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Mojave Rock Ranch Media Reviews


Article in DESERT MAGAZINE, May 2017

Out of Africa

In Joshua Tree, Mojave Rock Ranch reflects its creators global travels to Kenya, India and beyond.

by Kirsten Sharkey
photos by Lance Gerber

A few years back, Gino Dreese and Troy Williams took a hot air balloon ride over Maasai Mara in southwestern Kenya. Up in the air, their guide cut the gas. A deafening stillness followed, as they looked out over water holes filled with hippos and the Mara River infamous for its wildebeest migration. “God that was the coolest  thing,” Williams recalls, “It was so quiet.”

That’s pretty much what it feels like to stand on the patio at their Joshua Tree residence, Mojave Rock Ranch…

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Locale Magazine #62 – April 2017

The Magic Behind the Science

Michael Costello unravels his love of aesthetics and what it’s like to live a life of fashion.

Photoshoot Location: Mojave Rock Ranch, Joshua Tree, CA

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Featured in SUCCULENTS BOOK – published 2017

High Desert Ranch

by Robin Stockwell

Troy Williams and Gino Dreese who are both landscape professionals in the Palm Springs, California area, love rocks and cactus, which are plentiful in the high desert. They make good use of these elements in their gateway home in the Mojave desert. Gardening conditions can be brutal here – “exposed” as Williams calls them: hot in the summer, cold in the winter, with fierce afternoon winds March through May.

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Article in Mojave Desert Trip – February 20, 1017

Home Tour 2017 – Mojave Rock Ranch

Originally a small homestead cabin built by Lena and Fred Baldwin sits on 225 pristine acres of the Mojave Desert. It’s a private, protected wildlife preserve, home to many species of mammals, birds and reptiles, including the endangered desert tortoise.


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Article in Sunset Magazine, December 2016

Garden We Love

by Johanna Silver, Garden Editor

When it comes to designing a garden, nature can often be the best instructor. In Joshua Tree, California, Gino Dreese and Troy Williams knew the only way to give their yard a fighting chance was to mimic the desert around them….

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Article in Tribune News Service – March 30 2016

Yardsmart: Bottle walls, then and now

by Maureen Gilmer

56fee86a96fc2.image56fee86a26b7f.imageWherever men mined in the desert, necessity became the mother of a curious recycling project. In this arid western land of few trees, everything was hauled in by mule trains, including milled lumber. Building anything was exorbitantly expensive, yet prospective miners needed a home. Among the most common castoffs were empty saloon bottles that masons stacked with plaster into walls that allowed natural lighting within these dark rooms. To this day these curious homes still stand in ghost towns to inspire a whole new century of creative masons who are also keen on recycling.

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Article in DESERT MAGAZINE – The Desert Sun – September 2015

Green Gardens


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Local horticulturists and landscape designers create verdant yards with less water.

Words by Ashley Breeding | Photographs by Lance Gerber

The term “desertscaping” often conjures images of a barren aesthetic — a bed of decomposed granite sparsely dotted with cactus — that mimics the most arid wild desert landscape. And while a return to native planting is imperative amid California’s historic drought (some 41 percent of the state currently faces what is called exceptional drought, the worst in a five-scale rating), local horticulturists and landscape designers agree that you can still achieve “lush” with less water. “People have a mistaken idea that eco-friendly landscaping has to mean a barrel of cactus, a lantana and a boulder,” says designer Dann Foley. “But we can layer various species of desert plants in such a way that they create a lot of texture and color.” Foley, along with fellow landscape designers Gino Dreese and Troy Williams, and horticulturist Maureen Gilmer, tells us how to design our ideal desert garden — from simple and sparse to dense and vibrant.

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Twenty years in the making, built entirely by hand, a former homestead shack has been transformed by Gino Dreese and Troy Williams into the Mojave Rock Ranch.

Twenty years in the making, built entirely by hand, a former homestead shack has been transformed by Gino Dreese and Troy Williams into the Mojave Rock Ranch.

Article in Palm Springs Life – May 2015


Mojave Rock Ranch Plays Host to Natural Cactus Garden Setting

Duo spend 20 years transforming Depression era homestead shack

By Maria Zang

In the California high desert north of Palm Springs, there is a rebirth, a reinvention of old to new that’s taking place.
The homestead shacks from the early 1930s that once dotted the desert landscape are having their second coming, but in a whole new light.
High above a hill, not far from Joshua Tree National Park, approximately 42 miles north of Palm Springs, lies a former homestead shack that’s allowed for the manifestation of organic architecture to bloom and prosper in its place. Christened by it’s creators, Gino Dreese and Troy Williams, as the Mojave Rock Ranch, the place looks as though it naturally sprouted up from the ground.

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Maria Zang Video – published Dec 9, 2015

Homestead Reinvented Mojave Rock Ranch

Maria Zang

Published on Dec 9, 2015

A High Desert Wonder, An Old Homestead Shack Reinvented into an Amazing Art and Garden Wonder.


