Puryear Residence – President’s Award 2004 – Best Entry – (All Residential)
California Landscape Contractors Association
The owners of this one-acre property with a 12,000 square foot home asked owner, Steve Cox, to make their landscape look like the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. When Cox said he had never been there, they flew him out and arranged for a private tour with the head of the grounds department. Cox came away pumped with ideas and enthusiasm. At the time, this property did not have one palm on it. Today it boasts one of the largest collections of palms and cycads in the Central Valley. Cox says, “What was really great about this job is that the owners were willing to take risks in using a lot of varieties that people said you couldn’t plant here.” Although we got most of our trees from our fantastic suppliers, we also used unorthodox methods. For example, we traveling on the road we kept our eyes open for a great tree that looked neglected or abandoned. Then we approached the owner and made a deal to purchase it. The most impressive find is a five-trunk Phoenix dactylifera spotted in a field next to Highway 99. “It had never been pruned,” Cox says. “It was probably the heaviest one we dug. It weighted close to 48,000 pounds, and the root ball was 13 by 12 by 6-1/2 feet!” Besides palms, the property features 500 tons of hand-selected boulders, hundreds of feet of meticulously crafted rock walls, and a special drainage system to help keep trees healthy in the harsh weather.