Desert Gardens of Steve Martino
"Bring some natural beauty to your coffee table with the new book Desert Gardens of Steve Martino, which displays the work of the local landscape designer and Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner."
—Phoenix Home & Garden
"Landscape architect Steve Martino was born, raised and lives in Phoenix, so desert air is in his lungs. He is the ideal expert to show us gardens—even gardens growing on rooftops—in that sandy climate.... Author Caren Yglesias, who teaches landscape architecture and environmental planning at the University of California, Berkeley, weaves together Martino's words and wisdom with photographer Steve Gunther's striking photos—transporting us to this arid expanse. There's nothing barren here with Martino as our guide. He juxtaposes strong manmade elements—stucco walls, arbors, outdoor showers and benches—with nature, honoring the ecology of the landscape."
—Aspire Design and Home
For more than thirty years, Steve Martino has been committed to the development and advancement of landscape architecture in the Southwest. His pioneering work with native plant material and the development of a desert-derived design aesthetic is widely recognized. A recurring theme of his work is the dramatic juxtaposition of man-made elements with ecological processes of the region. His love for the desert--the interplay of light and shadow, the colors, plants, and wildlife--inspires his work.
As Martino explains, "Gardens consist of two worlds, the man-made and the natural one. I've described my design style as 'Weeds and Walls'--nature and man. I use native plants to make the transition from a building to the adjacent natural desert."
Though Martino's work is deeply connected to the natural world, he also has a flair for the dramatic, which is apparent from his lively color selections, sculptural use of plants, and keen attention to lighting, shadows, and reflections. Boldly colored stucco walls frame compelling views of the desert and sky, expanding the outdoor living area while solving common site problems such as lack of privacy or shade. Interspersed are custom structures molded in translucent fiberglass in vivid hues--colorful arbors, outdoor showers, and internally lit benches.