Getting the Process Started
Each parcel in Desert Mountain is unique in terms of its natural opportunities and constraints. In order to take full advantage of those attributes, each parcel requires different approaches in design and construction. That said, the intent of the community's development philosophy, the Master Design Guidelines and the unique guidelines for individual Parcels and Villages are such that the unifying goal is the same: to preserve, protect and enhance the special environment of Desert Mountain. Please visit the Resource Center to review the forms you will need when designing your Desert Mountain home.
Preservation of the Natural Desert
In contrast with the typical methods of development, in which concern for the natural environment is secondary to the desire to develop as efficiently and economically as possible, the Developer of Desert Mountain has chosen to approach its planning from the opposite viewpoint: at Desert Mountain, emphasis will be given to development that is planned to harmonize and blend with, rather than to dominate, the natural environment.
You'll notice when driving through Desert Mountain that roads are winding and follow the natural terrain. Washes and drainage ways, when practical, are left free, unimpeded and in their natural state. Natural terrain features such as slopes, ridges, knolls and rock formations are carefully considered and, if possible, integrated into the form of development at Desert Mountain.
At Desert Mountain, landscaping is carefully controlled to integrate well with the natural area, utilizing a combination of indigenous and carefully selected non-indigenous plants. As such, landscaping should be considered an integral part of the architecture and should be a factor in the initial site planning process. The goal of landscaping in Desert Mountain is to ensure that developed areas harmonize and blend with, rather than dominate, the natural environment. This sensitive approach to landscaping will help protect and preserve the wildlife and flora that contribute to the unique experience of living within a desert environment.
Native trees provide shade and appropriate scale to the built environment. Native cacti, yucca and agave provide sculptural elements and interesting texture to a landscape. Native shrubs not only provide screening and stabilization of the desert floor, but provide cover for birds and other wildlife. An added benefit is lower maintenance, as these plant materials are already adapted to the dry desert climate. Plants provide another dimension to the architecture and are useful for augmenting and/or solving architectural or harsh environmental conditions. Trees can enhance a view by creating a soft framework for viewing. Trees and plants can mitigate extreme climatic conditions. Deciduous trees placed beyond a south- or west-facing wall will provide shade and natural cooling in the summer and will allow the sun to penetrate in the winter.
The Saguaro is only native to the Sonoran Desert and it grows very slowly, often taking 75 to 100 years before it grows a single arm. Therefore, preservation of the existing Saguaro Cacti is paramount to the landscape requirements. Although Saguaros can be transplanted, their survival rate is low and moving Saguaros with multiple arms is both risky and costly. In addition, Saguaros that are relocated must be carefully transplanted in the same solar orientation or they run the risk of being sunburned, which may lead to disease or death. A qualified and experienced saguaro de-vegetation contractor should be retained to move any saguaros that require transplanting.
Home Heights and Colors
In order to enhance the concept of letting the natural desert take precedence over development, homes in Desert Mountain should be predominantly horizontal, rather than vertical (buildings of more than one story will be permitted subject to restrictions contained in the design guidelines for the various parcels and Villages).
Colors must be muted tones that blend with the natural colors of the vegetation and mountain as seen from a distance. Since residences at Desert Mountain can be seen from above and from great distances, colors should be chosen to blend with rather than to contrast with the residence's surroundings. Darker, rather than lighter, colors are preferred and may be required. Subdued accent colors may be used and are subject to approval on a case-by-case basis.
For more information on home construction in Desert Mountain, please contact the Design Review Department at 480-635-5600.