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HOMES & GARDENS | MAY 17, 2018 | INDEPENDENT.COM


HOMES & GARDENS | MAY 17, 2018 | INDEPENDENT.COM

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ANN JAMES N T E R I O R

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E S I G N

805-969-4554 WWW. A NN J AMES I NTERIORS.COM

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H A P P Y& G L O R I O U S HOMES GARDENS HOMES & GARDENS | MAY 17, 2018

| INDEPENDENT.COM

For the third straight year, the Santa Barbara Independent presents its annual Homes & Gardens special section, a roundup of profiles, advice, and insight into what makes our developed and cultivated landscapes thrive. This year’s edition looks at a tiny home built by high schoolers, the history of adobe construction, how to make your yard look like Lotusland, and much, much more.

Edited by Matt Kettmann • Designed by Caitlin Fitch Photographed by Paul Wellman (unless otherwise noted) EDUCATION

THE TINY HOME REVOLUTION With the support of TRADART Foundation, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, and many partners in construction, high school students across Santa Barbara have built three unique tiny homes from the ground up in their woodshop classes and are now getting ready to auction them off on May 23.

S

ativity of it, the independence of it, the whole ince their near-obsolescence mind-body application of it — we knew … we in the early 2000s, woodshop were not going to let the kids not hear about classes in Santa Barbara have the trades.” made a huge turnaround. In fact, there were only two functioning woodTRADART supports woodshop classes shop classes left in the Santa Barbara Uniwith several programs: Tools for Schools profied School District when TRADART, a vides money for shop teachers to buy new nonprofit organization dedicated to the materials; Career Days connects students with advancement of craftsmanship training, industry leaders and gives them a chance to was launched in 2000. experience the trades; Skills Passport offers “When TRADART found out about this, technical courses that prepare students for we stepped in with the district and offered industry jobs; and its newest addition, Tiny our services through the Tools for Schools Houses, teaches students everything about program,” said founder Leslie Meadowbuilding a home from the ground (or trailer) TRADES TRAINING: Santa Barbara High School students near completion of their tiny home project. croft-Schipper, who believes that every up. student should have the choice to learn the The cornerstone of the Tiny Houses projHow trades. ect is Santa Barbara High School shop teacher and “The fact is, not everybody is going to go to college TRADART boardmember Caleb Chadwick. “He knew — college is an admirable avenue, but going to work in his students were capable of building something bigger than a fruit bowl, a bread stand, and a bird house,” said a construction company or with your hands is a very Meadowcroft-Schipper, “so he applied for the grant, and good alternative,” explained renowned contractor Frank Schipper, who is TRADART’s president and Meadowthat’s when this whole tiny house group started.” Two croft-Schipper’s husband. years ago, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara granted BY M O L LY FO R ST E R “It’s considered a second choice, and we think this is $50,000 to seed the project. definitely a first choice,” added Meadowcroft-Schipper. “We have had a big, big learning curve,” said Schipper. “The pleasure of the trades, the ingenuity of it, the cre“The teachers have to learn how to build tiny houses, and

SANTA BARBARA HIGH SCHOOLERS

Are Learning Trades and Constructing Their Futures

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ON THE COVER: Above, Santa Barbara High students work on their tiny home project. Below, Lotusland offers up inspiration to those looking to add an exotic touch to their gardens. the teachers have to learn how to schedule a construction force in 50-minute increments.” With Chadwick’s background in residential construction, his passion is giving kids an intro to framing, electrical, plumbing, and finish work. After he moved to Santa Barbara from Lake Arrowhead, his first idea was to “buy a cheap remodel and remodel the house as a class” — then he found out that a cheap remodel in Santa Barbara could be well over $1 million. With that off the table, he and the shop teacher at Dos Pueblos High School, Chris Mollkoy, set out to find a new solution. Enter the tiny homes. Though most of the shop teachers have experience building houses, Chadwick explained that tiny home

