Debra Prinzing

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Eight Days: From Santa Barbara to San Diego . . . and points in between

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately. I traveled to Southern California all of last week  – from Saturday, April 13th through Saturday, April 20th.  I experienced many great highlights; too many to mention. Here are some of them:

Miles of mums at Ocean Breeze

Tours focused on the entire process – from planting and growing to harvesting and grading. Mums, also known as pom poms, are one of the last commercially grown flowers still grown in soil.

My name badge

Fun to wear the VIP badge!

Chalkboard welcome

Chalkboard welcome at Padaro Floral in Carpinteria, California

DAY One: Carpinteria Greenhouse & Nursery Tour, sponsored by the California Cut Flower Commission. I was hosted by Harry and Michele Van Wingerden, the great folks at Myriad Roses and Padaro Floral Design for a day of book-signings and eco-floral demonstrations. A special thanks to the Van Wingerden family, CCFC CEO/Ambassador Kasey Cronquist and Event Planner Anna Kalins for making it a successful and enjoyable day!

botanik owner Erin Taylor

Erin Taylor, designer of flowers, interiors, landscapes and more~ The talented owner of botanik in Summerland, California hosted my lovely book event.

DAY Two: Book signing and flower demos at botanik in Summerland. Loved spending time with very talented owner Erin Taylor and her team. After several hours at botanik, I met up with Cristi Walden and we headed to Sea Crest Nursery, her father Jack Stevenson’s palm and cycad collection. It was so exciting to return to this beautiful place and hear how my talented friend is learning the business of growing and selling amazing landscaping plants (oh, and propagating, too!).


Contemporary trellises for your upwardly-mobile plants

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

 Note: a version of this story appeared in the print edition of last Saturday’s LA Times HOME section and in today’s LA Times @ Home blog.

Jennifer Gilbert Asher and Karen Neill of TerraTrellis

This is their beautiful "Gracie" arbor, inspired by the shape of nursery hoop houses

Instead of a spindly, mass-produced support for your rose or bougainvillea, why not give that over-achiever a sturdy structure on which to climb? And why not train those vines and tendrils on a framework that’s both artful and functional?

Los Angeles landscape designer and artist Jennifer Gilbert Asher has reinterpreted classic garden ornamentation into modern, colorful – and durable forms.  Her TerraTrellis collection of steel tuteurs, arbors and wall trellises offers a stylish alternative to the type of generic (and often impermanent) metal and wood pieces you might find online or at big-box stores.

The pod-like 'Toki,' which Jennifer says was inspired by a Faberge egg!

“Playful architectural forms and compelling colors in the garden are what’s behind this collection,” says Asher, who also creates more expensive works of modern outdoor sculpture through TerraSculpture, a studio co-owned by Karen Neill. Pieces in the TerraTrellis collection range from $279 to $579.

Like the studio’s larger sculpture pieces, TerraTrellis’s pieces are fabricated by Mario Lopez, who runs a metal studio in south Los Angeles. The steel pieces are hand-welded and use stainless-steel hardware and cables. They are oxide-finished or cloaked in a joyous array of powder-coated colors like kumquat, berry and leaf.

Familiar forms from public gardens and even the agricultural landscape inspire the designs.

Here's the lovely color palette ranging from oxidized steel to powder-coat finishes

For example, the lines of TerraTrellis’s “Gracie Modern Arbor,” which looks like a 76-inch diameter double-circle emerging from a pathway, echo the shape of hoop houses that dot Southern California’s plant nurseries. The 58-inch high “Lazio Vase Trellis” is a scaled-down homage to the giant rebar artifices that contain riotous bougainvillea at the Getty Center’s Central Garden.

“These pieces are designed not only to support a plant, but to integrate with it,” Asher says. “This union ultimately forms a work of freestanding, living art in the landscape. We want people to tap into their inner landscape designer and have fun exploring interesting combinations of plant with trellis.”

