Eucalyptus Hill

Montecito, CA

Located on a south-facing coastal slope, this hillside garden fuses house to land while referencing the Eastern and Western cultures of our clients’ histories. The brief for the project was relatively simple…to create a place of respite and gathering for a dispersed family. We were aiming for a great deal of harmony and balance in this garden: open and cloistered, hard and soft, modern yet timeless, and restrained and tranquil with some joyful moments of drama.

The site is magical. Forever views out to the Pacific Ocean are backed by the Santa Ynez Mountains…golden sandstone engulfed by Coastal Chaparral plant communities. The two-acre site had long-ago been subdivided from a larger property designed by the Olmsted Brothers – the primary remnant of which is a dense grove of Canary Island Date Palms providing an exotic frame to the northern edge.

A collaborative team approach focused on achieving a seamless integration between structure and site. Water is used with reverence: courtyard basins are still meditative pools, while a discreet runnel enriches the main house entrance. And, in a singular grand gesture, the swimming pool volume reaches toward the ocean, reflecting the vast coastal sky.

Specimen native Oaks and Sycamores were introduced, complimented by a grove of remnant Olive trees. Additional Olives have been added along with introductions of citrus. Specimen Fig and Loquat trees were also boxed and given places of honor.

At ground level, a tapestry of natives and adapted species receive supplemental water as needed from a 30,000 gallon rainwater catchment system. The central courtyard is designed to attract birds with a rich weave of Chitalpa trees, Jerusalem Sage, Mexican Sage, variegated Liriope, Aloe vera and more. A bit of restrained wildness in the center of it all.