Article in The Press Enterprise – March 2015

Upscale Rustic

Travel treasures and recycled discards combine to create a chic desert retreat

By Stephanie Schulte

It takes a special eye and talent to take rusty, dusty items most homeowners would throw away and create a chic look in a home or garden that doesn’t end up resembling a junkyard.

Two landscape design consultants, Troy Williams and Gino Dreese, have perfected the art of thew upscale rustic style, creating an eclectic paradise on their property in Joshua Tree.

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Featured in UNDER THE SPELL OF SUCCULENTS BOOK – published 2014

Under the Spell of Succulents

Desert Gardens

by Jeff Moore

Desert Gardens can have the look of a true natural habitat, albeit one that is spartan and dry. The aesthetic may appeal more to an amateur naturalist or desert traveler that a homeowner looking for a colorful and softer yard.

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Article in Wollans, Geman Cactus Magazine – March 2014


Fränkische Kakteenfreunde Nürnberg

by Werner Gietl

Maureen Gilmer stellt auf 5 Seiten mit 8 Fotos die Mojave Rock Ranch vor, die sich selbst als ‘photo, film and event location’ versteht. Wer sich selbst ein Bild davon machen will (bevor er hinfäht) kann dies im Internet unter www.mojaverockranch.net tun.

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Article in Cactus and Succulent Journal, July-August 2013

Reinventing the Cactus Garden – An incredible hermitage near Joshua Tree National Park

Maureen Gilmer

A hundred years ago, those searching the Southwest for turquoise and gold were the early discoverers of curious cactus and desert plants. These living things were gathered, with minerals and pioneer relics, at Route 66 tourist traps where a rather odd aesthetic emerged. Sadly it faded away with the vanishing rock shops and overnight stops, but in California’s high desert north of Palm Springs, it is rising again in a whole new light.

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Říjen, 3rd 2013

untitled52-798x350Mojave Rock Ranch obnovila pouštní zahradu

Udělejte si vizuální procházku v tomto neobvyklém prostředí abyste viděli, co inovativní zahradní návrháři dosáhli v obrovském vyprahlém místě obklopeném ze tří stran strmými útesy. Ve velmi neúrodné pouštní krajině Mojave Desert se nachází zahrada kolem podivného domu vytvořena týmem zahradních architektů, Gino Drees a Troy Williams.sides by steep cliffs.

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Article in Garden Design, July 2013

Mojave Rock Ranch Reinvents the Desert Garden

Maureen Gilmer

Take a visual stroll through this unusual landscape to see what innovative designers achieve when faced with a huge arid site surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs.

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Article in The Desert Sun, November 24, 2012

This is Mojave Rock Ranch – Lush landscape at high-desert retreat defies reason

Maureen Gilmer

Atop a windswept rocky ridge on the north end of Joshua Tree grows a most enchanted cactus garden that may be one of the most magnificent of all desert landscapes.

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Article in specs+spaces 05/04/12

DSC_0199-300x190Mojave Rock Ranch: Frontier Luxury

Sara McLean

On a recent self-driven architectural tour of Palm Springs during Desert Spanish Weekend, I kept running into this other family throughout the day. Towards the end of the tour we introduced ourselves and this is how my friendship with Troy Williams and Gino Dreese began. Showing me a postcard of their property in Joshua Tree called Mojave Rock Ranch, I was instantly intrigued. Further research led me to a tour of the property and a day spent with two creative geniuses. Enjoy the tour!

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Article in The LA Times, October 08, 2000

Lying Low In The Desert

Private and often artful, a new crop of unusual lodgings has cropped up around Joshua Tree
Christopher Reynolds

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. — You never know what’s going to turn up in the desert.

I’m not just talking about the cactuses and jumbled boulders of Joshua Tree National Park, though they seduce rock climbers by the thousands and were part of what motivated me to make the 150-mile drive here from L.A. The weirdness of the desert was an attraction too, from the local radio ads for a mail-order “herbal breast enhancement” formula to the horse hitched to a post at the Joshua Tree gas station.

But this trip was driven mostly by curiosity about another novelty: the growing crop of offbeat lodgings in the park-adjacent communities of Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. This group includes the Mojave Rock Ranch Cabins, a series of four kitschy, two-bedroom ranchito homes on an isolated mesa; the Villa dei Fiori, a flower-festooned and fastidiously kept house with its own adjacent cave; and Rosebud Ruby Star, an artsy B&B with two rooms, a separate bungalow and resident horse and mule.

The Mojave Rock cabins, which lie about eight miles from the park’s west entrance across a dry lake bed, are the most striking of the bunch. The owners, landscape designers Troy Williams and Gino Dreese, decamped from Los Angeles in 1996 and began with a single rental house, known as the Ranch. Since then they have begun buying, overhauling and renting out neighboring residences in their quiet corner of the desert.

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