Tranquil Garden in the Heart of Busy Downtown

The entrance to the garden next to the Arizona Center in Downtown Phoenix. (Photo by Scotty Bara)

Arizona features a lot of beautiful landscapes throughout the state. From cactus to pine tree, Arizona is one of the few states that has almost every climate. Here in the valley, residents showcase beautiful desert botanical landscapes on their properties. They decorate their front yards with cactus and dirt instead of grass and trees. I was walking around downtown Phoenix when I saw a landscape that stood out to me: a large garden behind the Arizona Center Shopping mall in downtown Phoenix. I had not known this in all my years being a student in downtown Phoenix.

Gravel paths in the shade of the garden. (Photo by Scotty Bara)

The garden is sunken below the rest of the mall and features a pathway of crushed gravel with manicured short cut grass covered with beautiful pink and purple flowers. Yucca plants are sprouted along the pathway to the water. There is a grotto with running water that is surround by palm trees.

The grotto surrounded by palm trees. (Photo by Scotty Bara)

This is a place where I could escape the Arizona sun beating down on me and relax for a second. The garden is located behind the Arizona Center between Van Buren Street and Third Street. It is a nice getaway uniquely located next to a busy shopping mall and the tall buildings of downtown Phoenix. Contractors hired SWA Group and landscape artist William Callaway to design the three acres of sunken garden. From an aerial angle, the garden looks like a conch shell. The geometric pattern of the shell is lined with over 800 palm trees. The SWA Group won the Merit Award in Design from the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1999. This award-winning landscape was created in 1994 and provides a great place to take a walk on any given day. I know I will be visiting the garden at the Arizona Center a lot more often before I graduate to clear my mind. I had no idea that there is a garden behind a shopping center in downtown Phoenix. It makes me want to discover more of Phoenix and pay attention to detail within landscapes. I love Arizona’s natural beauty and am interested in seeing how landscape artist create rock and dirt into something aesthetically pleasing.