Pot-ted ( in L.A.’s Los Feliz neighborhood will carry the TerraTrellis collection. You can also order the pieces online at

Here are some other designs in the collection – perfect for your stylish potager or rose border!

Lazio, trellis inspired by the majestic rebar structures that hold bougainvillea vines at The Getty Center

Ina, like a picture frame, for your wall or fence.

Akoris, a leaf green French-style tuteur, with a sculpted wire orb on top.

Detail, showing stainless steel cabling.

How about a pair of vertical trellises for your fence?

This one stands freely, like an artist's easel

Is pink this year's unexpected surprise color for the garden?

More spheres in my garden

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Tempest holds a stainless-steel Mesh orb in its arms. The piece measures 70 inches tall.

As a follow-up to my last post about round objects in the landscape, I thought I’d show off a few more of my spherical works of art, from my backyard. You can see how appealing it is to start with a shape and then repeat it often. Some of the orbs in my garden are more obvious than others. One of the round forms is quite subtle. It is part of a sculpture called “Tempest” by my friend Jennifer Asher and her collaborator-fabricator Mario Lopez.

Jennifer owns TerraSculpture with Karen Neill Tarnowski  and the two women never cease to amaze me at their innovation and talent. These pieces fill a void in the outdoor sculpture world – bringing contemporary sculpture to the residential setting at far below the huge price tags you usually see.

Tempest, closer up

TerraSculpture originally created Tempest in a powder-coated bright orange finish. My husband Bruce was interested in the piece but suggested that we have Jennifer and Mario make the base in weathered steel, which somehow fits our style better.

I love the shape of the base – three “arms” join together and then gradually open to cradle a stainless steel mesh ball. The weathered steel (some might call it “rust”) echoes the dark burgundy-rust blades of my garden’s New Zealand flax and Cordyline plants. There’s something really wonderful about the piece’s see-through quality, too. Upon seeing “Tempest” standing in our garden, visitors are likely to utter a gasp of delight, followed by the immediate question: Where did you find that awesome piece?

My weathered steel orb - a pretty object in the garden.

More steel – also rusted – appears in the 24-inch orb I purchased from my friends Annette Gutierrez and Mary Gray of Pot-ted in Los Angeles. I’ve shown earlier pics of their tangerine and aqua-finished objects.

For me, the weathered steel works well with everything else in my garden. See how pretty this piece looks on the “California Gold” crushed gravel? On the other hand, if Annette and Mary ever decide to make their metal orb series in lime green, I will be the first in line to snag a small-medium-large trio!

The perennial bed is dotted with orbs, from Bauer Pottery

And what about those awesome Bauer balls? I think I have six of them (it’s an ever-changing number). Here are two of them, looking nice and settled-in at the base of a New Zealand flax. These Bauer glazes are called Lime Green (15 inch size) and French Blue (8-inch size).

The glossy finish and classic round forms add up to nothing short of stunning, especially when surrounded by foliage, flowers and ornamental grass plumes.

Colorful glass floats add a lot of character to this fountain.

I have a thing for floating glass balls, too. Here is a little cluster of them, floating in the fountain on our entry porch. There are several glass artists who make these decorative balls. You can usually find the artists and their wares at major flower shows.

One of my favorite sources is Glass Gardens NW. Owner-artist Barbara Sanderson makes a rainbow of glass floats and orbs, as well as larger sculpture pieces for the garden. Check her out!

Finally, the garden has curves of a more organic nature – and that is in the outline of two crescent-shaped perennial beds. With so much linear geometry in my backyard (the horizontal lines of the house, patio, pergola, wall and pathways) it’s nice to visually break up these forms with sinuous curves.

Preview: CA|Boom Design Show 2009

Friday, June 19th, 2009

UPDATE: All four sets of FREE tickets have been claimed, compliments of Charles Trotter, show producer.

caboom001The 6th annual CA Boom Show takes place Friday, June 26th through Sunday, June 28th  in the former Robinsons flagship department store on the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards in Beverly Hills.

