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Water Management
2004 Xeriscape Contest Winners


2004 Xeriscape Awards CeremonyTohono Chul Parkphoto and the Arizona Department of Water Resources recognized the winners of the 2004 Xeriscape Contest at a ceremony at Tohono Chul Park on May 13, 2004. Awards were given to recognize the work of professionals and property owners who have made innovative and appropriate use of native and low-water-use plants, water harvesting, gray water and efficient irrigation systems.

The primary reason for this contest is to increase awareness of exemplary landscapes that are water efficient and to encourage others to utilize these innovative practices to create beautiful landscapes and save water. The use of Xeriscaping and native plants is an important aspect of desert-appropriate landscaping and promoting water conservation in our community.

Community Xeriscape Leader

Community Xeriscape Leader Award, is designed to honor an individual or organization who is a driving force in the Tucson area in promoting Xeriscape principles and/or the use of native and arid-adapted plants.

Kimber DeLorenzo 2004 Community Leader 2004 Community Xeriscape Leader Award- Kimber DeLorenzo

For her outstanding leadership in advancing the principles of Xeriscape and water conservation. Kimber brings knowledge, dedication and tireless energy to promoting Xeriscape principles in local schools, her neighborhoods and throughout Pima County. She has worked for years to teach local school children about water conservation through Xeriscape gardening. Her work has included helping to build a hummingbird and butterfly garden on Harelson School campus, which won the National Gardening Association’s Youth Garden Award in 2000.

Homeowner Category

These entries must be substantially designed and installed by the homeowner’s themselves:

Saller Homeowner First Place front yardHomeowner First Place: Karola Saller
The judges found this yard to evoke a feeling of tranquility and peacefulness. The owners carefully selected native plants to re-vegetate construction damaged areas and have allowed natives to naturally re-emerge. They have enhanced their yard with lots of color and a variety of textures through the use of indigenous plants. The owners can enjoy spectacular views of the Tucson Mountains while strolling along a trail they built around the entire property. The use of Mesquite, Acacia, Cholla, Agave, Jojoba and Palo Verde also earned the Saller residence an award for the “Best Use of Sonoran and Chihauhuan Desert Natives.”

Bradley back patioBobcat on wallBest Design to Attract Wildlife, J. P. and Debra Bradley

These homeowners have created a wildlife habitat that includes a water hole, vegetative cover, and a native grassland area that has become a home to many birds, bobcats, Javelinas and coyotes. One judge notes that this wasn’t just a lot of work to create all the many wandering paths and habitat areas, but a true passion.

Kirsten Before Kirsten side yard planting Best Revegetation of a Disturbed Desert Area,

Miriam and Edward Kirsten
Starting with a barren mound of sand, this property was transformed into a jubilant array of cacti, succulents, trees, butterfly & hummingbird attractors. The homeowners obviously love plants and have applied many Xeriscape principles.

Professional Category

Professional Residential First Place: Joe Billings, "The Landscaping Artist" - Wlach ResidenceWlach front yard planting
This exemplary landscape channels water from every downspout into a “rainwater-harvesting boulder strewn streambed and natural landscape garden.” - even the water harvesting is scenic yet effective where every plant and rock was orchestrated into place. In a neighborhood with “postage stamp” yards, driving up the street the landscape stood out with a stunning native-plant pallet, and serves as a shining example for the neighbors and now for all of Tucson to admire and emulate.

Barrio shrine Amado residence Professional Residential Second Place: Dean Alexander, "Blue Agave Landscape" - Amado Residence
Located in the Historic Barrio in downtown Tucson, this design incorporates a collection of plants that would have been used historically, such as fig, pomegranate and palm, and added a water-harvesting cistern to reduce the need for irrigation. The designer used broken-up concrete as paving and step stones, added an adobe shrine and mesquite-limb ramada, drought-tolerant plants such as Mt. Lemmon marigold, penstemon, aloes and agaves, to complete this lush and inviting oasis. What started as a winter get away now convinces the homeowners to brave the summer heat and stay longer to relax in its ambiance.

Horton Residence designer Roberta Braegelmann Best Treatment of a Hillside, Roberta Braegelmann, "Sonoran Gardens" - Horton Residence
This spectacular landscape in which the attention to detail in the plant selection, the flagstone installation and the cascading patios was so beautiful and welcoming that we had a difficult time getting the judges to leave! In addition, the living space was beautifully extended. Plus the back area, full of color, was perfectly blended into the surrounding open space without walls.

Stout side yard pathStout residence gate

Best Entryway featuring Native Plants, Deb Hahn-Butterfield, "Horizons West Landscape" - Stout Residence
This home was positioned so all visitors would enjoy two magnificent 200-year-old saguaros, add a welcoming courtyard area complete with salvia, euphorbia, bird of paradise, mesquites, and hybrid “Desert Museum” Palo Verde.

  • 2004 Photo Gallery, Professional

Special Awards- Water Conservation and Irrigation Efficiency

To promote water conservation and irrigation efficiency the judges have selected three special water awards:

Water harvesting cistern Best Use of Water Harvesting, Dean Alexander, "Blue Agave Landscape" - Amado Residence
For the ingenious water harvesting techniques applied at which enabled the yard to combine the historic barrio plants yet remain a water conserving garden.


In the homeowner category the “Best Water Harvesting” award goes to a homeowner - Scott Calhoun who works in the nursery trade, but has conceived and installed a unique system including three culvert cisterns to collect water from his Civano rooftop.

CordiaMost Efficient Irrigation System, Horizons West Landscape - Stout Residence, Steve Malgren irrigation design and installation.  Steve has done an exemplary job at using separate valves to establish irrigation zones based on plant water-use requirements, allowing plants and trees to be watered efficiently. We are lucky to have irrigation-specialist judges who check the valve box at every location. Their input is very important to us (along with water-use reports submitted by applicants) for gauging the winners.

One of the ceremony's most prestigious awards, the Distinguished Xeriscape Award, was presented to Joe Billings,

The Landscaping Artist, for the spectacular work on the Wlach Residence. This award honors a landscape design that distinguishes itself from the rest yet follows our conservation and beautification goals. The judges were impressed with just driving by.

The J.D. DiMeglio “Artistry in Landscaping” Award

Calhoun front yard is another of our top awards, and honors a Tucson legend and innovator in the garden design world. The 2004 award went to Scott Calhoun who has written a book about his past 4 years of hard work on this landscape coming out this fall titled, Yard Full of Sun: The Story of a Gardener’s Obsession That Got a Little Out of Hand... (2005, Rio Nuevo Publishersoffsite icon) this is a homeowner entry which focused on three “big ideas:” 1) celebrating native plants, 2) saving water, and 3) living outside with style.


  • 2004 Photo Gallery, Judges' Awards

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