Areas of Specialty
- Landscape Design + Build
- Sustainable Building – Design, Methodology, Practices
- Exquisite Spaces – any style, size, function, setting
Designer Q&A with Margie
Q: What is your design philosophy?
- Connect people with nature.
- Create environments that bring out the best in people.
- Celebrate what is special about a place: feature and enhance the best qualities of the site.
- Use the landscape to unify the site, the architecture and the existing surroundings.
- Capture and/or restore as many components of the native ecosystem as possible.
- Balance development desires with ecosystem health, community needs, functionality and aesthetics.
- Be a good steward and a good citizen.
Q: What led you to this career?
A deep and abiding love of nature.
Q: What has been your favorite project and why?
The Pedregosa Project: A beautiful, modern, pre-fab green home on a flat lackluster city lot. The homeowners envisioned naturalistic outdoor spaces for quiet contemplation, relaxation, lively discussions, lovely meals, and musical evenings. The clients are artists. and we share a love of nature, a lively sense of humor, a deep commitment to sustainable living, and the language of art: light, movement, composition, color, etc. We became good friends during the process of designing and building their project. The resulting garden is a collaborative work of art with a strong indoor-outdoor connection. Both the garden and our friendship continue to flourish.
Q: Tell us about your most challenging project.
Terra Bella: Create ten distinct gardens on a three-acre ocean-side site. The design was to include all of the owners’ vast collection of garden and architectural antiques, which varied widely in style, scale, and historic period. The gardens were to look mature upon completion. We had just three months to design and build it all because 300 guests would be arriving in 91 days for a black tie fundraiser!
We made the deadline. The clients were delighted (and continue to love their gardens to this day). The fundraiser was a huge success. It was a challenging, exhausting, exhilarating, and hugely gratifying experience.
Q: What is your design process?
When I look at a site, I see it through the prism of geology and natural processes and art and architecture. As the over-arching vision emerges, we develop a landscape plan that fulfills the client’s needs, celebrates what’s special about the site, and adheres to the tenets of good stewardship.
Then we get to work. Using the plan as a guide, the garden emerges during the very building of it. This process results in a customized project that’s designed continuously until it’s completed…and allows for creative innovation, free play, and exceptional results.
Grace Design Associates, Inc.
3010 Paseo Tranquillo
Santa Barbara, CA 93105