Santa Barbara · Montecito · Ojai · Malibu · Ventura · Pasadena
Picacho Lane Estate
Montecito, California
"Key to this project was preserving the surrounding oak woodland. Incorporating native companion and Mediterranean plants completely transformed and revived the once sterile landscape." Leland Walmsley


After an extensive renovation of this historic Italian villa and converted carriage house, entirely new gardens were in order for this 4 acre estate in Santa Barbara.

To measure up to the now updated and flawless grandeur, we completely changed the main approach by moving the driveway entrance of this impressive property.

We designed a stately and manicured gate to articulate a warm, obvious and commanding entry.

Just beyond the gate, the long sexy curves of the driveway with its sweeping design create a dramatic reveal of the home upon arrival. Reorienting the main driveway also makes the property feel more substantial, as we borrowed and blended with the surrounding views and vistas.

Gentle, soothing sounds of water now grace the landscape as various “Italianate” fountains are now peppered throughout the grounds.

The new organic fruit orchard is the owners pride and joy.

Sustainability Highlights

  • All retaining walls were constructed using fly ash rather than traditional cement (resulting in a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions) and stone reclaimed onsite.
  • The thirsty lawn area was downsized and replaced with more natives and Mediterranean plants with an efficient drip irrigation system, dramatically reducing water usage and other ongoing maintenance related costs.
  • Zoned ‘Smart’ irrigation calibrates exacting water needs and adjusts to weather conditions.
  • Liberal use of mulch for weed control, retains soil moisture, and reduces maintenance costs.
  • Replacing the driveway with permeable hardscape paving allows for rain to penetrate and recharge groundwater and feed the new plantings.
  • Part of the design includes a lush succulent themed garden that depends solely upon rain fall for its water needs.
  • Fire resistant building materials and plants provide fire protection & ‘defensible space’.
  • Organic food-scaping protects local ecosystems – no use of toxic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides
  • Deciduous trees on south side of house provide summer shade, reduces cooling costs.
  • “Warm” and bright LED lighting uses 1/20 of the energy of traditional lighting and complies with “Dark Skies Initiative”.
  • Local vendors, contractors and craftsmen employed.