Dos Pueblos High School

Santa Barbara High School

HOMES & GARDENS | MAY 17, 2018 | INDEPENDENT.COM

For the project’s first round, each high school shop designed its own tiny home, which all turned out completely different in structure and style. For round two, though, the plan is to make them “much more streamlined,” said Chadwick, so that the students “can grasp what we’re trying to teach them for that framing unit but not get stuck on all of the little details that we’ve had to deal with this go-around.” Since implementing the project, all of the woodshop classes have seen an increase in student enrollments. Chadwick is going from three woodshop periods to five next year, Santa Barbara Junior High has enough enroll- TIGHT SPACES: Dos Pueblos students (from left) Finn McKenna, Maclane “Mac” Diehl, and Zack ments for nine periods, and Tedeschi sit inside the tiny home that their class has been working on for more than two years. Dos Pueblos’ enrollments have QUEEN BEE: Melissa Perez, also known as “the queen,” works increased by 68 percent in one year. on the exterior of S.B. High’s home. The goal is to auction the tiny homes off each year to raise money and create “a self-perpetuating program so The Dos Pueblos tiny home is “kind of like a blank canconstruction is “very different than building a residential the next group of students can also build a tiny home,” vas,” said Mollkoy. “It could be a tiny home, it could be home, in the sense that you have the most complicated said Meadowcroft-Schipper. portions of your house all in the same area as where an office, [or] it could be an art studio.” It is a little smaller The three tiny houses from Santa Barbara, San Mar- than the other two and has a gambrel roof, white interior, you’re living.” He said, “It’s not as straightforward as I cos, and Dos Pueblos high schools will be auctioned off stairs that lead up to a loft bed, and hookups for a shower thought it would be.” Such complications turned this one-year project into on Wednesday, May 23, at Earl Warren Showgrounds, and small kitchen. The woodshop room at Dos Pueblos is two years. The fires and floods also added “severe delays,” with bidding open until June 6. Here’s a sneak peek at huge and filled with students working on their individual said Chadwick, explaining that it took the students a each. projects, and the tiny home is outside with more kids while to jump back emotionally from that. working on that. “It’s really hard for me to be in and out,” said Mollkoy, as he whistles across the classroom, a signal for everyone to start cleaning up. But luckily he now has Santa Barbara High School’s tiny Nate Johnson, a new teacher and former student of his home has beautiful redwood panel- that Mollkoy worked to get hired and who is now the ing on the exterior, white paneling on official tiny home supervisor. the interior, a shed-style copper roof (donated from Martin Roofing), and lots of big windows. Senior Melissa Perez has been taking woodshop San Marcos’ tiny home has gray shiplap exterior, a shedclasses since 7th grade and is the style rooftop, veneered white plywood interior, stairs to a project manager of the tiny home; loft, a bright white door, and many windows that let in a her classmates call her “the queen.” lot of natural light. “The project is really student driven,” “I’m always in here with Chadwick,” said junior Ishaan Karandikar, who’s in charge when she said. “It [the tiny house] bene- shop teacher Justin Howe isn’t there. “We’re building a fits us all because, as just high school tiny house to help us understand what goes into building students, we’re learning skills that a real house,” he explained as students worked quietly will be helpful in all of our lives.” She and independently on ladders behind him, caulking plans to study construction manage- windows and perfecting the little details. ment at Fresno State next year. WHEEL FUN: San Marcos High School students (from left) Gema Nunez, Ishaan Karand-

San Marcos High School

ikar, and Kyle Rheinschild set the windows for their home on wheels.

tradartfoundation.org

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HOMES & GARDENS | MAY 17, 2018

| INDEPENDENT.COM

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HOMES & GARDENS DREAMS

MAKE YOUR GARDEN LOOK LIKE

LOTUSL AND

PAUL MILLS

Locally there is also an orchid and begonia club, also with raffle plants at the meetings, and the Santa Barbara Garden Club (formerly the Men’s Garden Club of S.B.) puts on an annual sale that raises funds for SBCC horticulture student scholarships. Lotusland has a long history with all of these groups. Ganna Walska herself, and other staff, have won the coveted Bouquet of the Year Award from the S.B. Horticultural Society for outstanding service in horticulture. How critical is having the right soil for these rare plants? Soil preparation is extremely important for any and all plants, but especially cacti and succulents, cycads, and palms. Many parts of Santa Barbara have heavy clay soils that have been the death knell of many plants. Thankfully, Ganna Walska had employed some early horticulturists that understood the importance of healthy, rich, yet fast-draining soils. She wasn’t a horticulturist, but she knew the plants she liked and how she wanted them displayed, and it took a lot of ingenuity on the part of her horticultural staff to make some of these plantings work. To this day, soil is the basis of our success here at Lotusland; a healthy, living soil creates healthy plants and those that are more resistant to drought and pathogens.

