: Institutional
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TRANSFORMING A LOS ANGELES ICON

With its iconic architecture, grand lawn and paradisiacal gardens, this West Los Angeles religious institution has been a landmark since its construction in the mid-1950s. Its grounds are open to the public and are a popular destination for tourists, weddings and numerous other events. It is also home to a one of LA’s most brilliant lighting displays during the Christmas holiday season.

In 2015, the institution stopped irrigating its great lawn along Santa Monica Boulevard in an effort to reduce water demand during a prolonged drought in California. Recognizing the importance of this landscape and that these drought conditions could persist for the foreseeable future, the client sought SBLA’s expertise for reimagining its extensive grounds. The result is a captivating landscape that respects and preserves the historical aspects of the original design while amplifying the regional character of the project through the use of colorful plant materials native to California and other parts of the world that share our Mediterranean climate.

SBLA removed two acres of lawn and planted nearly three acres of low-water use plants. As a result, the annual water use on the hillside has been reduced by nearly 60% – an incredibly significant achievement. The implementation of best practices means that annual carbon emissions from landscape maintenance have been reduced by 6,000 pounds. As an added benefit, SBLA’s landscape design creates significant habitat opportunities for butterflies, birds and many other pollinators.