Earlier this year we were fortunate to meet Terra Basche of Terra Malia Designs in Santa Barbara. She was looking for pots for the new Sonos location in Santa Barbara and found them at Eye of the Day. We caught up with this busy woman and asked her a few questions about her blooming career.
How did you become interested in landscape design and what was your path to your current career?
I completely fell head over heels in love with succulents back in 1996 when I was attending UCSB. I remember the very visit to Santa Paula Nursery where I ohhh and ahhhed over the variety of colors, textures and structural make up of each individual one. I tried to fit as many in each fist as possible, as I headed to Ivan at check out.
I naturally have a design eye, as those on my mom’s side of the family have practiced every kind of art. I designed succulent centerpieces for my own wedding in 2001 and proceeded to design pots, weddings, gifts and mini-landscapes for friends and family until I started getting offers from others who would actually pay me to do what I loved. When my oldest daughter was born, I quit my 9 to 5 to be a mom, but began to lazily pursue my love professionally on a very part-time basis. Terra Malia Designs was my “second born” back in 2008.
My business presently is a healthy mix of artistic interiors/exteriors for residential and business and wedding floral with a healthy dose of untraditional elements including mixing succulents, tillandsias and other living props, so the plants in tablescapes can be reused and planted back into the ground, so unnecessary waste is eliminated. My business model closely mirrors my life models and beliefs about sustainability and what makes sense. Plain and simple…it feels good!
What are your clients asking you about water-wise planting and hardscaping?
Most often, clients seek me out for my succulent design. I have almost always reached for plants that require low water, as they are just as lovely as those other plants that need lots of water. Saving resources when necessary is responsible.
How do you design a plan that addresses water issues but is welcoming and pleasing to the eye?
There are so many varieties of succulents and cacti; it is easy to create a design that has enough variety for the eye. I enjoy combining succulents with grasses to add movement potential and texture. The continual exotic blooms from succulents create a softer feel, while adding interest. Using the neon green Crassula, mixed with Aloe Striata and Blue Fescue for color variation, for instance, provides the viewer with color difference so each plant can be appreciated, and the style boasts both soft and hard lines with movement in the Blue Fescue.
How did you approach the Sonos project in order to solve the physical issues of a “parking lot?”
Sonos wishes to maintain their offices in the city of Santa Barbara…which means convenience for their employees, but at the same time, means not as much potential for green space. Terra Malia Designs has helped to transform parking lots, patios and rooftops into greener spaces where a more natural environment can be enjoyed.
The Sonos headquarters, located at 614 Chapala Street, has a staff parking lot that backs up to the building. Sonos wanted to create a patio area where staff could go to have an outdoor meeting or sit and have lunch. Terra Malia Designs utilized the Cassetta Liscia Atlas Italian terracotta pots from Eye of the Day placed side-by-side to create a barrier between the parking lot and the patio zone. Visually, the barrier is essential to differentiate the spaces and as the planting has filled in, it has created a space that is more pleasing to spend time.
To see more of Terry Basche’s work, please visit Terra Malia Designs