Great landscape design is like yoga, notes Scott Shrader in his book, The Art of Outdoor Living (Rizzoli New York, 2019). Just as yoga flows from one pose to the next, he writes, there should be easy flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. A Los Angeles–based landscape designer who has worked on some of California’s most storied estates, Shrader imbues his gardens with a yogi-like meditative quality. Olive trees, boxwoods, and agaves create living architecture, while pebble pathways lead to hidden outdoor kitchens and private lounges. “A minimalist maximalist—the epitome of ‘just enough’” is how French interior designer (and client) Jean-Louis Deniot describes Shrader in the foreword.
“Visual simplicity has great power,” writes Shrader. “Consistency calms the eye and soothes the spirit.” For his gardens, raucous borders of colorful perennials and annuals need not apply. Instead, Shrader prefers outdoor oases pared down to their essential elements: light, sound, heat, color, water. Not that his spaces aren’t lush and embracing. Before getting his master’s degree in landscape design, Shrader studied urban planning, and one can sense his dedication to ‘the big picture’ and his efforts to make each property—no matter how rambling—feel like one cohesive whole. Shrader says he starts with the house and works his designs out from there, but it’s clear where he prefers to spend his time and where he wants his clients to spend theirs. “Gardens are for living in,” he writes, “not just looking at from the other side of the window.”
By Kirk Reed Forrester | Photography by Lisa Romerein
The Art of Outdoor Living by Scott Shrader (Rizzoli New York, 2019)