This client had a pretty good idea of what he wanted, but it wasn’t anything you’d expect from the Scottsdale environs.

“The client traveled extensively and was in Thailand and saw this unbelievable pool that looked like a quarry,” Deborah Malone says. He wanted a tropical quarry environment, complete with a pool that looked as if it had been chiseled out of the earth — and a generous use of palms.

Navaho flagstone shipped from Flagstaff, Ariz., provides a flat, yet jagged, look. Plus, the native material ties the backyard in seamlessly with the updated Santa Fe-style house, whose interior also was generously surfaced in the flagstone. A black pebble interior makes the pool seem endlessly deep, while a granite tile line ties the whole thing together.

However, creating a tropical look posed a bit of a challenge. “Palm trees are banned in that particular subdivision because they get too big over time,” Deborah says.

Enter Donna Winters of Enchanted Gardens in Scottsdale. The landscape designer found a way to work around the problem. She introduced 40- to 50-year-old pygmy palms into the backyard. “That’s as big as they’re ever going to get,” Deborah says.

The site didn’t come with any plant life of its own. To give it a local look, Winters put in some native specimens, including mesquite and palo verde trees. A misting system makes the area usable during the hottest times of the year.