HOMES & GARDENS | MAY 17, 2018 | INDEPENDENT.COM

for the uninitiated plant person. Professionals will bring a trained eye when laying out a landscape and will (hopefully) know the care requirements (watering needs, soil Paul Mills type, sun/shade) for a large variety of plants. It’s of course important to get good plant material, but the cultural requirements and soil preparation are Where can you find Lotusland-like plants? I tend to gravitate equally important. As the old saying goes, “Don’t put a to Terra Sol Garden Center — in particular, Mike Tully $5 plant in a 50 cent hole.” Something visitors will notice at Lotusland are the and Tony Krock can find the rarest and most unusual plants around. But there are so many great nurseries mass plantings — Madame Ganna Walska’s premise in the area, such as 7 Day Nurswas that more was better — and ery and Seaside Gardens, that she was mostly right. I see a lot of Curator landscapes that have many differcarry a cross section of the plants one sees at Lotusland, from rare, ent plants, but only one of each, oddball succulents and cycads to which gives a polka-dot appearAdvises on How to Copy begonias and palms. Of course, ance that isn’t pleasing to the eye Madame Ganna Walska’s La Sumida, Island View, Green — there is no design or coherency. Epic Vision Thumb, and Australian Native There are definitely plants that Plants — the last two in Ventura can stand alone, but with masses BY M AT T K E T T M A N N and the latter having recently or swaths of plant material, you risen from the ashes of Thomas — are great resources create more drama and interest. Lotusland’s gardens as well. are all about drama and flair, like their creator, Madame Although strictly wholesale, San Marcos Growers Ganna Walska. has the best selection around of all types of plants. A homeowner can go there to get ideas and choose plants, What clubs exist that may help foster a garden but a professional (gardener, garden designer, land- like this? Santa Barbara has a very rich scape architect, etc.) must make the purchase. horticultural history dating back to the Tom Cole’s Cold Spring Aloes is the nursery for 1800s, and there are a number of great aloes. Tom is an amazing person, his plant knowledge plant groups in town where one can learn is immense, and he carries many aloes that you won’t a lot, not just from the presentations but find anywhere else. We recently bought some plants from the knowledgeable membership. The Santa Barbara County Horticulfrom him for the aloe garden here at Lotusland, and tural Society meets monthly and is one he’s right across the street from us! And of course, I have to mention Exceptional Plants, of the oldest in the U.S., having started in Lotusland’s signature plant auction and sale that will be 1880. Not only are there raffle and freebie on October 6 this year. Where better to get the kinds of plants at each meeting, they put on a fanplants that you see at Lotusland than at Lotusland? At tastic plant sale in the fall. Exceptional Plants, we have something for everyone, The Santa Barbara Cactus & Succuand it’s a great event with specialty hors d’oeuvres and lent Society is another vibrant group drinks, and you get to rub elbows with a who’s who of with very interesting and informative presenters, and the plant world. they, too, have monthly presentations with raffle and freebie plants. Oftentimes the presenters themselves Is it worthwhile to hire a landscape specialist? Hiring a land- bring rare or unusual plants to sell to the frenzied plant scaper and/or a garden designer is probably a good idea aficionados.

CAITLIN FITCH

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et’s get this straight right away: Unless you’re a multimillionaire who’s already chummy with rare plant collectors in every corner of the globe, your garden is never going to approach the horticultural wizardry on display at Ganna Walska Lotusland, that epic spread in the hills of Montecito. But Paul Mills, Lotusland’s curator of living collections, was happy to share a few tips on how to start such a quest.

