Homes in New Mexico have Canales instead of downspout gutters. These are basically just holes with a metal u-shaped lip where the water pours off the house in a torrent on the few days a year when we get rain – usually in the form of flash flooding. This all began in trying to address the fact that water pours off the roof right next to my studio door and quickly builds to a puddle, sometimes seeping in. It quickly escalated into a desire to beautify the space since I always found it depressing to look out the studio door onto gravel and rock.
Why an area that is subject to flooding would be without drainage and water collection is beyond me, but Las Cruces has no storm drain system or rain water cisterns.
Since we get flash flooding, I was going to dig a drainage pond (really just a big ditch filled with large smooth river rocks) to wick the water away from the studio door.
Then the idea escalated.
The more I thought about it the more I decided my real goal was to look out onto beauty instead of just gravel.
I spent about three weeks working on this project. I brought rocks back from the arrollo on my daily walks with the dogs until I had enough to make a flower bed to break the straight line of the one we had.
I got a new crepe myrtle for the corner. Lilac colored flowers. Well, once it bloomed I discovered that the flowers were more pink than lilac. In fact they were the very same color as our ‘volunteer’ Desert willow that came up last year near where we planted the new tree.
Of course before I could proceed our dog, Simon, and the turtles (we have almost 20 now) had to pass inspection. They’re always curious, especially the turtles, who came out daily to see what the changes were.
I cleared the gravel and prepared the space for the contractor to lay the flagstone which looked great. I planned it to be a surprise for Dean who was away at the time taking photos at the International Baha’i convention in Haifa, Israel. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite finished before he got home.
Here’s how it looked when it was first done
And now I have a great view from the studio window for which I’m very thankful. Dean liked it so much that he decided to extend our back porch in flagstone as well.