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Sitting in these old Santa Barbara woodlands early in her career, without any preconceived ideas about how to design this garden, Isabelle watched the birds gather around a clearing and decided to set the swimming pool there. She then patterned its shape from arcs drawn around the drip lines of the surrounding oaks.


It’s 60 feet long for lap swimming, and heated and filtered, but the meticulously imagined boulder-strewn edge and dark interior ensure it is usually taken to be a natural pond.


Up the moss slope is a tea house, an intimate refuge among the old oaks, overlooking the sky-reflecting water. Small paths, some with intricately laid Japanese-style stepping stones, lead to the historic house with its English-style perennial borders and lawn, and disappear out into the woodland.


For 35 years, Isabelle has designed or acted as the lead consultant on all the new projects on this property, including the tea house and carport, in a longstanding and appreciative collaboration with the owners.


Six acres; 35-year project, ongoing

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