.

Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture Mitschele’s Landscape

BRIGHT EYES
For his sculptural lighting collaboration with Dedon, award-winning designer Stephen Burks brings a whimsical element to the outdoors, combining handwoven bodies with Italian-milled marble bases and optional acrylic eyes to create an eccentric collection dubbed The Others. Alone, each personality-packed lamp makes a strong visual statement. But when stacked in totemlike formations, playful characters emerge. “I imagined a colorful community of dreamers, full of personality, gazing back at the rest of the world with ambition, sophistication and pride,” says Burks. “They appeared to me almost like ambassadors or guides into our imagination.” From $900, Inside/Out, 6812 E. Thomas Road