Our Team

From ownership and installation to our custom designers and contractors, Sonoran Gardens Landscape, Design & Construction in Tucson, Arizona, has an unmatched team of Southern Arizona outdoor living space experts that will bring you an outdoor paradise beyond what you ever dreamed possible!

Management Team

Chris Niccum, President / Owner of Sonoran Gardens of Tucson, Arizona
Chris Niccum


Chris has over 40 years experience in the landscape industry.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Purdue University and has been employed as a Foreman for landscape firms, Grounds Manager for colleges, Horticulturalist for resort hotels in the Virgin Islands and Director of Grounds for the La Paloma Resort in Tucson.  He is also active in the construction industry and has been President and Board Member of both the Alliance of Construction Trades and the National Subcontractors Alliance.

In 1996 he founded Sonoran Gardens, a landscape design and construction firm that specializes in the creation of attractive and functional residential landscapes.  From the beginning he has operated the company with the simple philosophy that every project is an opportunity to meet a clients needs and exceed their expectations.  As the company has grown he has stayed actively involved with the day to day operations and takes a personal interest in ensuring that every project is completed to the highest standards.

Read about Chris Niccum's Lifetime Achievement Award & bio from ALCA on page 16 of The ACLA Influence magazine!
On November 17, 2012, Chris Niccum was awarded the Arizona Landscape Contractor's Association Lifetime Achievement Award... read press release

Kira Niccum-Pritzl, Operations Manager of Sonoran Gardens of Tucson, Arizona
Kira Niccum-Pritzl

Custom Care Manager

Kira worked as a Development Coordinator for a national real estate development company for six years before joining the Sonoran Gardens team. She has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University, and prides herself on hard work and dedication to getting every job done. Her experience in managing multiple consultants and maintaining intricate schedules aids in her ability to analyze situations for the most effective outcome. She has worked at Sonoran Gardens for two years as the Operations Manager. In this position she oversaw the operation of the company, refined and created new systems, and managed several aspects of the Custom Care Division. As Sonoran Gardens' Custom Care Division grew, Kira's focus shifted solely to the growth and improvement of Custom Care.

As the Custom Care Manager she oversees the success of our landscape and potted garden maintenance crews. She ensures our customers receive the service and quality they expect from Sonoran Gardens. Kira works closely with Sonoran Gardens' in house crews as well our clients to address any issues and resolve any concerns. This position allows her to utilizes her learned skills in planning and problem solving. Most importantly the role is about making sure Sonoran Gardens' new and loyal customers expectations are continually exceeded.

Construction Team

Matt Niccum of Sonoran Gardens of Tucson, Arizona
Matt Niccum
Construction Manager

Matt Niccum has worked at Sonoran Gardens for a total of 6 years. He started working summers as a laborer during college, and then as a Construction Foreman and Construction Supervisor after college. He currently holds the position of Construction Manager, and is responsible for the day to day running of the construction jobs at Sonoran Gardens. His years working in the field, on a crew and running a crew, lends him the experience to manage the in-house crews and subcontractors. He is in the field every day meeting with the subcontractors, clients, and in-house crews making sure that the jobs are running on schedule and as planned.

Matt strives to make each project run as smoothly as possible creating a day-by-day calendar and project information sheet that anyone can look at during the project and know where the project currently stands and where the project needs to move. He works directly with everyone involved in the project coordinating each piece of the puzzle to create a finished product that is a beautiful, functional, and livable space for the client. After all, the project is for the client, and they are the ones who will live in the space long after we are done building it.

Custom Care Maintenance

Donald Sumski of Sonoran Gardens of Tucson, Arizona
Custom Care Manager

Bio here.....

Design Team

Shelly Ann Abbott of Sonoran Gardens of Tucson, Arizona
Shelly Ann Abbott

Shelly Ann Abbott, MLA, is a multiple award winning landscape designer and Master of Landscape Architecture. She has won the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's Xeriscape Contest for 2010 and 2011 in the professional landscape category and is a 2011 ALCA landscape design award winner. Shelly graduated with Honors and a Design Excellence Award from the University of Arizona, and is held in esteem by the community for her high standards in residential landscape design and ethics for the community and the environment.