I originally learned of CA|Boom when I was still living in Seattle. My friend Ryan Grey Smith, creator of Modern Shed, exhibited at the first CA|Boom Show. He had a great response — from the public and the press – to his simply designed, prefabricated sheds. Little did I know then that I would move to LA in 2006! I attended CA|Boom in 2007 to find an exciting, inspiring and comprehensive introduction to contemporary design from A to Z.

A favorite place for incubating companies and products making their debuts, the show draws both the design trade and design savvy consumer. CA|Boom has grown exponentially in its complexity and hipness, combining everything relating to modern design under one roof. This season’s lineup features domestic and international designers, furniture and home manufacturers and architects.

You can also sign up for shuttle tours to never-before-seen LA architecture, including the Sunset Plaza residence designed by Assembledge+, an LA-based architecture, development and sustainability design firm. (PS, I toured it today and – WOW – what an amazing project. Read on for details . . . ). You can also visit Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House #22, aka The Stahl House, as part of special shuttle tours on Friday and Saturday.

One of the 5 homes on the June 27-28 CA Boom Show's LA architecture tour, designed by Assembledge

One of the 5 homes on the June 27-28 CA Boom Show's LA architecture tour, designed by Assembledge

Today, the press was invited to tour the Sunset Plaza house and meet its designers, Kevin Southerland and David Thompson of Assembledge+. I headed to LA with my friend Jennifer Gilbert Asher, garden designer, artist, and co-creator of TerraSculpture (check her out in the July issue of Garden Design!).

We walked into the house and were assaulted – in a good way – with the breathtaking view of a gorgeous infinity pool that drew our eyes to the LA skyline. We met owner Brad Blumenthal, who graciously opened his home for CA|Boom tours.

I said, “oh, I understand you worked with the design firm Assembledge (which I pronounced with my 11th grade French accent as “aah-sim-BLAAGE”).

Jennifer Gilbert Asher and me in Brad Blumenthal's "Hideaway Lounge"

Jennifer Gilbert Asher and me in Brad Blumenthal's "Hideaway Lounge"

Obviously, that was too funny to Brad, who just started laughing and speaking to me in French.

Duh. I guess the firm’s name is pronounced “a-SEMM-blidj,” with hard vowels, Americanized. 

That was the funniest moment of the day, but it kind of endeared us to Brad (I hope) and to his awesome architects, Kevin and David. The three of them actually gave Jennifer and me a personal, guided tour of the home – upstairs and down.

Owner and actor Brad Blumenthal (center), with his architects Kevin Southerland and David Thompson

Owner and actor Brad Blumenthal (center), with his architects Kevin Southerland and David Thompson

Theirs is an unparalleled design project that defines modern architecture for the 21st century. I’m still marveling at the sleek lines and forms that incorporate rich, organic materials. In true California Living style, the outdoors is invited into every room. The dramatic, 180-degree view is a sight to behold.

We were drawn to the terrace, where the interior terrazzo continues to the pool’s edge, completely extending the notion of “room” to an open-air setting. When viewed at a certain angle, the two lounge chairs, aka “Wave Chaises,” in cast fiberglass (from Float, a Philadelphia design studio), look as if they’re floating on the water’s surface.

charlestrotterI sat down with Charles Trotter (right), founder and producer of CA|Boom, and asked him how things were shaping up for next weekend’s show:

Q. Tell me about this year’s new venue, in the vintage Beverly Hills building that once housed Robinson’s flagship department store:

A. We had an opportunity to reintroduce a building of that style and design from the 1950s. We will feature beautiful Julius Schulman photographs of the building, lent by the Getty. People may forget how stylish the design of this building was in the context of its 1950s architecture.

Q. How big is the show space?

A. It’s abound 30,000-square-feet, which is the same as the Barker Hanger (CA|Boom’s former home at the Santa Monica Airport). But there is more exterior space.

