garden paths, montecito meadow, crushed limestone path, custom built pond with fountain from Eye of Day GDC, drought tolerant meadow,

Garden Paths-The Secret To The Perfect Garden

Gravel Garden Paths

Garden paths are the key to the perfect garden. Gardens are meant to be experienced, enjoyed, lived-in. Sure, they are beautiful to look at, but nothing compares to strolling through your garden picking flowers, inhaling the spicy aroma of Bay Laurel or Lavender, harvesting fruit from your backyard orchard or sitting in a cozy nook reading a book or just getting away from the hectic demands of a busy life. Whether you want a passage to a secret garden or a walkway wide enough to accommodate a wheelbarrow, pathways are a practical and affordable addition to any landscape. As you will see, materials used to construct patios or paths are as varied as the costs. A simple mulch path to a Flagstone patio and everything in between the choices and combination are endless.

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stacked stone wall surrounds a drought tolerant garden filled with blooming perennials Mexican sage, Santa Barbara daisy, Iceberg roses, bay, jacaranda

Garden Transformation-Walled Garden

Garden transformations come in all shapes and sizes. This one may be small in scale, but huge in change and beauty. The challenge was to transform this typical front yard into an oasis reminiscent of the English country side. And because we are in Santa Barbara it also needed to be drought tolerant. See how we accomplished total garden transformation.

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Santa Barbara Fiesta Parade

Garden Party Santa Barbara Style-Viva La Fiesta!

Garden Party Santa Barbara Style!

With Old Spanish Days right around the corner, Fiesta parties aren’t far behind. A Santa Barbara tradition for 92 years, Fiesta is a city-wide party where locals and visitors alike take to the streets, watch the parades and best of all, there are lots of Fiesta parties. As any seasoned Santa Barbara Local will tell you, Fiesta season is Garden Party Season. Don’t have a perfect garden? These 6 simple steps will get your garden ready to party in Santa Barbara Style-Viva La Fiesta!

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Meandering pathways made for easy access to all areas including across the creek, where we made various sitting areas and created a “walk through the woods”. We left the meadow to nature, changing as it does with the seasons, from lush green of winter and spring to the golden of summer.

Garden Transformations-The Earth is Our Canvas

We specialize in garden transformations.  My husband, Chris Cullen, is a pretty creative guy and I suppose I am too. We use the earth as our canvas to create living works of art. I thought it would be fun to add Chris’ voice to the blog and give his view on what we actually do as designers and landscapers. We transform “yards” into gardens and if you want to know how we do this, read on.

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Historic Montecito cottage landscape design with gravel patio, french stone fountain, Mayten and Japanese privet trees, bearded iris, camelia sasanqua, azalea

Landscape Design Idea-Cottage Garden

This property started out as a blank slate consisting of lawn and plants that had been clipped into unnatural shapes. Nothing had been done to the landscape for at least 30 years.

The new landscape was designed to be unique to the location and the client. I wish I had before photos of the front, but here is one of the back. See if you can tell if it is the same place.

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tuscan drought tolerant formal garden with fountain, gravel, lavender, Mexican sage, Cleveland sage, Tuscan blue rosemay

Formal Tuscan Garden with a Twist

This Tuscan garden in Montecito needed a make-over. Since the drought most people have allowed their lawns to die and this property was no different. But, we love a challenge and this project was a perfect place to flex our creative muscle. The Tuscan/Mediterranean-style house and central fountain set a formal tone so that is the direction we decided to go. But what defines a formal garden? Does it have to be all boxwood hedges and topiary? We don’t think so. When you see the before and after photos you’ll see what I mean.

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Sunset Western Garden Book, First Edition, Gardening Essentials, montecito landscape, montecito, organic gardening, landscape design ideas, garden reference, santa barbara

Essential Gardening Books

Which are your essential gardening books? We all need good garden reference books, no matter our experience as gardeners and if you are like me you have lots of them; for reference, landscape design ideas or when searching for solutions to specific problems. However, if you are moving to a remote location, desert island or planning a lunar colony, or if you just want to become a better gardener, there are two essential gardening books everyone should have. I couldn’t live without these two. Let me know if you agree. 

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Rose pruning, Dan Bifano, Montecito, Santa Barbara

Rose Pruning Tips From Oprah’s Garden

Oprah’s Rose Garden is legendary. When she moved to Montecito a few years back, she elicited the help of Dan Bifano, one of the worlds most sought after master rosarians. To give a clue as to the volume of his talent and skill, he not only designed and installed the rose garden for Oprah Winfrey but for Barbara Streisand as well. Dan was also involved in the creation and selection of the namesake roses for Oprah (The Legends rose) and Ms. Streisand (Barbara Streisand Rose). Not long ago, I spent some time chatting with Dan about rose-pruning, here are his top 4 pruning tips.

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Chris and Lisa Cullen, Landscape management, Montecito, Business management, Santa Barbara landscaping, Montecito landscaping, landscape contractors, landscape design ideas, mexican sage, california live oak, salvia, drought tolerant gardens, low water, montecito

Montecito Landscape Gets National Attention

Montecito Landscape Gets National Attention

Montecito Landscape was featured in Landscape Management Magazine November issue and it was a bit of a surprise. When I was contacted by the magazine, they asked if I’d mind being interviewed for a feature. Of course I said “yes” but didn’t know what to expect. Were others really interested in the landscape management practices of our small company?

The editor of Landscape Management became interested because of my answers to a survey they sent out some months ago. I had no idea that my answers were anything special. I guess I was wrong about that. He was particularly interested in my series of checklists and forms I developed for the day to day running of the business. I love it when the unexpected happens! See what you think.

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