Ghost Wash by Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture
Ghost Wash is a private residence located on a two and half acre site at the top of the bajada / alluvial fan of Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley, Arizona.
About Ghost Wash
A Majestic Mountain Landmark: Connecting Cities and Embracing Nature
The majestic mountain serves as a striking landmark, connecting the Arizona cities of Phoenix, Paradise Valley, and Scottsdale. Located between two desert washes that carry storm water into the valley below, the site has a cross slope of 37 feet (11.3 meters) in the south-north direction. Thanks to a collaborative effort between the design team and the client, the property has been transformed into a legacy residence with a deep appreciation for desert plant life, desert conservation, and sustainability.
By removing a water-intensive 1970s plant palette, 6,000 square feet (557 square meters) of turf, and a 20-foot (6.1-meter) tall hedge of Oleander around the site’s perimeter, the design opened up views of the adjacent mountains and reconnected the site to its surroundings with native cacti, wildflowers, and grasses from Camelback Mountain.
Balancing Intervention and Restoration: A Celebration of Desert Life
The firm’s experiential approach to design, procurement, and placement culminated in a careful balance of intervention and restoration. The project reshaped space and redirected views, creating a dynamic interplay between flora, light, and shadow. As a result, the site transformed into a spectacular celebration of awe-inspiring desert plant life.
Each garden gallery exudes a distinct landscape essence, with every window presenting a new focal point. Individually, the diverse gardens showcase a rich interplay of similar or complementary plant species from arid regions around the world. Collectively, they provide a year-round display of marvel cascading through the landscape.
Capturing Rainwater: A Sustainable Desert Oasis
In the desert, capturing rainwater is essential for providing supplemental irrigation for turf areas and surrounding native landscapes. Flanked by the residential wings, the site’s center core, known as the ‘Ghost Wash’, serves as the third wash running through the site and functions as a stormwater collection infrastructure amenity.
Photography courtesy of Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture
Visit Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture- by Matt Watts