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About Margie Grace
Through an impressive career that has spanned over three decades and yielded more than 350 gardens around the world, Margie Grace has joined an elite echelon of garden and landscape designers whose work is celebrated both locally and internationally.
Whether designing gardens for historically significant estate properties, relaxed bungalows, or coastal family retreats, Margie takes her cues from her clients, their lifestyle, the architecture of the property, and the land itself. She has designed outdoor environments that are formal, casual, rustic, and coastal, but regardless of style, Margie creates spaces that bring people together to live in and enjoy the outdoors with nature at its finest.
Margie applies the principles of design to create a framework for her landscapes. She then sculpts the terrain to mimic nature and layers on essential elements– organic materials, stone and plantings – to create a dynamic, living ecosystem that supports the local biome and utilizes water in the most efficient and considered way. She programs the environment for the enjoyment of its inhabitants, creating moments for reflection, relaxation, and gathering with friends and family – with vistas, follies, destinations, outdoor rooms – spaces that bring people together in both planned and unexpected ways. Her creative vision extends to all facets of outdoor living, selecting plants from sources both local and exotic, as well as garden hardscape, outdoor furnishings, pots, art, objects, and accessories. Grace’s distinctive design is then meticulously executed with an emphasis on site-sensitive plantings, specialized sources, and quality construction grounded in the values of old-world craftsmanship.
Margie earned her degree in life and earth sciences from UCSC, supplemented by coursework at UCLA in Landscape Architecture. As an avid traveler, she is a perpetual student of gardens as well as natural landscapes and has worked in far-away places such as Spain, Australia, and New Zealand, learning principles and techniques that she masterfully employs in her native Southern California habitat. Her work based in Santa Barbara is influenced by her deep appreciation for California’s unique natural beauty and climate, and she is called upon as an expert for her understanding of the delicate balance of the region’s local ecosystems.
Margie’s work has been featured in top publications throughout the world including Garden Design, Traditional Home, Better Homes and Gardens, Veranda, Luxe, Sunset, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. She has been honored with numerous design awards including the prestigious International Landscape Designer of the Year award from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, which she was awarded for the second time in
Her work will be the subject of a monograph published by Gibbs Smith, to be released in early
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Private Gardens of Santa Barbara is an invitation into eighteen distinctive private gardens: large estates, modest homes, and surf retreats range from sublime and naturalistic to bold and urban. What they have in common, however, is what makes them truly great. These gardens are a response to the unique character of each site, the existing architecture, and the larger environment; each garden adapted to the lifestyle, personality, and practical needs of the people who live there.
Margie Grace, principal of Grace Design Gardens, is known for incorporating as many ecosystem services as the property will support. These gardens are designed with water-smart, maintenance-smart, and fire-smart priorities in mind, with high habitat value and plants native to the world’s Mediterranean climates.
A plants and materials list serves as a helpful resource, as readers take away ideas and inspiration for their own garden-making.
Twice named International Landscape Designer of the Year, Margie Grace is a well-regarded, nationally known landscape designer with 35+ years in the landscape design-build profession. She is the founding principal of Grace Design Associates, Inc. (GDA), based in Santa Barbara, California, considered the premiere landscape design-build firm in the region.
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