Q. CA|Boom is more than a trade show. It seems like a “happening.” How do you make that work?

A. Many of our exhibitors use the show to debut products. We’ve definitely reinvented the idea of a “trade show.” We’re attracting a new generation of audiences and it’s giving exhibitors an opportunity to influence a design-savvy end user.

Q. You also draw professionals, right?

A. The architects feel this is their show.

Q. Charles, you know I am particularly interested and excited in outdoor living design. What new and innovative design can you tell me about? 

The warm, inviting interior of an IC Green Container House

The warm, inviting interior of an IC Green Container House

A. I.C. Green’s Container Houses are a new pre-fabricated project. Of all the modernist pre-fab we’ve seen, this is hitting the right price point. They will be debuting a 600-square-foot studio, like a  “Granny Flat,” using portions of a shipping container. It’s the most sophisticated durable good that’s been made. You can even put multiple ones together. This has a lot of promise

[Note: This is a description from CA|Boom’s web site: I.C. Green’s Container Houses follow the “principles of modularity with a high degree of flexibility within the system.” The used shipping containers reappropriated as homes provide a frame that is structurally strong, facile to transport and a rectangularity that suits the modern aesthetic of an “open plan” home. Off-site prefabrication/adaptive reuse greatly reduces construction costs and time. Material finishes and energy systems can be used to create additional clean energy performance of the Container Home.]

Architect Kevin Southerland, Assembledge, enjoying his Coolhaus ice cream sandwich

Architect Kevin Southerland, Assembledge, enjoying his Coolhaus ice cream sandwich

We ended our tour and interview with an afternoon snack, a hip Coolhaus ice cream sandwich!

Coolhaus is a modern take on the traditional ice cream truck that is all the Twitter-rage around LA. Oh, P.S., Coolhaus will be selling these mouthwatering archi-treats at CA|Boom next weekend.

High concept ice cream sandwiches are named for modern design icons: Frank Behry, Mintimalism, Oatmeal Cinnamoneo (Jen had this one, but it was melting fast in today’s 80-plus temps), Mies Vanilla Rhoe and IM Peinut Butter (my choice).

Yummy. Sweet.

And stylish!

Los Angeles Garden Show Highlights

Friday, May 1st, 2009
Garden celebrity Shirley Bovshow and I posed on a bench in Nick Williams's garden

Garden celebrity Shirley Bovshow and I posed on a bench in Nick Williams's garden

The theme of this year’s LA Garden Show, “A Festival of Flavors,” is timely and delectable. The show is produced by the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Arcadia (just east of Pasadena), a 127-acre destination with a diverse plant collection, inspiring display gardens and natural habitat-inspired landscapes. The three-day flower show runs through Sunday, May 3rd. The event’s honorary chairs are Clara and Jacob Maarse of the famous Pasadena rose nursery and florist, and Rosalind Creasy, garden writer and pioneer in edible landscaping.

Edible gardening expert Rosalind Creasy

Edible gardening expert Rosalind Creasy

Most of the flower shows I’ve participated in have been indoor shows, so when I arrived last night to attend the preview gala, I was reminded of how alluring an open-air flower show can be. There’s nothing like the sky overhead, the sounds of screeching peacocks that wander the Arboretum grounds, the fragrances and textures of plants from every continent — and the conviviality of friendships — to put me in a perfect festive mood.

Upon entering the Arboretum, we first stopped off at the “marketplace” of plant vendors, garden artists and purveyors of cool stuff, which occupies the lower lawn adjacent to Baldwin Lake. The collection of white tents, topped with jaunty flags, put a smile on my face. I felt as if I was in Europe rather than Los Angeles. The two hours allotted to previewing the sales area was barely enough – but no worry, because I’ll be back there on Sunday to do some more damage to the checkbook (That’s after my 11 a.m. “Garden Chat” ).

