Tuscan Farmhouse

Montecito, California
"To create a slice of Italian paradise in the heart of Montecito was exciting for me and my team." Leland Walmsley
primary project photo
Tuscan Farmhouse - Montecito, California

Tuscan Farmhouse

Montecito, California
"To create a slice of Italian paradise in the heart of Montecito was exciting for me and my team." Leland Walmsley

This 1 acre property in Santa Barbara is a “home away from home” for our client during Florida’s hurricane season (May through October).

Because the water table for this property is high and the grounds are naturally very wet, we were able to use more thirsty plants to balance out the moisture content of the soil.

We used a few pest and disease resistant Mediterranean plants to be consistent with the architecture of the home. Then, we complemented them with thirsty plants to compensate for the naturally occurring high water table.

The family wanted lots of colorful blooms during their 6 month stay each year, so we incorporated cannas, gardenias, roses, hydrangeas, and bougainvillea.

The once barren walls of the motor court are now beautifully softened, acting as the supports for the espaliered fruit orchard: lemon, apple, orange, tangelo, lime, mandarin, kumquat, and peach.

Large pottery from Italy creates stunning focals and were chosen specifically for growing culinary herbs for daily use.

We doubled the perceived size of the house with terraces and patios that allow for indoor entertaining to expand and flow outdoors, accommodating their large extended-family gatherings.

With the high water table, the natural drainage tendency was through the house; we rerouted the drainage around the house.

We masked the series of new bioswales to invisibly blend with the garden’s more formal theme.

Sustainability Highlights
  • Use of non-invasive plants – naturally pest and disease resistant.
  • When needed, plants are irrigated with well water – not chlorinated city water, which is healthier for the plants.
  • State-of-the-art irrigation products were used to maintain a balance in this naturally occurring moist landscape.
  • We switched the home owner to natural fertilizers and pest control options that are less toxic than traditional methods and applications, often certified organic.
  • Food-scaping with espaliered fruit trees for year-round production
  • Permeable gravel driveway allows for both ground water percolation and high water table evaporation
  • Zoned ‘Smart’ irrigation greatly reduces water use & irrigation pipes are PVC free
  • Liberal use of mulch to keep weeds to a minimum, naturally feeds and revitalizes the soil as it breaks down over time
  • “Warm” LED low wattage lighting uses 1/10 the energy of traditional lighting & compliant with "Dark Skies Initiative" (light pollution)
  • Use of on-site local stone for walls (minimizing materials to landfill)
  • Local vendors, contractors and craftsmen employed
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