If you had a blank slate, where would you start? I’m a proponent of landscaping with succulents and other drought-tolerant plants, including cycads and some palms. This is not only because we live in the land of drought and fire but because many of these plants, especially succulents, are so sculptural and come in so many shapes, colors, and textures that you have endless opportunities to create an over-the-top, Lotusland-esque garden.

lotusland.org

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HOMES & GARDENS

Casa de la Guerra

HISTORY 101

proper foundation was very important, for the foundation not only gave a building a firm base upon which to rest but also protected the adobe walls from groundwater. Each wall had beneath it a trench filled with rounded stones covered with mud. Adobe walls were thick by modern standards, around two feet for smaller buildings. Two-story adobes were fairly rare. To give the walls greater strength, they were covered with a coating of sand and mud. Window openings were usually small, and these often were fitted with

cont’d on p. 11

HOMES & GARDENS | MAY 17, 2018 | INDEPENDENT.COM

ith the arrival of the Spanish colonists, straw, and sand was vital; otherSanta Barbara came to be built with the wise, the bricks might crumble oldest-known construction material: mud. or be too soft. Trial and error Santa Barbara’s oldest buildings were made from adobe was often necessary until just brick, the word “adobe” deriving from the Spanish ado- the right formula was achieved. bar, “to plaster.” These early settlers found a landscape The adobe was then poured largely devoid of trees that could yield lumber suitable into wooden forms to create the bricks. Once for building. An alternaremoved from the tive building material had How Mud Came to Be forms, the bricks to be found: adobe brick. the Cornerstone of Early were The central ingredient set aside to dry. Construction in California Depending on the in adobe brick is clay-like soil. The physically ardusize of the bricks, which generally averaged by M I C H A E L R E D M O N ous task of making adobe anywhere from 50 to 60 pounds, they could bricks began by digging take as much as a month to completely a pit into which soil was thrown and water added. dry. Once the bricks had achieved a consistent color Once these materials were blended into a smooth mix- throughout, they were ready for use. A surprising numture, straw and sand were added, serving to bind and ber of bricks was needed to build even small structures; strengthen the adobe. The sand also aided in the even a one-room home could take as many as 5,000 bricks. drying of the adobe bricks so they would not warp or Water is both a key ingredient and the great enemy of curl. Hitting upon the correct proportions of soil, water, adobe; untreated bricks can dissolve. Construction of a

SANTA BARBARA HISTORICAL MUSEUM

OUR ADOBE PAST W

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HOMES & GARDENS | MAY 17, 2018

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HOMES & GARDENS ADOBE CONT’D FROM P. 9

