SOUTH BAY DIGS | Digital Edition Online

May 1, 2020

DIGS is the premiere luxury real estate lifestyle magazine serving the most affluent neighborhoods in the South Bay and Westside of Los Angeles, California.

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P R O F I L E | G R A C E D E S I G N A S S O C I AT E S A R C H I T E C T U R E + D E S I G N WITH NATIVE PLANTINGS AND ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS, LANDSCAPE DESIGNER MARGIE GRACE CULTIVATES IMAGINATIVE OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENTS THAT ARE BOTH ORIGINAL AND CHARACTERISTIC OF THEIR SURROUNDS. W R I T T E N B Y J E N N T H O R N T O N Landscape designer and author of a lush new tome, Margie Grace cultivates exquisite gardens with singular flora and flourish. A Force of Nature PHOTOS: GRACE DESIGN ASSOCIATES AND HOLLY LEPERE JOHNSON (HOME). "Dirt is my thing. It really is," says Margie Grace, founder of Grace Design Associates, a leading landscape design/build studio in Santa Barbara. Such is the nature of an outdoor girl. One of five children born to young parents in rapid-fire succession, Grace was raised to dig in and make do. "We were broke," she adds, with a large, expressive laugh. "I had no idea we were broke. Everyone just worked—gardening, sewing clothes, refurbishing old things. I learned to build by just tagging along. It's how I learned to do all the things I do." Much can come from rich soil, and in Grace's case this means hundreds of rapturous outdoor environments, many created with the sensibility of her native Southern California. These designs are a kaleidoscope of her expertise, which includes studies in life and earth sciences as well as coursework in landscape architecture at UCLA. Forging a more unorthodox path than some in her trade is only to her benefit. "I came in through a different door, and I carry a different set of tools," she says. "I earned a seat at the table just with my body of work." And what work, including projects at the iconic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, Patina Farm in Ojai and a Montecito garden restoration project that earned a Best in Outdoor Living award from venerated magazine Veranda. Uncontrived, lush with exotica and featuring ponds and porticos, stonework and sculpture, "garden" actually seems too provincial a term for the hybrids of function and fantasy that Grace creates. Hers is a fine eye and remarkable hand. "As a licensed landscape

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