Plant vendors, garden artists and more

Plant vendors, garden artists and more

As I strolled along the grassy pathways between each tent, poked my head inside several to check out the offerings, and chatted with fellow party-goers, I said to myself: These are my people!

I was surrounded by kindred spirits who love gardens, plants, ornamentation, vintage finds, and more.

Vintage gals, Libby and Nancie

Vintage gals, Libby and Nancie

A couple of highlights included visiting with Libby Simon of Libby’s Vintage Home & Garden and her friend Nancie Piser, fellow collectors of salvage, old linens, elderly gardening books, retro dishes and glassware, anything tin, rusted or galvanized, and more!

Oh, and Libby also specializes in unusual cactuses – I came home with a nifty specimen (Euphorbia handiensis) that I quickly re-potted in a turquoise-glazed pot for my garden.

My friend Paula Panich and I had a few acquisitive moments, inspired by all the unique finds these two women featured in their tent. I came home with an old garden spray-nozzle and some awesome vintage books, including an almost-mint 1932 edition of The Fragrant Path: A book about sweet scented flowers and leaves, By Louise Beebe Wilder (perfect for a friend’s upcoming birthday). Here’s what Miss Beebe Wilder writes in her opening lines:

A garden full of sweet odours is a garden full of charm, a most precious kind of charm not to be implanted by mere skill in horticulture or power of purse, and which is beyond explaining. It is born of sensitive and very personal preferences yet its appeal is almost universal.

Here is a map of The Arboretum and the Garden Show features:


Leslie Codina's art: A joyful explosion of color and form

Leslie Codina's art: A joyful explosion of color and form

Playful, fanciful, nature-inspired sculpture

Playful, fanciful, nature-inspired sculpture

Inspired, my eyes drifted over to the next tent over, which was filled with lively ceramic spires pleasing to the visual senses. Leslie Codina, a local Los Angeles area artist, creates whimsical stacked towers of color, pattern and form. The 5- to 7-foot-tall sculptural creations are formed first in Leslie’s imagination as she “interprets the shapes and colors of nature into her garden sculpture.”

Leslie renders individual elements in clay, then shapes, curves, twists, carves and rolls the medium into fantastical armitures, balls, finials and wing-like shapes.

Firing and glazing steps follow, featuring a mix-and-match palette of lime, plum, apricot, red, orange, blue, aqua and lavender.

Artist and sculptor Leslie Codina, with peacock strolling by

Artist and sculptor Leslie Codina, with peacock strolling by

I first learned of Leslie from photographer pal Gene Sasse, who has done much of the photography that appears on her web site. He urged me to seek Leslie out – and boy am I glad I finally did.

Leslie has just donated a grouping of four 8- to 12-foot tall sculptures as a permanent installation at the Arboretum. The collection appears in the “Garden for All Seasons” display, which represents each phase of the year.

After shopping and browsing, several of us moved to the “Designer Lawn” area of the Arboretum, where the cocktail reception was underway.

The displays, created by talented area landscape firms and individuals, brings together the idea of “edible” and “ornamental” worlds co-existing in the garden. Here are a few of the innovative ideas showcased:

“Punctuation in the Garden: A Gallery of Edible Container Gardens,” created by the local members of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD):

I’ve admired and been privileged to write about the design work of several APLD members, both in the Washington State chapter and now in the California chapter. The group of a dozen folks who created eye-catching edible focal points has come up with some pretty fun interpretations of an “edible container.”


Peace by Design: My TV show

Friday, March 27th, 2009
Filming the pilot episode of "Peace by Design"

Filming the pilot episode of "Peace by Design"

My friends know I am a PRINT person – I love magazines, newspapers and books. I’m kind of okay with the Internet, because blog posts and web sites still involve using letters to compose words and words to create sentences . . . all of which are ultimately read as the printed word.