ITALIAN POTTERY OUTLET’S

I

CERAMIC FEAST

COURTESY

t’s just a feast,” says Adele Spalluto Hubbard as Despite their New World success, the Spallutos hold she reflects on her family’s personally vetted retail on to their father’s legacy by relying on Old World busicollection of handmade, hand-painted Italian ness protocols. “We start off with a big meal,” said Spallceramics. “They are exactly like a painting, hand done uto Hubbard of her trips to Italy and her family’s close with a brush, painstakingly made with love, and that’s relationships with their Italian suppliers. “Then we pick which different shapes and patterns we are going to get the charm.” Thirty-five years ago, her father, Ben Spalluto, an and then spend the whole afternoon just sitting at the Italian immigrant, started the Italian Pottery Outlet as table.” a wholesale business that They’ve been in the operated out of a warebusiness so long that it’s house in what’s now called generational all around. the Funk Zone. That grew “My mom and dad were out of a family trip to Italy, working with the parents; now the parents when Spalluto approached are all retired, and my Nino Parrucca, the famed ceramicist who presented sister and I are working works to everyone from with their children,” said Pope John Paul II to Bill Spalluto Hubbard, who also believes that the Clinton. He suggested Italian Pottery Outlet is becoming the American one of the oldest famidistributor for Parrucca, The Spalluto family ly-owned-and-operated who’s famous for his fish and octopus patterns. Parrucca agreed, businesses in Santa Barbara. State Street Retai ler of and the business relationship still holds The retail store moved to its curAuthentic Old World Goods rent location on State Street in 2008 today. As he expanded his product lines, when the oceanfront renovations Celebrates 35 Years Spalluto quickly needed a retail outdisrupted their foot traffic on Helas a Fami ly Business let. “People would knock on the door ena Avenue. But Spalluto Hubbard because they could see that we had nice says the new location carries its own BY C A R O L I N A STA R I N things in there,” said Spalluto Hubbard problems. “A lot of locals don’t shop on State Street, and our city needs to of how demand fueled the storefront’s figure that out, ” she said. gradual takeover of the warehouse and then a move to She also feels the public has an impression that everyState Street. Today, the store carries more than 30 lines of Italian ceramics with some original patterns dating back thing in their store is expensive. “We have so many price to the 1500s and others that were originally designed for points,” she said, highlighting their various pottery patthe Medicis. “A lot of our patterns are older,” she said. terns, table linens, cookbooks, toys, and volcanic stone “There’s quite a history.” tables. “There’s something here for everyone.” Spalluto retired from his business some years ago and One dedicated employee is Liz Stockdill, who’s worked recently passed away from lung complications exacer- on the floor at Italian Pottery Outlet for 10 years. Looking bated by the Thomas Fire ash. His personal paintings, into the future, she hopes that the store remains a bulwark which hang on the walls of the store, are cherished by against Italian ceramic imitations that are coming from his family. cheaper markets. “In places like Italy, where there is a Adele and Julie Spalluto, Ben’s two daughters, now run legitimate art market, the idea isn’t to do it as cheaply as the retail business, which has become one of the largest possible,” she said. “It’s to do it as beautifully and as Italian collections of its kind. Their brother, Joe Spalluto, runs as possible.” the wholesale warehouse and distribution, which ships 929 State St.; (877) 496-5599; italianpottery.com to stores across the United States.

HOMES & GARDENS | MAY 17, 2018 | INDEPENDENT.COM

wooden bars or covered with a steer hide or blanket. Glass was virtually unknown. Wooden floors were atypical. Most floors were packed earth with a coating of steer’s blood to make them hard and smooth. New coatings were periodically reapplied. The next step was construction of the pitched roof. A ridgepole ran the length of the building and was connected to the side walls of the adobe by rafters. Saplings were placed perpendicular to the rafters to create a crosshatch effect. Atop this was placed thatch, and atop that, curved tiles of kiln-fired adobe, laid in an overlapping fashion. Finally, the adobe walls were sealed with a plaster made of lime, which was produced by firing seashells. The lime was mixed with sand and water, and the mixture applied to the walls with bare hands. As the mixture dried, it would harden, forming a protective coating. This coating tended to flake and so was periodically reapplied. The finished adobe was cool in the summer and warm in winter and proved to be quite durable. Santa Barbara’s historic adobes have survived any number of earthquakes over the decades. The increasing influx of Americans to Santa Barbara after 1850 caused a decline in the popularity of adobe construction; the newcomers wanted houses that reminded them of home. In some cases, adobes were covered with wood siding, sometimes for aesthetic purposes or as protection from the elements. Construction of Stearns Wharf in 1872 allowed for increased imports of lumber and hastened the arrival of Victorian architecture. Many adobes succumbed to development. For example, the imposition of the grid pattern of streets in the early 1850s led to the razing of any number of adobes. Yet the architecture of modern-day Santa Barbara, with its white walls and red-tile roofs, very much harks back to the city’s adobe days. Outstanding examples of Santa Barbara’s Spanish Colonial style and its variants include the El Paseo complex, City Hall, The Arlington Theatre, and any number of commercial buildings and private residences that dot the city landscape. In many ways, Santa Barbara’s adobe days live on, but how many of us know of the toil and trouble it took to construct Santa Barbara way back when? n

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HOMES & GARDENS THE EVOLUTION OF

ALTERNATIVES

SYNTHETIC GRASS I CHLOE KIRK

How has synthetic grass technology advanced over the past few years? Synthetic turf has been exponentially increasing in quality. Attributes like yarn construction, blade structure, heat resistance, durability, and appearance have been constantly improving every year. We are constantly working with manufacturers to find the most cutting-edge technology. Are sales still on the increase? Yes, sales continue to rise as people’s perception of synthetic turf changes. Not only do people want to save money and water; they also don’t want to spend their Saturdays mowing their lawn. Many of our recent installs are for pet owners or families with children. It makes for a safe and clean play area.

