It All Begins With a Plan: How SB Evolution, CJM::LA, Arcadia Studio, and Isabelle Green are shaping the Santa Barbara Landscape
It is often a meeting that starts with a homeowner looking around the yard, hands on hips, saying, “I just don’t know what to do with this place anymore. I only know I want it to look good.” That meeting is likely between a local resident and one of a few of Santa Barbara’s best landscape designers. From initial site visit and existing conditions assessment to concept to final plan, a landscape designer becomes a visionary and guide, helping property owners make sense of their space and begin to see the possibilities.
Not all clients are so helpless, however. Some are seasoned gardeners with a fervent love of plants that has led to overcrowded beds or a chaotic but beautiful mix of focal point plants. Sometimes, a vision is already in place, but it is the “how” that seems far from reach: How to create what works for this climate, how to pull it all together, how to get someone who can install it.
SB Evolution Landscape
Known primarily for landscape maintenance and construction, perhaps SB Evolution’s best kept secret is their ability to visualize and create a new landscape from scratch or from whatever pieces already work on an existing property. Homeowners in the know reach out to the company to jump start their projects, literally from the ground up. Following an initial meeting and free estimate, Jorge Cortez and his team get to work proposing ideas that are appropriate for the space, level of maintenance, and site conditions.
Most beneficial to SB Evolution’s design prowess is the company’s experience on the construction end of landscape development. This knowledge allows the team to approach landscape design from a holistic standpoint that is mindful of budget, feasibility, and timeline. And being the ones who can install the project makes SB Evolution an enduring partner throughout the process.
The company’s clients could not agree more. One rave review about how an eyesore of a side yard littered with tree stumps was transformed into a “little gem” of a garden is just an example of how pleased their homeowners are with SB Evolution’s creations. Big or small, the company can create an outdoor living environment to match the homeowner’s vision, from desert gardens to dry river beds and everything in between.
Celebrated for their impressive professionalism, expertise, and skill, the award-winning Arcadia Studio is a local landscape architecture firm with a history of exceptional design and detail in landscape design. Focused largely on the design side, Arcadia is built on a team of landscape architecture professionals that work with a level of sophistication that never wavers, no matter how complex or simple the project. They are contemporary designers first, but their knowledge of historic landscapes shines through, particularly in the gardens and estates that revive a site’s past with Spanish colonial style or Mediterranean landscapes.
What the firm lacks in construction services, it makes up for as a project manager throughout the project process. A trusted partner throughout the approvals process, Arcadia Studio keeps project timelines on track.
Inspired by the works of her grandfather, a famed turn of the century architect, Isabelle Greene has combined her passion for art, history, and the environment into a labor of love that is her landscape architecture firm, IGA. An explorer by nature, Isabelle brings the beauty she witnesses in her travels back home to Santa Barbara by incorporating elements of untouched lands into her clients’ designs.
While her designs can feel wild in texture and movement, they are conversely tidy in size and function. From steps that easily negotiate the craggy hillside of a mountainous site to neatly appointed sitting areas tucked into the shade of a desert homestead, her work seeks practical solutions that meld easily into their natural settings.
Led by Courtney Jane Miller, the firm’s designs exhibit a creativity and attention to detail that make its projects uniquely successful. The firm is most often engaged to overhaul residential properties, its work finding its way into varying reaches of design, from historic renovation to contemporary and minimalist new builds.
Made up of a staff which includes three licensed landscape architects, the firm handles projects of all sizes. Small, intimate gardens are detailed with the utmost care for plant species, hardscape materials, and efficient use of space. On the other side of the coin, larger projects such as national hospitality facilities bear an opportunity for the firm to demonstrate its prowess in contemporary, urban design.
Whether your style is traditional or modern, your property large or small, there is a good chance you can find a landscape architect or designer to take on the challenge. Santa Barbara’s landscape designers are visionaries, able to recreate a property in the image of its storied historic past, or in a new light as a sleek, contemporary setting that draws attention to the building or residence within.