As a native Tucsonan, Shelly has a long-time understanding of the various microclimates and which plants have the potential to thrive and look fabulous in this hot arid climate. The desert is a place of uncommon beauty, but it can also be quite challenging to landscape. By using a large and varied plant palette that she has made her signature mark in the landscape design field, she has been able to instill her ethic of water conservation and appropriateness of place for Southern Arizona while creating exciting outdoor areas with colorful landscapes that contain year-round interest that help support local wildlife.

"I find that my clients take great pleasure in desert gardens that are breathtakingly colorful and interesting and that contain components that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Daytime temperatures in the desert quickly plummet after the sun goes down, especially in the summer. This is the special time when homeowners want to get outdoors and enjoy their landscape after dark. I love designing night lighting that allows homeowners to enjoy the excitement of their gardens at night too. I have a deep appreciation for landscapes that function as outdoor living spaces with outdoor kitchens, fireplaces and water features which become such great places to gather around and welcome friends and family to spend time".

Shelly conducts residential landscape design workshops at The University of Arizona as adjunct lecturer in the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning at the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, CALA. She regularly teaches classes at Tohono Chul Park on landscape lighting, cultural and historical landscapes throughout the world as they relate to Tucson, and designing gardens that attract native desert pollinators.

Shelly lives in the Tucson area with her husband, Brian, two girls and numerous animals.

Sven Gunn of Sonoran Gardens of Tucson, Arizona
Sven Gunn

Sven Gunn, a professional member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD), is an award winning landscape designer creating unique residential landscapes since 1998. Sven received his BS from the University of Arizona in Interior Design. After many successful years creating exciting interiors, he shifted his focus. Now, in his 15th year, he is creating new and exciting outdoor living spaces. Sven has earned several awards from the Arizona Landscape Contractors Association (ALCA) as well as voted Most Creative Landscape Professional in 2007 by Tucson Home and Garden magazine. A philanthropist at heart, he enjoys donating his time to benefit such organizations as The Boys and Girls Club of Tucson, Tucson Botanical Gardens, and the Tucson Zoological Society.

Sven continues his passion to create unique landscapes emphasizing water conservation, use of native plants and provide lasting value and pleasure for the homeowner.

Roberta Braeglemann of Sonoran Gardens of Tucson, Arizona
Roberta Braegelmann

Roberta started her career with Sonoran Gardens in 1999 as a Landscape Designer. She earned an Associate Degree in Landscape Technology from Pima Community College, focusing her studies in design.

SLM LogoRoberta has earned several awards from the Arizona Landscape Contractors Associate, (ALCA) including a Judges Award in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, an Award of Distinction in 2005 and in 2011 she received ALCA certification for Sustainable Landscape Management. Roberta has also received awards from Tohono Chul Park – ADWAR Xeriscape Contest in 2003, 2004 2005 and was awarded first place for Professional Residential Xeriscape in 2006.

Margaret West of Sonoran Gardens of Tucson, Arizona
Margaret West

Margaret West has been the recipient of over 50 awards from local, state and national design competitions including an "Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Arizona Landscape Contractor's Association. Margaret received her training in landscape architecture at the University of Arizona. She is a third generation Arizonan and her work has been featured in many local and national newspapers, magazines and periodicals. She has been a pioneer of the Arizona xeriscape movement and especially loves projects that focus on water harvesting and creating low water use oases. Margaret's master plans include pools, spas, walls, paving, patios, ramadas, driveways and plantings -- all aspects of outdoor living in the desert southwest.

Margaret specializes in residential design and has received awards for two public projects: one for the ramada and patio gardens at the Tucson Botanical Gardens and the other as the head of the design team for the Women's Plaza of Honor on the University of Arizona campus.

Contact us at 520-579-9411 for your complimentary landscape design and installation consultation.


