A Cottage Garden the California Way

California garden

Text by Vickie L. Ingham

Although Margaret Lloyd’s garden is in drought-stressed Santa Barbara County, California, it looks as luxuriant as an old-fashioned English cottage garden. Her secret? A lavish abundance of succulents and drought-tolerant natives as well as exotics that Margaret has combined with the eye of an artist.

outdoor fireplace
Photography by Emily Reiter and Rhianna Mercier

She began creating the garden five years ago when she and her husband downsized to a two-bedroom house in an old, established neighborhood. They built retaining walls at the back and front of the property and brought in truckloads of rich soil to level the slopes and to improve the native clay. To create more space for outdoor living, they expanded the original small backyard patio and built a large fireplace in one corner. “We entertain a lot,” says Margaret, “so we need yard space.”