Huntington Japanese Zen Garden
Laura received a 1st-place award in Drafting in 1998 through the Landscape Architecture program at UCLA for her renderings of this distinctive public space.
A small budget was carefully allotted to renovate a walled courtyard in a modest California bungalow near Century City. This businessman wanted a private, soothing space to enjoy coffee and reading the paper — and a garden he wouldn’t spend precious weekends taking care of. A central fountain that could be enjoyed from several rooms of his house, reminiscent of California Mission courtyards, demonstrates how Laura’s conceptual ideas for the fluid manner in which water features are worked into the landscape. She also planted quick-climbing vines to eyebrow-level for cooling the space, and hunted down vintage California pottery to add a sense of age. The project was very successful, using succulents and scented pelargoniums that tolerate some neglect, along with some other hard-to-kill favorites.
An enthusiastic home gardener scheduled a consultation with Laura to discuss design ideas for an area that was proving particularly difficult. She designed a structure for an apple tree and powder-coated it red, giving the side of the house great character. With a few other suggestions for plants and accessories, the transformation was complete.
Ali Bali’s Cave
This couple, who are avid art collectors, hired Laura to deal with vast concrete galleries of space surrounding their contemporary home. A fabulous waterfall at the entry became an inviting plum- and lime-colored corridor, and a shaded area was planted with a tapestry of greens, burgundy, and mahogany accents. The scale was large, with sculptural plant specimens as art on walls, and oversized glazed pots spilling over with fragrant gardenias. Stage III is planned as a Mediterranean herb and lavender border studded with ever-bearing citrus trees by the pool.
Los Angeles County Arboretum — Australian Section
Working in collaboration with Judy M. Horton Garden Design, Laura developed a new concept for improvements to the Australian Section which was presented for consideration. The intent was to design and develop the space as an interactive and educational experience that would delight visitors of all ages. At the entrance, colorful life-size kangaroo sculptures in various poses greet and lead one visually into the space. A new pathway inspired by Aboriginal mythology, “The Rainbow Serpent Path,” winds through the Australian Section’s collections of wattles, eucalypts, and other flora, passing a new amphitheater, new educational kiosks, and a new water feature representing a billabong, as well as a fire circle for storytelling, rest, and craft stations located in the existing natural clearings. New mass plantings would be installed on swales and depressions, providing a hide-and-seek experience that emphasizes awareness of scale and size.