Through an impressive career that has spanned over three decades and yielded more than 350 gardens around the world, Margie Grace has joined an elite echelon of garden and landscape designers whose work is celebrated both locally and internationally.
Whether designing gardens for historically significant estate properties, relaxed bungalows, or coastal family retreats, Margie takes her cues from her clients, their lifestyle, the architecture of the property, and the land itself. She has designed outdoor environments that are formal, casual, rustic, and coastal, but regardless of style, Margie creates spaces that bring people together to live in and enjoy the outdoors with nature at its finest.
Margie applies the principles of design to create a framework for her landscapes. She then sculpts the terrain to mimic nature and layers on essential elements– organic materials, stone and plantings – to create a dynamic, living ecosystem that supports the local biome and utilizes water in the most efficient and considered way. She programs the environment for the enjoyment of its inhabitants, creating moments for reflection, relaxation, and gathering with friends and family – with vistas, follies, destinations, outdoor rooms – spaces that bring people together in both planned and unexpected ways. Her creative vision extends to all facets of outdoor living, selecting plants from sources both local and exotic, as well as garden hardscape, outdoor furnishings, pots, art, objects, and accessories. Grace’s distinctive design is then meticulously executed with an emphasis on site-sensitive plantings, specialized sources, and quality construction grounded in the values of old-world craftsmanship.
Margie earned her degree in life and earth sciences from UCSC, supplemented by coursework at UCLA in Landscape Architecture. As an avid traveler, she is a perpetual student of gardens as well as natural landscapes, and has worked in far-away places such as Spain, Australia and New Zealand, learning principles and techniques that she masterfully employs in her native Southern California habitat. Her work based in Santa Barbara is influenced by her deep appreciation for California’s unique natural beauty and climate, and she is called upon as an expert for her understanding of the delicate balance of the region’s local ecosystems.
Margie’s work has been featured in top publications throughout the world including Garden Design, Traditional Home, Better Homes and Gardens, Veranda, Luxe, Sunset, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. She has been honored with numerous design awards including the prestigious International Landscape Designer of the Year award from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, which she was awarded for the second time in 2018.
Her work will be the subject of a monograph published by Gibbs Smith, to be released in early 2020.
Who We Are
Led by celebrated garden designer Margie Grace, Grace Design Associates is a collaborative landscape design studio and construction firm comprised of talented designers and craftsmen committed to creating exceptional gardens. Together, we delight in creating the very finest landscapes for our clients.
Each garden we create is individually designed and custom built. All materials – including plants, trees, stone, fountains, art, statuary, garden furniture, lighting and accessories – are hand-selected by the firm’s designers from the top growers and suppliers in the region. The result is a one-of-a-kind garden perfectly tailored to the client, the architecture, the site and the surrounding environment.
As a design-build firm, we take every project from concept through completion. Our considerable inhouse resources include a highly accomplished design team as well as a talented construction team trained to our discerning aesthetics and standards. The two teams work hand-in-glove throughout installation, fine tuning the design as it is being executed to perfectly fit the site without sacrificing schedule or budget. This unique process results in beautiful, well-built, cohesive gardens that delight and inspire.
With over 30 years of practice in Santa Barbara, our designs celebrate the beauty, diversity and subtle nuances of the California landscape. Grace Design has developed superior expertise in the design and construction of environmentally-sensitive landscapes, with particular attention paid to soil and water conservation, biodiversity and fire-smart landscaping.
Grace Design’s work has been featured in top publications throughout the world including Garden Design, Traditional Home, Better Homes and Gardens, Veranda, Luxe, Sunset, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. The firm has been honored with numerous design awards including the prestigious international Landscape Designer of the Year award from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, recognizing Margie Grace for the second time in 2018.
The firm’s work will be the subject of a monograph published by Gibbs Smith, to be released in February 2020.
Our Design/ Build Process
A great landscape is the result of great collaboration. We want to get to know you. We approach each project by listening and understanding who you are and how you want to live in your garden. With client collaboration at the forefront, our designs celebrate the unique personalities and interests of our clients with the inherent site conditions.
Our team oversees every aspect of the work, and benefits from close relationships with local nurseries and international vendors to hand pick the best plant materials, accessories, lighting and furnishings for your project. The expertise of our design team continues throughout installation for integrated, beautiful results.