DROUGHT-WISE GARDENING

F

or the first 25 or so years that I was a gardener in Santa Barbara, I learned how to grow flowers, vegetables, container plants, vines, dahlias, and groundcovers, and, well, I kept rather fit pushing a lawn mower through yards and yards Landscaping Veteran of Bermuda, Kikuyu, and annual rye grass lawns. Dishes Wisdom for Keepi ng But during these recent drought-y years, I’ve Your Thirsty Yard Alive become fluent in Meter Reader-ese, and spend BY R A N DY A R N OW I T Z much of my time stingily doling out not enough water to thirsty and stressed-out trees and shrubs. I’m like Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice, deciding not whether to sacrifice a son or daughter, but rather a ginkgo for a pomegranate tree. To save you some of my pain, here are some hard-won lessons I’ve learned about surviving a drought in your garden. (1) Don’t Be Shallow: Learn how to use your irrigation timer properly. If beds, lawns, and hedges are still being watered briefly and shallowly three times a week or more — Bad Pup! Less-frequent, thorough waterings will encourage deeper rooting, which can help plants better survive during drought conditions. (2) Location. Location. Location: Put roses, containers, veggies, flowers, and other thirsty plants near your home where you can enjoy them. Use drought-tolerant trees and shrubs farther away and out toward the “back 40” and water more efficiently. (3) Forgiveness: Find out which plants are forgiving of missed watering days and grow those. Let’s review: Gardenias are not forgiving. Water too often or not frequently enough, and they are toast. On the other hand, Mexican petunia (Ruellia brittoniana) will come back happily, even after a severe wilt. (4) Get Potted: Plants grown in black plastic nursery containers can be slipped into slightly larger decorative pots to insulate them from the sun. Remember, plants grown directly in terra cotta dry out much faster than those in glazed or plastic containers.

What are some misconceptions that still linger? Oftentimes people are concerned with the grass being hot, but due to the new technologies, that is no longer an issue. A lot of people still think of Chloe Kirk and Beau Schmidt synthetic grass as AstroTurf, but the new styles of grass actually have yellow and brown thatch woven in, making it look like realistic California grass.

(5) Don’t Stress: Cacti, succulents, natives, and drought-tolerant plants are rarely drought tolerant when grown in containers. Their roots should not be allowed to dry out completely, or the plants will become stressed.

What was one of your favorite projects? The installation we donated to DAWG. Being pet lovers, it was fun to be able to help out and give back to the community.

(7) Probed: The best way to know if you’re watering deeply and thoroughly enough is to test with a soil probe. Set a slow sprinkler under a tree or in a bed. Wait a while and use the probe to determine to what depth the water has penetrated the soil. Water. Probe. Repeat. n

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HOMES & GARDENS | MAY 17, 2018 | INDEPENDENT.COM

n 2014, in the throes of the drought, fourth-generation contractor Beau Lee Schmidt started EcoLawn when he saw a need for more efficient yet still beautiful landscapes. “On average, approximately 30 percent of a homeowner’s water bill is attributed to landscaping,” said co-owner Chloe Kirk, but it’s not just residential customers. In just the past four years, EcoLawn has also installed synthetic grass at schools such as Marymount and Bright Start Child Development Center as well as at the Hotel Californian, Bacara, and Santa Barbara Zoo. EcoLawn Co-Owner “More and more commercial and institutional properties are converting to artificial,” said Kirk. “Advantages include lower groundskeeping mainTalks About Today’s tenance costs, no water needed, and the benefit of a ARTIFICIAL TURF perpetual pristine appearance.” BY M AT T K E T T M A N N She recently answered a few more of my questions.

SEVEN TIPS FOR

(6) Shady Business: Ever notice that most nurseries display and grow their tchotchke cacti and succulents under shade cloth or beneath a lath? Yours will also benefit when grown in bright shade or morning sun instead of full, blaring afternoon or all-day sun. Even in the Sonoran Desert, the seedlings of the mighty saguaro cactus only survive and establish themselves when germinated in the shade of a palo verde tree, creosote bush, or other sheltering “nurse plant”.

