What’s Up: 
Currently at Grace Design Associates

Ever wonder what a day in the life of (fill in the blank) would be like? Well, here’s your chance to peak behind the scenes at some of Grace Design Associate’s day-to-day activities.  Read on to find progress shots of our current projects, some charming landscape details we’re particularly proud of,  images from site visits to recently completed projects and a few of our recent “finds” at some of our favorite vendors.

We’re currently working on a bluff top contemporary house. The owner has tasked us with creating a “mid-century mid-Pacific” landscape.

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This is one of the inspiration photos the Owner brought to us.

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Our palette for the hardscape.  The grays of the Sydney Peak flagstone and the paver evoke volcanic Pacific island basalts. The gold tones in the Sydney Peak flagstone allows us to bring in our native sandstone, tying the composition to its larger surroundings.

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We’re playing up the epic views…

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…and keeping it clean and simple around the house.

We also have a project going on the Mesa:

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Here’s the “before” picture…

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Landscape mounding and stone placement.


Raised vista point plus stone-turned-sculpture monolith.


Planting is nearly finished and fountain is up and running.                                                                   (The birds love it – and so do we!)

This project, a refurbished Californio style adobe house in the Santa Barbara foothills, called for some creative use of materials. The homeowners are wonderful, open, joyful people. They have penchant for collecting useful things and they encourage creativity.

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The owners had a fabulous pile of sticks…


…which we turned into these lovely screens (…remnants of a corralito in our narrative).


I happened upon these remnants at the stone store…

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Pedro built a custom form and poured a center piece and Eric and I did a little mosaic work…

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…and we turned the stones into this fountain.

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We used some leftover building materials to create a custom entry.

And here’s how all the elements came together in the front courtyard:

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Mosaic entry + star fountain

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Corralito screen panels create inviting entry way to front door

We routinely visit our gardens as they grow in to check on their progress, give input on maintenance, observe new plant varieties in the field, study new plant combinations, follow-up on new materials and generally see how the unique things created for each specific job are faring through time.

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This garden, completed last year, is growing in nicely – low water demand and fire resistive plantings.

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This garden in Ojai has grown in nicely too!                                                                                               (Shown here from the pages of Santa Barbara Magazine)

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Same garden on the day we finished the project.

…and it’s all in the details.


This little Tillandsia composition is holding up well. It was a little fragile when I first finished it, but the plants have done a good job of anchoring themselves onto the substrate.


A moment of sweetness.  Here my concern was that the birds might pick it apart for nesting materials… I’m delighted it’s holding up well.

As we complete each project and we hand their brand new baby garden over to the homeowners, we begin the process of dreaming up and creating a unique garden for new clients, like Moxy…

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(Well, she’s our new client’s daughter’s dog anyway.)

Moxy will be overseeing our work, as she spends days with her “granddad” – our actual client – while her human is at her day job.

Have you ever seen a wilder combination of genes? Sweet and smart, her personality is as extraodinary as her looks. It’ll be fun to get to know her better.

Finally, part of what we do is search out interesting and unique items to include in our custom landscapes.

My current favorites:

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This fantastic succulent Stegosaurus from Joe at #succulentzoo…



Fantastic re-purposed flatware with a beautiful tone…


Clever! I smile every time I look at it…


And this final note: a philosophical tidbit to keep us all in touch with our spiritual side…


Next time on The Art of Outdoor Living…

Travel Along With Us –
Discover Portugal: Architectural Details


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Currently at Grace Design Associates

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