So this week has been one of those out-of-the-comfort-zone experiences as I “played” at being a television host. Robert Schauf, my amazing and intuitive producer, keeps telling me that talking to the camera is just like talking to a friend (a conversation!). . . and I’m starting to believe him. I just have to imagine all my friends hiding behind the HUGE black lens held by the cute camera guy, John. And then, just talk. Naturally.

Okay, I need to back up. I met Robert Schauf in 2006. It was one of those Kismet moments. It will sound so cliche, but we met on an airplane flying on business class from Burbank to Newark (a Jet Blue flight). I’m pretty unfamiliar with business class, but somehow I was bumped up to that rarefied section because it was the last seat on an overbooked flight. I was on my way to speak to a garden club in New Jersey and absolutely had to make that flight or I would miss the lecture entirely.

Robert, who hops comfortably back and forth between NYC and LA, was returning from a business trip. How do I describe him? He’s tall and slender, he wears the kind of clothing that my teenage son might wear (hip jeans, long-sleeved t-shirts, lace-up Keds) and his shocking white-platinum hair kind of sticks out all over his head. Robert has that Rocker-dude look and frankly I didn’t know what to think of him at first. But we talked nonstop for something like 5-1/2 hours. I was so fascinated with his stories of producing television specials and working on the Grammys. I told him about my new project – about garden sheds! – and described my plans to scout sheds in the Hamptons and NYC after I finished my New Jersey lecture. We exchanged business cards and subsequently swapped a few emails. That was it.


An award-winning Los Angeles garden inspired by Morocco and India

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Sparkling and serene, this is a tiny garden that oozes romance and mystique (design and photo, Laura Morton)

I believe that the paths we walk lead us to the people we need to know in our lives.

Case in point: A week or so after I insisted that my friend Shirley Bovshow, an LA garden media personality and talented designer, bunk with me for 2 nights at the Portland Garden Writers Association annual symposium, she invited me to join an Association of Professional Landscape Designers’ lunch meeting at her home in Woodland Hills. Since Shirley and I live relatively close to one another (by LA standards), I took her up on the invite. The other guests were fellow members with Shirley in APLD’s LA chapter. Plus, Shirley’s garden is a wonderland of plants and design ideas.

The Association of Professional Landscape Designers is an impressive organization. I have met, interviewed and written about APLD members (and their work) in many venues, including Seattle, Los Angeles and beyond.

The September gathering introduced me to several Southern California garden creators, including Shirley (Edenmaker), Jennifer Gilbert Asher of TerraSculpture (I’ve recently written about her work), and Laura Morton of Laura Morton Garden Design.

When Laura casually mentioned to me that one of her projects won the 2008 APLD “Gold Award” for residential landscape design, I went a little crazy. “Has it been published?” I quizzed her. “No,” she admitted.

No sooner than I heard this – and no sooner had Laura sent me several photographs and a little movie about her design for Mala Vasan’s Hollywood Hills backyard, than I was on the phone to LA Times HOME section editor Craig Nakano. As I suspected, he was very interested in seeing what Laura had to share.

Open air living: Designer Laura Morton changed a plain backyard at Mala Vasan’s home into an Indian-tinged outdoor living room with a reflecting pool, fire pit and garden (Laura Morton photograph)

The story about Mala’s garden, inspired by her own multicultural interests and designed by Laura Morton, appears in today’s LA Times Homes section. Here are the opening lines:

HER PASSAGE TO INDIA: A Hollywood Hills bungalow’s small backyard is transformed into an exotic, cozy retreat and social spot.

If you’re looking for a good excuse to invest in landscaping, Mala Vasan’s is hard to beat. She credits her dreamy mix of Indian and Moroccan inspiration for seducing her sweetheart.

“My garden brings out an inner magic,” says Vasan, a producer of TV commercials who was going out to eat with screenwriter Brian P. Regan when he saw the enchanting outdoor space and said, “Forget it. Let’s stay here and order Chinese food.”

