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Water Management
2007 Xeriscape Contest Winners

Xeriscape Contest plant artwork


cactus artwork

The 2007 Xeriscape Contest Awards Ceremony was held on May 23, 2007 and promoted through a partnership between Tohono Chul Park and the Arizona Department of Water Resources. The objective of this contest is to recognize and promote the innovative or exemplary use of native and low-water-use plants, water harvesting, grey water and efficient irrigation systems.




Community Xeriscape Leader

The Community Xeriscape Leadership 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.

Jim Riley U of A2007 Community Xeriscape Leader, Jim Riley- University of Arizona         

For his outstanding leadership in advancing water conservation, water harvesting and water management through his classes and research efforts, Jim Riley is the recipient of the 2007 Community Xeriscape Leader Award.


His current research and teaching focuses on improving water management and conservation in arid lands, with special emphasis on rain water harvesting as an important water source.  His educational background includes: Ph.D., Hydrology, M.S. Meteorology and B.S., Mathematics-all from the University of Arizona.

As a professor in the Soil, Water and Environmental Science department, Jim Riley has created the first official course in Rainwater Harvesting at the University of Arizona.  Students learn to apply concepts at their own residences and participate in applying them on the UA campus.

In collaboration with staff and students, Jim was awarded a grant from the UA Water Resources Research Center to conduct a campus wide inventory of water-harvesting opportunities which will include the mapping of rooftop watersheds, locations of downspouts and ground-level locations where water can be harvested in microbasins for use in watering desert landscapes.  Jim was instrumental in establishing a volunteer consulting and advocacy organization, Consortium for Action Throughout the Community for Harvesting Water aka (CATCH Water)


Jim has clearly demonstrated a career-long commitment to improving water management.  This dedication, combined with his support and inspiration of generations of students, his ability to collaborate broadly within the University and Tucson communities, his support of grass-roots efforts, and the timely rain water harvesting research have shown true leadership and innovation.  Jim Riley is truly deserving of this award.

Homeowner Awards

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

First  Place & J.D. DiMeglio "Artistry in Landscaping" Award - Kelly Frink and Tag Merrick

front yard landscaping with nativesOur judges gave this landscape an A+ for its great integration of native vegetation designed around an exceptional variety of adapted plants.  The oasis areas are shaded by tree canopy rather than structures and the hardscapes are consistent with the desert ecology.  The result is an inviting, interesting and relaxing environment. 

Second  Place Homeowner “Water Harvesting and Hillside Erosion Control”- Wayne/Marken Residence

Judges admired this creative and pleasing design on a difficult site.  The landscape in the front is a great example of water harvesting through use of the natural slope and a water chain to irrigate trees and to shade the home.   In the back yard rock and masonry walls are used to control captured rainwater on a steep slope.  Native plants are used to take advantage of water harvesting throughout the site. 

rock work directs rainwater and creates catchment areas

Honorable Mention - Jim and Linda Weiss Residence

This yard shows an imaginative approach to a low maintenance landscape and displayed many great ideas.  Our judges enjoyed the wide variety of native and adapted plants used.  This is a very neat arid garden done with a great deal of energy, joy and obviously, lots of work. 


2007 Photo Gallery, Homeowner Category


Professional Residential Category

front gate and blooming yuccaFirst Place – Professional Residential, Joseph J. Prchal - Architectural Landscaping, Inc.

for the Phillips/Keiler Residence

The judges loved the plant selection of this design and felt the use of an existing mesquite tree added an established feel to this relatively new garden.  The designer did an excellent job of blending the natural vegetation and slope of the site into the design.  The multi-tiered water feature is a flow of waterfalls and pools surrounded by lush desert plants that create the soothing site and sound of a mini oasis.    


natives in backyard planting area

Second Place – Professional Residential, Elizabeth A. Przygoda - Boxhill Landscape, for the Lunt Residence

This landscape covered a very large area with an impressive plant palette. Our judges were impressed with the creative combination of plant collections and repeating color.  During the construction of this yard a small on-site nursery for native plants was used and those plants were returned to their original homes.  The designer also used a beautiful assortment of large pots to create container gardens all maintained on their own irrigation system.   


