Design Inspiration: Seaside Gardens

sedum with bees

sedum with bees

My sister, Patricia, is gearing up for a total garden makeover. Like most of us, she started the process going over her challenges. What issues need to be addressed? She has drainage issues; dogs that like to eat her plants issues, more shade then sun issues and yes, a pet pigeon named Pepper issues (read here to understand just how much of an issue Pepper has become).

Once you know what needs fixing, the fun part begins—collecting inspiration and figuring out how to make it all work. We’ve been chatting about all of this for a while, but as she gets closer to her target start date it was time for us to focus.

garden inspiration

I’m glad she calls me for help, it makes me feel special. A good sounding board for any project whether it’s a garden, dinner party or kitchen remodel always makes the decision process easier.

Her first inclination was for a country garden filled with roses and lavender, but remember all that shade? When she was up in Santa Barbara for a recent visit, we headed to one of my favorite spots in town for outdoor space inspiration, Seaside Gardens.

island view nursery

Every time I’m there, I pinch myself. It’s a wonderful resource whether you are planning a new garden or just swapping out some plantings.  Vegetal lined pathways lead you from inspiration to inspiration. We brought the kids (also known as map holders) and they ran wild exploring all the different areas. I guess we were all excited.

interesting tree specimen

This cork oak is so beautiful and textural.

wild grasses

I’m obsessed with grass in the garden — no joke, Luke. These are designed by Jessica Bortman.

island view nursery

It never gets old seeing a dracena draco, or dragon tree.

lotus blossoms

Same with lotus flowers.

sedum plants

See this (pretty, pretty) sedum…

sedum potted

…now buy the sedum. Pretty smart.

garden girl

I know… not the most practical shoes.

If you’re not conveniently located right next to this blissful nursery in Carpinteria (you know my secret plan to get all my readers to move to Santa Barbara), here are some ways to refine your garden wants and needs— an aviary for a wild pigeon, perhaps?

Visit local nurseries, garden shops and botanical gardens. Take notes and photos of what you like, but also keep track of what you don’t like.

Tear pages out of magazines and keep a file. Grab a stack of post-it’s to mark pages in your favorite design books.

Start a Pinterest board collecting images that appeal to you, seeing them all together in one spot can really help you define your style.

I heart Molly Chappellet

I heart Molly Chappellet.

Here are some of my favorite resources for garden inspiration:

Sunset Magazine

House and Garden

Kiss My Aster

Gardens of the Wine Country 

What my sister should have said to the folks at Begonia Park.

What my sister should have said to the folks at Begonia Park.