Downtown Phoenix is full of artistic, vintage, and historic flair that you can’t find anywhere else in the valley.  This is especially true of the historic districts where you see creativity at its finest in elaborate yards and lush gardens that match the diverse, unique houses themselves.

Some people add their own artwork to the face of their yards and alter features to create more personalized spaces that reflect their personalities.  Others prefer functionality over design and take a more edible approach. How can it get any more organic than food straight from the earth to the kitchen table? Both approaches contribute to the downtown way of life and to a certain diverse flair that draws many to the area.

Downtown resident and professional artist Pete Deise wants his front and back yards to seek and bring about “togetherness.”

The front yard at artist Pete Deise's house

The front yard at artist Pete Deise’s house

“We live in the front yard,” states Deise.  “It faces west and chases the setting sun.”

There are many antique seating areas and anyone is welcome to come into the yard for a chat. Even Pete’s watering process is meant to be therapeutic. He elaborates, “There are no drip lines in sight.  There’s only the hose in my hand and the time to contemplate the day’s adventures.”

One of Deise's sculpures

One of Deise’s sculptures

Pete’s own elaborate rust steel sculptures also inhabit the yard, adding a deeply personal touch. They remain the focal points to the yard and always provide beauty even when the winter season settles in and all the greenery is gone.

“Art is an affliction,” continues Pete. “What else can I say? Some people watch TV; I watch the light and shadows cast up the steel.”  A lot of Pete’s sculptures actually mimic nature and one in particular is that of branch limbs, tangled and spindled.

Although the yard remains a bit bare during the colder temperatures of what is considered “winter” for Phoenix, there is always life at the Deise residence and there are many plans for the spring.

Pete explains, “This year there is a raised bed outside the west office window and is set to bloom in sight of the kitchen. This will be a pasta garden. That is, everything you would use in a pasta dish. We are planning also for 42 garlic cloves, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, and mustard seed. Everything is full circle. Plant the seeds to see the shoots, nurture the growth, learn and sculpt from observation, then eat.”

The raised garden bed

The raised garden bed

The bed is made of old wood and raised off the ground.  Pete has added some aesthetically pleasing stones that rest on the wood that also serve a purpose if the need arises to cover the garden.

A chicken coop sits on the side of the house, strategically located by the back door to the kitchen.  This serves as easy access for feeding and for grabbing eggs when they are ready.

Last but not least, the pride and joy of the whole yard are the sunflowers planted every February along the perimeter of the property. “This year we will also have corn,” states Deise.  “Planting now will provide a colorful future to be enjoyed in late spring and summer.”

The sunflowers are such a beautiful, powerful component and they really draw you into the property.  Needless to say, they are the first element you see and the last thing you contemplate when walking away!