A Los Angeles Landscape Designer’s Moroccan Style Urban Garden

May 9, 2017 by

Entering the central courtyard of Casa Nancina, garden designer Nancy Goslee Power’s Santa Monica, California urban garden, I was instantly transported away from city traffic, noise and congestion into a bucolic and dreamy space inspired by Power’s travels to Brazil and Morocco.

The garden was one of six I visited as part of the Garden Conservancy’s annual Open Days garden tour in Los Angeles.

The designer has optimized the garden’s small footprint with a lush landscape punctuated with dashes of cobalt blue and saffron, a colorful palette that serves to integrate several outdoor rooms into one cohesive multi-functional space that feels expansive.

A place of respite for solitude or entertaining, the garden includes several intimate seating areas, comfortable spots for conversation and communing, including a partially covered living room that flanks a fireplace.

 The designer and I chatted about her work in front of an outdoor fireplace.

Central to the courtyard’s design scheme is a long water feature filled with waterlily pads and goldfish leading to a wall fountain where a rare weeping Kashmir cypress creates one of many focal points in this artful urban oasis.

In one corner of the garden, a round French-style table and wood-slatted chairs form a cozy waterside dining spot with additional seating available on a purple cushioned bench built-in to the adjacent golden stucco wall.

I had visions of curling up alone with a book, or meditating to the calming sound of flowing water and the garden’s king palm fronds swaying in the breeze.

Steps from the kitchen and adjacent outdoor wood fired oven, a long rustic table sets the stage for al fresco dining under the stars enveloped by the garden’s many trees and mostly native plants.

A mirror on an exterior wall (below) appears like a window onto the lush property. The reflection of the cobalt blue across the garden compliments the saffron color, while the mirror also reflects light back to the wall.

Eggplant-hued canna lilies provide an intense punch of color and contrast with the saffron stucco and rich cobalt blue walls against a backdrop of maidenhair and tree ferns.

At the back of the courtyard, blue morning glories flow over the designer’s studio office that shares a front wall with the fountain, an artistic melding of color and texture in the blossoms, painted stucco, and water.

View from the designer’s studio.

The garden spills outdoors from the interior to blur the boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces, with an interior design in harmony with the exterior garden rooms in both color and style.

From the moment you enter the property, the Moroccan and Brazilian-inspired colors and textures blend the outdoors and indoors to transport visitors to a place that feels miles from the city…

Steps up to the house make an alluring entrance and lovely exit.

Stay tuned for more gardens from this Open Days tour.

Photos by Robin Plaskoff Horton. 



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