Private Gardens of Santa Barbara: The Art of Outdoor Living (Gibbs Smith, 2020) by landscape designer Margie Grace of Grace Design Associates (gracedesignassociates.com), offers an intimate look at 18 distinctive gardens set on the grounds of large estates, modest homes, and surf retreats, including Grace’s own secret garden, which she affectionately dubs “Lotusland South,” after her storied Montecito neighbor.
“Coffee table books for me can be a three minute vacation that refreshes,” says Grace, who hopes her new book will offer just that to readers. With beautiful photography by Holly Lepere, the book is also packed with inspiration and takeaways for sustainable home garden designs with all-important water-conscious, maintenance-friendly, and fire-safety priorities in mind.
“We are starved for beauty in nature,” says Grace. “If we can get a little dose every day, we just feel better.”
For those with big garden dreams and small spaces in which to realize them, Small Garden Style: A Design Guide for Outdoor Rooms and Containers (Ten Speed Press, 2020) may prove to be an invaluable resource.
“We couldn’t find a garden meets-design book,” says Santa Barbara–based writer Jennifer Blaise Kramer, who co-authored the realistic take on fashioning gardens with Isa Hendry Eaton of Isa Bird Landscape Design (isabird.com).
The book starts with a fun quiz to help readers determine their small-garden style.
“Everyone deserves to have a little garden in their home,” says Eaton. “Why not make it something that really feels like you by bringing your individual aesthetic?”
The variety of ways to bring your own unique style to your garden are lovingly documented by local photographer Leela Cyd.
“We really wanted it to be fun and inspirational but also very practical and useful,” says Eaton. “A container is a miniature garden; it’s the best place to start.”