Author: Curtis Riggs | Sonoran News | October 1, 2008

The beauty of the Carefree Fire Station was greatly enhanced recently thanks to a $75,000 landscaping donation from the folks at Desert Foothills Landscape.

Mark and Juanita Wdowiak landscaped the outside of the $2.5 million firehouse with large armed saguaros, a Giant Cereus Monstrosus, golden barrel cactus, a Grande Ocotillo and variety of yucca and agave plants.

The landscape designers also put in rock arroyos, which will drain rainwater away from the building and take it out into the street.

"We brought the large stuff in for an immediate impact because the building is so big," said Wdowiak. Desert Foothills Landscape also donated landscape design efforts to beautify the exterior of the Desert Foothills Library and created an outdoor cactus garden at the Heard Museum – North.

Wdowiak contributed the $75,000 worth of cactus, plants and design experience to the firehouse after talking to top Carefree officials and finding out they had no money left to landscape the facility after paying to build it last year.

"The building was built in the old Carefree way and I wanted something to complement that," he said about the landscaping and low-level lighting he installed to beautify the outside of the building at night.

His appreciation for the Carefree and Cave Creek communities and his respect for firefighters dovetails with his philosophy about giving back to the community.

Carefree Mayor Wayne Fulcher said he is "excited" about the new landscaping because "the firehouse means so much to the community."

Rural/Metro District Chief John Kraetz appreciates the new plants because they complement an already beautiful building. He also likes the fact the new landscaping is low-water use xeriscape, which requires little water for irrigation and virtually no maintenance.