Hidden Backyard Gems 

With a big winter in the rearview mirror, Santa Barbara blue skies are taking advantage of longer spring days. It’s a time for rearranging the patio furniture and tightening up the greenery as family meals and weekend get-togethers move out back. At Giffin & Crane, we pride ourselves on building peace of mind, and we perform with a whole-property awareness, from curb appeal to living spaces to those backyard sanctuaries common to the sunny South Coast. Take a look at a few of our favorites.

California Spanish Ranch: After the Jesusita Fire reduced the entirety of this property to charred earth, the homeowner’s rebuilt in the style of a traditional California hacienda. Horticulturist Carol Bornstein dreamed up a drought-tolerant landscape design dominated by natives, and, soon enough, the birds — notably quail, hawks, owls, and vultures — came back in healthy numbers, along with deer, coyote, bobcat, and fox. For added peace of mind, the backyard features a two-inch waterline with a valve that’ll hold a firehose. Other fireproofing features include conditioned crawl spaces, tempered glass, sprinklers, spray-foam insulation, stucco siding, and intumescent exterior beams. Architecture by Hugh Twibell. Photo by Jim Bartsch.
Contemporary Craftsman: The backyard landscaping of this Oaks neighborhood project reflects the Japanese-inspired aesthetic of the home’s entryway and interior.  Inside, all-new designs reworked the living room and piano room, and completely reimagined the kitchen and master suite while staying within the building’s original footprint. Architecture by Tom Jacobs. Photo by Jim Bartsch.
Mesa Pied-à-Terre: An extensive remodel of a 1,300-square-foot cottage on the Mesa opened up the home inside and created a personal Shangri-La out back, welcoming quiet unwinding at day’s end. The homeowner’s key elements were a beautiful garden from which to read and enjoy the outdoors, and easy-to-climb steps between levels without departing from the neighborhood style. J. Grant Design Studio planned the porch, with Charles McClure Landscape Architects and Perez Landscaping. Photo by Jim Bartsch.
Spanish Contemporary Jewel Box: The square footage and floor plan remained the same during this remodel of a home built in 1982, but the upstairs interior living space was extended into the backyard through tall glass doors. This helped achieve the owners’ desire for a comfortable, casual beach feel in a home updated, simplified, and streamlined. The design/build team included architect Britt Jewett, Jordan Design Crew (interiors), landscape architect Bob Truskowski, and Ann Kale (exterior lighting design). Photo by Jim Bartsch.


Build with Us

Remodel with Us

Call Us


Send Us a Message

Thank you.
Your message has been sent.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form