In the gated Bridle Ranch community at Queen Creek, a worldly and artistic couple desired a curated landscape fit for entertaining and for elevating their Ambrosia home from the outside in. Thanks to Phoenix-based landscape design firm Creative Environments (creativeenvironments.com), simplicity and luxury collide for a stunning effect complementing the home designed by KTGY Architecture + Planning and built by Toll Brothers. Their philosophy for creating a landscape as gorgeous as the home it accompanies, as well as its scenic San Tan Mountain backdrop? Minimalism. “‘Less is more’ is the design mantra we followed on this one,” explains Creative Environments’ director of design, Sherilyn Ocampo- Palisoc. “We have created a tranquil landscape setting that serves as a peaceful backdrop to the house style and the magnificent mountain view at the back.”
Clean hedges and architectural plants were installed in modern linear forms to further punctuate the simplicity and openness of the design.
The landscaping stands to tie together the dual aesthetic of the home. A dynamic collaboration of two styles, the Ambrosia home impresses with contemporary architecture and midcentury-style interior design. Simple elegance, then, was the key to the landscape design. “We wanted to find the design middle ground that serves as the transitional and complementary space to both styles,” explains Ocampo-Palisoc. “We opted to have more subdued, almost monolithic, silhouettes for the landscape to provide a calming contrast to the dynamic movement of the house style.”
The spa is strategically located to be seen as a water feature element from important viewpoints inside the house and the backyard.
“In designing a landscape in this modern minimalist style, details and materials are extremely essential to the success of the design. The simple, uncluttered lines can easily be interpreted as plain and boring if materials and details are not given utmost attention,” the landscape designer says. “We have chosen materials that provide textural variations and a smorgasbord of sensory experience. The sleekness of the pool’s black granite in contrast with the chipped basalt negative-edge wall provides the viewer with a diverse sensual treat.”
The home’s contemporary minimalist style is expressed in the backyard through clean lines, such as the entertaining pavilion made of steel columns and beams holding a floating barbecue counter, and the same combination anchoring the swing bed feature.
“Simple lines do not mean a bland and boring landscape. If designed and executed carefully, less could be a more timeless and elegant design,” Ocampo-Palisoc says. “Choose your sparkles mindfully and establish spatial and element hierarchy. Don’t design it bejeweled all over the place but accentuate instead; build up the drama on one explosive focal point or create subtle contrast and varied experiences for highlights.”
A black interior and exterior used for the spa provide a stark contrast to the otherwise light material finishes used.
Though simple, the landscape design is impossible to mistake for boring. Clean lines now pervade the space, and in monochromatic fashion, blacks and grays augment the Ambrosia home and the mountains as focal points. Steel and metal accents portray drama and strength while clean hedges arranged in linear patterns punctuate the space.
An entertaining pavilion, supported by steel columns, crowns the landscape as a host’s dream. The glossy pool is complete with a swing bed that promises to impress guests, and a spa adjacent to the floating fire pit is perfect for days-turned-nights outdoors with guests. Nearby, a casita patio awaits as well where a feature wall cascades trickling water to create a soothing lounge. A lap around the yard also reveals exclusive features including an herb garden, an outdoor shower and a tree planter.
The final landscaping is simple yet imposing, creating a luxurious addition to the home. “We have successfully created an award-winning landscape that proves that less is more,” boasts Ocampo-Palisoc, “and more so, that simplicity and luxury can go hand in hand, eventually creating a powerful visual and functional design.”
Photography by: PHOTO BY JOSHUA CALDWELL