United States of America, Arizona, Maricopa County, Paradise Valley
Ventana (Paradise Valley, Arizona)
Ventana means 'window' in Spanish so the owner named this garden for its windows to the surrounding mountain views. With a vision of a tapestry of plant materials and imaginative outdoor rooms, Ventana Park was created from a 5 acre tract of Sonoran desert scrub. The rocky desert soil, known as caliche, was gradually transformed over two years into rolling lawns, a citrus orchard, multiple beds of annuals, vegetable gardens and greenhouse, rose gardens, and lush beds of plant material along a stream lined with aquatic plants. A natural wash became a water feature designed to flow under the house and meander around boulders throughout the garden. Natural terracing was created by adding many boulders and top soil to the property that made it park-like in its entirety.
The garden was changed when local nurseries began to offer more drought tolerant plants. Many varieties of cacti, aloes, agaves and various succulents plus native wildflowers and trees were planted throughout the various themed areas of the garden, these plants being selected for their color, food, and shelter for the native birds and wildlife. For contrast, true desert plants have been placed in the garden for interest and texture, such as Golden Barrel and Ocotillo cacti.
A pavilion resembling a Frank Lloyd Wright design, set in the heart of the garden, is made of steel and canvas with candlelight illuminating from the outside and inside walls. Other garden features include: metal monkeys clinging to the palm trees near the pool, a bocce ball court, ping pong table, horseshoe pit and a putting green.
The success of this garden can be attributed to the presence of texture, sound, fragrance, movement and color. Normally color is hard to achieve in a desert garden but color has been achieved in this garden by obtaining hues from four methods: blooming desert trees, painted walls, garden art with color, and plants attracting natural wildlife.
The garden was previously called House of Four Seasons. This design was created to be a lush idyllic family retreat of brick paths, water features, raised flower beds and shade trees to depict the four seasons. It was changed to the current natural design of drought-tolerant plants called xeriscape in the 1990's due to the owner's passion for Southwest landscape.
This garden was originally documented in 1996, at that time it was identified as the House of Four Seasons. A second submission of garden documentation was provided in 2009, as Ventana.
Persons associated with the property include: Scott Lewis (landscape designer from 1978-1980); Steven Vorhees (landscape architect of water features from 1990-1991); Manuel Arreola (gardener from 1980-1994); Lyle London (sculptor).
This garden was featured in "Lush Microclimate Conveys Tranquility", Sun Living, Arizona Republic & Gazette, March 8, 1981, by Dana Lynn Fried; "A House for all Seasons", Sun Living, Arizona Republic & Gazette, October 30, 1983, by Anne Patterson; "Paradise on the Desert" , Phoenix Home and Garden, March 1984, by Maire Simmington; "A Look at Arid Landscaping" Sun Living, Arizona Republic & Gazette, March 11, 1984, by Unknown author; "Oasis in the Sonoran Desert", Southwest Passages, Summer Edition 1992, by William Clancy; "Garden of Enchantment", Phoenix Home & Garden, June 1994, by Evelyn K. McGraw