Debra Prinzing

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Shed Style Glossary: Exedra

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008


Look far in the distance. What do you see? Is there a destination at the terminus of this path?

In September 2006, after living in Southern California for only three weeks, I had the fortunate experience of joining many of my Seattle friends on a Northwest Horticultural Society tour led by Gillian Mathews. It was an introduction to the awesome plants and landscape beauty of my new environs . . . an inspiring and encouraging few days, spent in the company of kindred (Seattle) spirits who kept telling me how fortunate I was to be living here amidst “paradise.”

One of our stops was to visit Casa del Herrero, a fantastic Spanish Hacienda-style estate, built in the 1920s in nearby Montecito. After touring the magnificent home, completely restored down to the furniture and artwork, we moved on to the garden. At a particular stop on the tour the vantage point shown above appeared. The decorative stucco-and-tile wall, at least 10-feet tall and 18-feet wide, stood nestled at the base of a gently-sloping ravine. Built-in benches on each side face the center.

“Oh, look,” said one of my friends, a landscape designer. “It’s an Exedra!”

A Spanish-inspired Exedra: Standing apart from the dwelling and lying widely open

To learn more about the classic “Exedra” as a landscape design element, visit my glossary, where I’m compiling photos and definitions of unique garden architcture.