A Revamped Landscape Becomes an Inviting Getaway for a Busy Couple from the Pacific Northwest: When Seattle trial lawyers Lita and Paul Luvera need a timeout, they hop on a plane and head south. For the past 14 years, the pair has made Arizona their part-time home. In complete contrast to the chillier, cloudier, wetter environment they are used to, the Sonoran Desert’s dry, sunny climate helps them slow down and enjoy another side of life.
“We have birds in abundance, including hummingbirds, finches, quail and two glorious red cardinals that we named, as they have returned year after year,” says Lita Luvera, referring to the couple’s Scottsdale home. “And at Thanksgiving, we have our entire family with us to celebrate. They come from as far away as Montreal.”
About four years ago, the Luveras purchased another residence in the same Scottsdale community that they were living in at the time. Before putting their house on the market, they picked their favorite plants on the lot and moved them to their new place. “We had Trademark Landscape transplant many of the large specimens, including organ pipe cactus, Yucca rostrada, golden barrel and citrus that we thought would enhance the landscape of our new property,” Luvera explains.
Having worked with Trademark co-owner Peggy De La Garza on their previous residence, the homeowners were drawn to her artistic nature and wanted her to update the new property. While the hardscape was already in place, including the pool, paving and backyard ramada, De La Garza says she completed a total enhancement of the grounds. “Lita wanted the landscape to pop. She wanted color, elevation and lots of specimen plants,” the designer recalls.
The front yard is now a tapestry of form, color and shape. Tucked between treelike yuccas, enormous agaves and large golden barrels are red emu bushes, purple lantana and chartreuse gopher plants—all of which create a lush desert setting.
In the backyard, De La Garza chose a subtropical palette, where color comes from vivid combinations that include winter-blooming kalanchoes and red geraniums. What makes the scene especially compelling is the iconic Pinnacle Peak rock formation in the background. “Its stark, rugged beauty enhances the vibrant colors of the yard,” Luvera points out.
Another element important to the homeowners was the outdoor furnishings. “The Luveras like to spend as much time as possible outdoors,” says interior designer Teresa DeLellis, who worked closely with the couple on the patio design. “The idea was to create an exterior environment that complemented the interiors, and at the same time is very comfortable and rich in color and texture. The landscaping was integral since the homeowners are lovers of gorgeous flowers and interesting plant selections.”
With 17 grandchildren and two dogs, the couple finds the yard ideal for entertaining. “There is complete privacy when you are in this space, despite the fact that we are located just off the 17th hole of a golf course,” says Luvera. “And the holidays always remind us that we have much to be thankful for living in the Sonoran Desert.”