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HOMES & GARDENS EXPERTS

LANDSCAPING 101 Award-Winning Designer M A R G I E G R A C E on How to Redo Your Yard

fter 18 years working in the landscape design business, Margie Grace got her contractor’s license and hung her own shingle in 2000. Today, Grace Design Associates works on about 20 projects each year and was recently named International Designer of the Year by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, an award she also won a decade ago. She recently answered some basic questions about landscaping and shared her thoughts on current trends.

TRENDSPOTTING

Water-smart, low-maintenance, fire-smart landscapes: I’ll continue doing this forever! Veggies/food/herb gardens: Tucking them in here and there — front yard, curb strip, pots, rooftop. Another thing I will keep doing forever! Outdoor living: Spaces that function just like rooms in the house — what better place than in our climate? We can live outside most days of the year. It’s a lighter environmental footprint and easier on the wallet — great furnishings; shade here, sunny spot there; a roof overhead in places, but walls are totally optional. Skip the cost of a big house, and go for a great garden with “just enough house for in case of rain.” (I can’t remember who said that.)

LOVE IT!

Living walls: Super cool look. But they’re resource heavy and ill-suited for our climate. Terrestrial plants in our climate survive nine months of drought annually by having their roots in the soil. ’Nuff said. Sustainable gardens: It’s important to have this in the lexicon, and the intent is more valid than ever. The meaning, however, has been lost through overuse and misapplication. Let’s do that which transcends fads and marketing taglines, a shift from buzzword gardens to what I’ve termed ecological thinking. In the landscape, focus on a healthy microbial soil suite, the nitrogen cycle, the water cycle, the oxygen cycle; provide habitat (water, food, shelter) for as many components of the native biome as possible.

OVER IT!

COURTESY

STEPS TO REDO YOUR YARD

(1) Research: Find/take photos of gardens you love, online, in magazines, around your neighborhood. Don’t focus on plants or other details yet — you’re looking for a feeling; it pulls you, inspires you; it’s joyful. Do as little or as much of this as you’re inclined to do. Do not stress over this. It’s supposed to be fun. (2) Homework: Think of the following: Functions: Make a list of how you’d like to use the space — outdoor cooking, a place to play, animals, entertaining, chill-axing, etc. Fantasies: Write down your wish list: everything you ever wanted in your dream garden. Finances: Figure out your budget. (3) Build your team: Find a great designer. Meet them on-site. Bring your homework and photos from your research. See if you have a good rapport and a shared vision of your project and you like his/her aesthetic. Then hire them, and trust them to guide you to your best garden. (4) Find a design that fits your needs: This is where your research and homework come in. (5) Build your garden: Do it yourself. Have a landscaping party. Use a gardener or a landscape contractor. Or use a design-build firm such as Grace Design Associates.

Knock out a couple of fence boards between neighbors to provide a wildlife corridor; leave a few logs to rot to support bugs, lizards, and salamanders. Integrated design-build teams: Owner, architect, interior designer, builder, CAN’T landscape designer, landscape conW AIT tractor, site engineer — everyone F O who contributes to the design and R IT! construction of the project, working together collaboratively from the very beginning of the project. This allows for the best use of resources, provides efficiencies, and ensures an integrated finished project. We work this way as often as we can swing it. (It’s not a familiar model for most folks.) A goodly number of the most important things you can do for your landscape are lost by calling the landscape guy in at the end of a project. Surely, the architecture contributes to the landscape, the construction to the architecture, the interior to the exterior, the design to the maintenance, the site work to the landscape, and on and on. So why are we all acting independently?

HOMES & GARDENS | MAY 17, 2018 | INDEPENDENT.COM

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BY M AT T K E T T M A N N

See gracedesignassociates.com. For a longer interview, see independent.com/margie.

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HOMES & GARDENS | MAY 17, 2018

| INDEPENDENT.COM

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Santa Barbara Independent Home and Garden Guide, 05/17/18  

Special Section, Homes and Gardens Guide

Santa Barbara Independent Home and Garden Guide, 05/17/18  

Special Section, Homes and Gardens Guide