“Best Use of Sonoran and Chihuahuan Natives to Attract Wildlife”, Greg Corman and Debra Huffman, Gardening Insights, Inc./Debra Huffman Landscape Design for the Stach Residence

Our judges felt that this landscape fulfilled its goal to use native plants to create a sense of place and to invite birds and butterflies.  The designer used an abundance of butterfly larval and nectar plants. This garden is an excellent example of what can be done with local plants to create a functional and inviting yard and judges were delighted to see an uncommon sight of native ferns growing. 

backyard plantingHonorable Mention, Roberta Braegelmann, Sonoran Gardens, Inc. for the Kilgore Residence

Our judges liked the way this design created an inviting, tropical feel in the pool area while using a great selection of low water use plants.  A nice mixture of palms around the pool added a variety of shades of green.  An interesting mix of ground cover was combined with rock, gravel, and stepping stones all which complemented each other. 



2007 Photo Gallery, Professional Residential Category

Public Works Category

park entryJudges Award, Public Education, Archaeological  Preservation & Use of Native Plants City of Tucson Parks and Recreation for Vista Del Rio Park

As development pressures take hold within the City, neighborhoods and City officials are working together to preserve jewels of the desert.  This Park is a shining example of these efforts.  Our judges felt it was wonderful to have such a nice desert park in an urbanized area.  The park has wide meandering paths dotted with signage that tell the story of the Hohokam people that originally inhabited the area.


Prickly pear in bloom

Judges Award “Best Neighborhood Park” City of Tucson Parks and Recreation

for Keeling Park

Judges found it hard to believe that this colorful, imaginative park was once a mechanic shop.  They loved the creative way areas were used as gathering space for the neighborhood and for  children’s play.  The strolling area along a mini-wash is lined with shade and imaginative sculpture guaranteed to bring a smile to anyone.


2007 Photo Gallery, Public Works Category

Special Awards -Water Conservation and Irrigation Efficiency

First Place - Best use of Residential Water Harvesting, Greg Corman and Debra Huffman, Gardening Insights Inc./Debra Huffman Landscape Design for the Stach Residence

Our judges felt this landscape displayed an excellent use of passive water harvesting.  Designers created a system for capturing water from the street and driveway to irrigate the plantings and allow excess water to drain into the wash behind the home.   This design will gradually reduce the dependency on the drip irrigation system as the plants get more established. 

Sunset park after renovationFirst Place –Public Works Best use of Water Harvesting, City of Tucson Parks and Recreation Department for Sunset Park

This former parking lot at the entrance to City Hall has been transformed into a mini oasis of shady trees and lovely sculpture and tile work.  Our judges found this to be an excellent use of plants and textures in a high use area and were impressed with the creative ways the site harvests water. 



2007 Photo Gallery, Water Conservation

J.D. Di Meglio "Artistry In Landscaping" Award

This award is given by the judges when a landscape is an exemplary blend of artistry with plants and interesting details and can go to either a homeowner or professional design.  This award is given to celebrate the unique beauty of desert landscaping.  J.D. DiMeglio made a lasting contribution to the community by sharing his knowledge of plants, irrigation and design with a contagious smile and incredible enthusiasm. He inspired everyone he met to embrace the beauty of the Sonoran Desert, and to appreciate the natural artistry in the native landscape. He left Tucson with a living legacy through his many private gardens and public landscapes.

2007 “J.D. Di Meglio Artistry in Landscaping Award” homeowners Kelly Frink and Tag Merrick

“Marvelous design, great plant placement, an arboretum of imagination, the Best Native garden I have ever seen” were just a few of the comments from our judges after viewing this landscape. This garden is obviously a labor of love and the result is a magical landscape where visitors are prone to linger.  Meandering paths invite exploration to the secret pockets of this yard, to enjoy the whimsical artwork placed throughout or just to sit and contemplate the garden, the wildlife and the view of the Catalinas.  (see Homeowner Category above)




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