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"Kathy and I want to thank you for your marvelous expertise, and Juan and Eddie for their excellent work. We are absolutely delighted with the results of your efforts…transforming a Malaysian rain forest into a Sonoran desert in a matter of hours. Hooray! We look forward to working with you again and again." ~ Ted A.

"Paul and I want to thank you for the beautiful job you did on our property over the past month. We so appreciate your professionalism, expertise and all we learned from you. We have invited the builder up to see it. Please use us as a reference at any time. We are very pleased at how lovely it is. I shall miss the young men and all their laughter and help." ~ Connie

"Thank you for a careful and responsive remodel of our backyard. The quality of work is very high and we have appreciated your knowledge and suggestions. We now have a beautiful yard thanks to you." ~ Pat & Jan M.
"Just a short note to thank you for the wonderful work you and your professional team did on my landscape. I am thrilled with the results and very much appreciate your many efforts on our behalf. No challenge was impossible for you! The communication and follow through from everyone at Sonoran Gardens during and after the project was completed has been nothing short of spectacular. P.S. I have given your name and phone number to my new neighbors - think they will need your expertise soon!" ~ Debra

"Thanks again for another especially nice job completed at our residence. We always appreciate the demeanor of your staff and the completeness of the job at hand." ~ Harold

"Thank you so much - you have been so wonderful to work with - and your care to detail is so obvious in the beautiful final result. I can hardly wait for it all to blossom away!" ~ Sally

"Thank you for all you and your folks have done to make our home so beautiful. You certainly can count on us anytime to reference the friendly professionalism of your firm. In a day when customer service seems non-existent, Sonoran Gardens gives customer service their highest priority. Sonoran Gardens is certainly a pleasure to do business with." ~ Rick S.
"I want to thank you and your entire staff for an outstanding job. We are very pleased with the work Sonoran Gardens did and the results accomplished. Everyone one your staff was courteous and willing to work with us during the entire project. We are also very happy that it was completed on time! Please give special thanks to Roberta for the time and energy she devoted to us in the planning process and building phase as well. She was also available to answer questions and helps us in any way possible. We certainly appreciate her efforts. She is an outstanding representative of Sonoran Gardens. We will be enjoying our landscape and patio for many years to come. Again, thank you to you and all your staff." ~ Sam & Lynn W.

"Thank you for the wonderful work you and your professional team did on my landscape. I am thrilled with the results and very much appreciate your many efforts on our behalf. No challenge was impossible for you! The communication and follow through from everyone at Sonoran Gardens during and after the project was completed has been nothing short of spectacular." ~ J.G.

"I'm trying to put a big SMILE into this letter, because that's what is on my face as I write this, glancing over my shoulder to take yet another look at what has happened in the yard. We feel as if we're in an entirely new house." ~ J.M.

Award-Winning Design Plans

1st Place Ribbon for Sonoran Gardens of Tucson, Arizona The Fosdick residence won 1st place in 2010 for the Professional Landscape Category in the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Xeriscape contest. Visit Our Design Page

2nd Place Ribbonv for Sonoran Gardens of Tucson, Arizona The Cole residence won 2nd place in 2011 for the Professional Landscape Category in the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Xeriscape contest. Visit Our Design Page

Relaxation. Recreation. Your own vacation destination.

Whether it's a lush, tranquil garden oasis with a soothing fountain, an elaborate environment for entertaining, or a backyard recreational paradise, our expert staff can make your vision become a reality. We have extensive experience in all areas of outdoor environments including xeriscape, gardens, water features, boulders, patios, driveways, outdoor fireplaces and more.

Vacation value in your own backyard.

More and more, people are foregoing expensive travel, staying home, and enjoying vacations at home. With your own private oasis or your recreational setting complete with everything from pool to putting green, you can make your stay-home vacation as relaxing or as fun as you desire. No lost luggage. No long lines. No high ticket prices. It's a getaway - without going away!

link to APLD link to ACT Referral Site link to ALCA link to ANPS link to Tucson Botanical Gardens link to Tohono Chul Park link to Better Business Bureau