This garden, done by landscape architect Jeffrey Gordon Smith, to complement a 1950s ranch house, sprang from the already-renovated courtyard. The clients, recent transplants from Connecticut, were thrilled with the fact that in the warm climate of Santa Barbara, everything grew — but that became confusing, too. What to grow that wouldn’t overwhelm the site or the people? As Smith says, “The client had stressed to us that they wanted something that spoke of their East Coast roots but also took advantage of the views of the Santa Ynez Mountains — yet invoked the feeling of being an ultimate California experience, hot tub included.” A tall order: one that first required expanding the patio and leveling out the property with a retaining wall at its back.
Keeping in mind that the neighbors’ views had to be preserved, staggered plantings of small Mexican weeping bamboo plants complement a pre-existing stand of bamboo. A deck was added off the guest room and office, complete with a redwood hot tub, as well as a fire pit made of native sandstone. To satisfy the East Coasters’ longing for a lawn, part of the yard is manicured green and includes patio stones. Plants include Agave attenuata ‘Nova,’ evergreen Miscanthus, as well as succulents and Mediterranean-inspired flora. And, as a final flourish, Smith has placed a secret vegetable garden in galvanized feed troughs, hidden behind a rosemary hedge. The result is a bounty of fruits and vegetables year-round — making this garden not only beautiful but useful.