For the last 20 years VAI Van Atta Associates, Inc. has been the landscape architect for The Santa Barbara County Bowl. Taking advantage of the natural settings of the site and the sense of tranquility and shelter, VAI highlighted the native plantings to emphasize the beauty of the canyon and create a dramatic and magical journey to the concert amphitheater.
At this educational center—designed to teach residents how to protect and enhance the region’s water quality—we created landscaping that reflects the course of the regional watershed. Each tier of the garden slope, experienced along a universal access ramp, features plant communities found from the top of the watershed down to the Pacific coastline: oak woodland, riparian woodland, coastal sage scrub, coastal bluff scrub, and wetland seep.
The plants are seen and interpreted as they grow together in nature. thus encouraging gardeners to better appreciate California native plants and their role in the watershed
Richard and Thekla Sanford, the winery’s founders, were our first clients. Our partnership with them inspired everyone involved to higher levels of environmental sensitivity and beauty. The Sanfords’ deep connections to the land shaped our approach to the design.
Whether deciding on the exact placement of a Sycamore tree, to placing native shrubs to look as though they sprang up on their own, this collaboration produced a landscape that looks as if it had been designed by nature. The Sanfords now produce organically grown and produced wines under the Alma Rosa label.
Originally completed in 1927, the Four Seasons Biltmore allows visitors to experience a quintessential Santa Barbara Estate.
Over a period of several years, we worked closely with the new owner to update and enliven its entire 26-acre grounds, installing swaths of boldly textured subtropical plantings that achieve year-round interest with flowers and colorful variegated foliage.
Small private gardens were created for each of the ground level rooms, and outdoor fireplaces, spas, and soothing fountains were designed for the bungalow and cottages. Throughout the property, pathways were replaced with graciously curving brick pathways based on historical patterns. Everything was done with attention to preserve the historic character of this beautiful landmark.
Named after the founder of California’s mission chain, Padre Serra Parish Church takes its inspiration from the California mission period and Catholic symbolism.
This spiritual landscape is composed of an elegantly simple courtyard garden of decomposed granite and early California trees around a central fountain. Plants with religious significance figure prominently including figs, olive trees, passionflower, as well as pomegranates because they are traditionally embroidered on a Cardinal’s robe.
A worship garden (inspired by an interior courtyard at the Santa Barbara Mission), a future Stations of the Cross journey, and a succulent garden around the Franciscan Cross (chosen to reinforce the visual power of the cross with enormous century plants and Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia) flowing from its base), complete this spiritual landscape.
The rose garden was never completed by Madam Ganna Walska, the original owner and creator of these historic gardens. Van Atta Associates designed the rose garden in the spirit of Madam Ganna Walska. Bold use of color and texture in the plantings are featured. Paving and hedge materials were selected to bring this part of the garden into harmony with the overall.