With scented blossoms, dancing flames, the sound of spilling water and chaises large enough for two, the intimate setting is, indeed, full of romance. (“Our first dates were on those couches,” Vasan says.) The garden also is an artful antithesis of what it used to be: a driveway too small for a car and a 560-square-foot backyard dominated by a wobbly brick patio and views of a boxy air-conditioner hanging from the neighbor’s garage.

The transformation of this Hollywood Hills property earned its creator, Laura Morton of Laura Morton Design in West Hollywood, a gold medal last year from the Assn. of Professional Landscape Designers. For Vasan, the thoughtful design was proof that tiny details and a vivid imagination could turn a prosaic space into a pretty and practical retreat.

The Times’ online photo gallery features several before-and-after shots, including a darling photo of designer Laura Morton and client Mala Vasan, seated in the garden. You can see the gallery here.

Here are a few more photographs, courtesy of Laura Morton. Visit her web site to see many more of her projects – inspiring and alluring spaces that will get you thinking about turning your own backyard into an exotic oasis with plants, cushy textiles, the presence of water, candles to illuminate and other sensory pleasures.

A curtain of water spills over the reflecting pool’s tiled edge into a hidden channel behind the fire pit (Laura Morton photograph)

Romantic chaises, piled with textiles and cushions, create a luxurious outdoor living room (Laura Morton photograph)

In my interview with Laura, she described how a feeling of intimacy can be created in a garden:

“Enclosed spaces instill a sense of intimacy, and within that, your own sense of paradise is possible.”

Art in the garden

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Here’s my January 2009 “In the Garden” column for 805 Living magazine, featuring artist and designer Jennifer Gilbert Asher and her beautiful sculpture.


GARDENS AS GALLERIES: Choose and place ornamentation with a thoughtful eye toward your garden’s overall design.

Why do artful objects – such as sculpture, salvaged architectural fragments or even a birdbath – make such an impression in the garden?

Like adding jewelry to a little black dress, or a few bright pillows to a tired sofa, artwork, sculpture and ornamentation can take any garden from ordinary to extraordinary. Well-placed art adds to, rather than detracts from, the overall composition. In the winter, when the garden is quieter, artwork often takes center stage.

“Even though sculpture is a four-season element in the landscape, it becomes the star of the show when everything else is going dormant,” says Jennifer Gilbert Asher, principal of Woodland Hills-based Chilmark Gardens. [see Jennifer, right, with “Curvas,” placed in her own garden.]

Precious objects, displayed side-by-side with foliage and flower – or partially hidden among the stems and branches of a favorite plant – give a garden its personality. They also communicate volumes about its owner’s taste and style.

“I place sculpture not just to complement the garden, but to transform it,” Asher says. “A captivating sculpture can spike curiosity and provoke thought. It can be playful or energetic; meditative or even sensual.”

Asher was inspired to design a collection of bold, modern pieces after she had trouble finding affordable artwork for her client’s landscapes. “I was shocked at the lack of accessible fine art for the garden. I heard the same thing from other designers, all over the country. You shouldn’t have to be a millionaire to transform your landscape into an outdoor art gallery,” she says.

She teamed up with Los Angeles entrepreneur Karen Neill Tarnowski last fall to launch TerraSculpture, an online art gallery and sculpture studio. Asher design and create abstract, graphic forms in stainless, weathered and powder-coated steel.  TerraSculpture uses durable, outdoor-friendly material such as 11-gauge steel; finishes vary from brushed stainless to eye-popping primary colors. [at left: “Leap”]

With names like “Embrace” and “Closer,” many of the pieces evoke human emotions. And unlike the type of sculpture you’d see in public parks or museums, which is far too large for the domestic landscape, TerraSculpture’s designs range from 4-1/2-feet-tall to 6-1/2-feet-tall. (For customers whose homeowner-association covenants restrict anything that appears above backyard fences or walls, these dimensions offer added benefits.)