The Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) has awarded Designer of the Year to Margie Grace of Grace Design Associates Inc., for a residential project in Montecito titled “Sycamore Canyon.”
Grace’s “Sycamore Canyon” is featured in the spring 2018 of Santa Barbara Seasons. (Click here to see the full article.) The project was for Grace’s own home, where she was able to embrace the challenges of the once dreary and uninviting site. Once a front yard of asphalt and a backyard of drought-stricken lawn, is now a mystical wonderland that includes multiple gardens, rustic furniture, and plenty of flora.
For the gardens, Grace took inspiration from the world-renowned gardens of nearby Lotusland. Just a few things that the new gardens include is a collection of barrel cactus, Ponytail Palms, fountains, potted bromeliads, outdoor lights, a fire pit, and more—all situated with Lotusland’s trees as a subtle, natural backdrop. “The design is a homage to Lotusland’s creator, Madame Ganna Walska,” explains Grace. “The garden blooms in shades of pink and features dramatic potted plants and reproduction grotesques from Lotusland itself.”
Specifically, there are four gardens, all with their own vibe and design: The Entry Garden, Purple Rain Garden, The Bromeliad Garden, and the Secret Garden:
The Entry Garden – a gently terraced space organized around a new fountain and embraced by exuberant cottage-style plantings, with a backdrop of the trees of Lotusland. “The design is a homage to Lotusland’s creator, Madame Ganna Walska,” explains Grace. “The garden blooms in shades of pink and features dramatic potted plants and reproduction grotesques from Lotusland itself.”
The Purple Rain Garden – aubergine hoops draped with mirror garlands and a purple fountain in a sea of grass-like, unthirsty sedges, alive with dancing reflected light
The Bromeliad Garden – colorful furniture in the shelter of a grand oak, surrounded by potted bromeliads bought at auction from Lotusland
A Secret Garden, viewed from the master bath, located behind ancient Chinese gates
In addition, there is a generous living space with a farm table and “living room” furniture that is perfect for entertaining and relaxing all year round.
Grace’s before and after photos were judged anonymously. The judges agreed that the landscape was fantastic overall. “Beautiful work and impeccably installed,” commented one judge, while another judge added ““From the wide selection of xeric plants and how they are used in this design to the hardscape materials, this is a very pleasing garden.”
Grace will be honored at the APLD annual conference in Toronto in September. For more information, visit apld.org.