The many styles of garden and landscape design.


Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the 39th annual Albuquerque Garden Center Garden Tour here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This year was extra special for me because it was in my neighborhood and I finally got to see the backyards of those homes I pass every day.

But the single best thing about garden tours is getting inspiration for your own yard.

And this garden tour did not disappoint. It covered a wide variety of styles from modern outdoor living spaces to native water harvesting spaces. Here are a few of the highlights.

A relaxing outdoor living space in a modern Albuquerque home.

1. Modern outdoor living yard.

Using native New Mexico plant materials in a formal manner. I love seeing native plants like agave and yuccas used in a modern setting. These sculptural plants really are perfect when used against a colorful backdrop. This yard is big on outdoor living with seating areas under a fabric shade structure set around a gas fire pit. The built in outdoor kitchen is simple yet just what you’d need to grill up a few steaks. The large building houses an indoor pool for year round fun.


A simple outdoor kitchen with a grill and outdoor wine storage in a modern backyard in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A clever modern way to store firewood outdoors.
A modern water feature for the southwest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This water feature welcomes you into the home.
Native landscape planting among a formal modern setting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A large stucco outdoor gas fire pit set next to the beautiful modern poolhouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico.











2. Informal native landscape.

This yard mimics the idyllic New Mexico High Desert landscape. The yard is designed to capture water from the roof into a dry cobble streambed. Throughout the yard you’ll find pockets of colorful wildflowers strategically placed for interest. Crusher fines surround the plants just like you’d find the decomposed granite up in the foothills. Most plants are irrigated but have been watered deeply to promote deep rooting so the plants can be more resilient to our extreme temperatures. Water harvesting takes on many forms including rain barrels, and dry streambeds.

Front yard of a native new mexico landscape that uses water harvesting techniques from roof runoff.
Outdoor living space in a native New Mexico landscape with a shade structure and a stack able water harvesting barrel.
Crusher fines walkway winding through a narrow backyard planting of native New Mexico shrubs and wildflowers. Cobble is used to create a dry river stream bed that directs water from the roof into the garden after rainstorms.




3. A place for play.

This yard captures all the elements of play including conventional play equipment, discovery play and imaginative play. And it’s all done in a lovely naturalistic way. An old log was hollowed out and used as the central feature of the play equipment. Dinosaurs and other fun creatures hide throughout the yard waiting to be discovered. Dead trees were left in place and uniquely carved inviting imaginative play. All of these spaces both designed and naturalistic allow for a variety of play. I even found a secret fairy garden as I walked around the space.


This peacock sculpture adds whimsy in this New Mexico yard that celebrates the world of play. A play structure built from a fallen log can be seen through the branches.
Decorative carvings in this tree suggest there are fairies that live withing the trunks. This is a great way to evoke kids imaginations for outdoor play.




This could be a playground or a treehouse but no matter what you call it, it’s bound to provide hours of fun for kids of all ages. It’s a creative way to use an old log found in New Mexico.



4. Mediterranean garden.

This was a treat to see a Mediterranean style garden on the tour. It’s a mix of both formal, Santa Barbara, and old world all wrapped into one. I love how they styled the driveway to make it feel less of a concrete heat mass and more of a welcoming space that included a refreshing fountain and a vine to soften the garden wall. In the backyard area a colorful tile fountain is beautifully showcased against the very formal green plantings. The white outdoor furniture continues the theme with ornate metal chairs and crisp mango colored cushions. I love the whimsy of the white duck in the pool.

A fun swan float welcomes you to this backyard pool area along with a round outdoor wicker sofa . It’s the perfect pool paradise found in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The white wrought iron outdoor table contrasts nicely against the dark green of the English ivy and Virginia creeper. It reminds me a lot of Santa Barbara but you will find this in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Lion fountain flanked with colorful vines and ornate iron work. I love how they styled the driveway to make it feel less of a concrete heat mass and more of a welcoming space that included a refreshing fountain and a vine to soften the garden wall.
A colorful tile fountain is beautifully showcased against the very formal green plantings in this Mediterranean style backyard found in Albuquerque, New Mexico.



5. Traditional design.

A few of the yards were very traditional for lack of a better word. They most likely originally consisted of a grass lawn and shade trees. They have evolved over the years. Many of them had removed the original grass lawns in the front yard and kept a small lawn in the backyard. Some even went to a native grass or converted to ornamental grass and native shrubs. The one thing that is consistent is that these yards have changed slowly one project at a time over the years. These yards seem very familiar almost like the everyday yard. Sometimes projects will happen over time due to budget and the ebbs and flows of daily life.

This traditional landscape includes a long covered patio area made of two colors of brick, re-purposed ironwork original to the home and an outer walkway for walking around the lawn and garden spaces. The long patio includes two sitting areas, one eating area and a place to grill. Container plantings brighten up the space throughout this garden in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A fun glass bottle tree adds a lot of color and whimsy to this traditional landscape in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Located right of the patio area this sculpture gets a lot of viewing. Virginia creeper is the vine growing below with a grass lawn with large shade trees throughout.
This traditional landscape re-purposed original ironwork gates and posts found around the property when they redid their landscape. These pieces can now be enjoyed as little bits of sculpture and interest throughout the garden in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This traditional family backyard has all the elements of a great outdoor living space. Outdoor covered patio with dining table, open grass lawn space to expand the party as needed and cute garden areas surrounding the patio with unique art elements. Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.



What I learned from this garden tour is that the yard is truly an extension of the home and these gardens celebrate all the variety of styles that can take.

So what garden style are you? Get your tips below.

I’m sharing 5 design tips from this garden tour for you to use in your own yard in my FREE downloadable. Sign up below to get the worksheet and let’s inspire you on your landscape journey.

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