The Desert Terrace Garden and Jan and Tom Lewis Desert Portal are the first projects that developed from a master planning process. As visitors walk amid the terrace walls, they encounter a variety of unique plant forms, textures and colors – all of which celebrate the subtleties of the desert environment. The integrated design of the terrace walls directs guests’ views to two large buttes in the distance and allows a depth of experience ranging from these far-off landforms to the intimate foreground plantings. Layered and curving walls artfully blend stone and mosaic tile, conveying a sense of directional movement toward the Portal itself.
The Desert Portal is a circular orientation plaza where visitors embark to explore the rest of the garden. A dramatic trellis anchors this plaza, which doubles as a flexible event space, complete with seating and support infrastructure. The trellis reflects inspiration from organic forms and appears to change colors throughout the day as light and shadows move across the plaza.