Get Your Green Thumb Via This Celebrity Landscape and Garden Designer

Make Your Garden a Paradise Thanks to Teryl Ciarlo

Written By: Rebecca Grazier 
Photographed By: Joe Nardello Landscape Garden Design

Expert: Teryl Ciarlo
Credentials: Landscape Designer Landscape Garden Design

Q: What brought you into this line of work? Have you always had a green thumb?

Teryl Ciarlo: When I was growing up, I spent most weekends at my grandmother’s property. She had two acres in Palos Verdes Estates filled with fruit trees, tons of roses, lovely brick planters and sprawling grass. I loved that place. She always hosted garden parties, and as a young child I would climb the trees, pick fruit and help her cut roses. I think her passion for indoor/outdoor living inspired me. When I was older, it became a hobby to help friends plan out their gardens, and then eventually I started to really learn from a landscape contractor who was doing fabulous houses in Malibu. She hired me to help her and I was hooked! Yet another female that inspired me about the beauty of houses and gardens. I guess you could say I have always had a green thumb. Plain and simple, gardens make me happy!

Q: What part of garden design are you most passionate about?

TC: I think I am most passionate about the placement and positioning of the garden design process. I am really into making sure each corner of the garden counts. Let’s make sure that row of privacy hedges are straight, a rattan garden stool and a pair of chairs will make that spot special. When I pick out gorgeous orange trees, I want to make sure the homeowner can see the hanging fruit from the house. A lot of thought needs to go into the process so that there is no wasted space. Raised garden boxes filled with vegetables and herbs can make a garden more fun for the family. Picking tomatoes and strawberries with siblings and parents can bring everyone together, so I am always looking for the perfect sunny spot on the property to build a raised garden box. Even the smallest backyard can seem big when the space is planned out properly. Details are my passion.

Q: What is one of your favorite projects?

TC: I think one of my all time favorites is a client who is now a friend that started out with one acre and then eventually bought the house next door and ended up with four acres. We needed to figure out how to blend the two properties and make it seem as though the land had always been just one piece of property. It is now a series of garden rooms framed in boxwood, gravel pathways, gorgeous pots and wide open spaces. It’s a fabulous place to sit on the porch and look at the afternoon light and the beauty while sipping a glass of wine.

Q: What is your style/aesthetic when it comes to designing a garden?

TC: I think my style is timeless and traditional. I think that classic style has universal appeal. Of course, if someone has a modern home, then I will create a more modern landscape design. I try to plan a garden that is true to the style of the house.

Q: What is your process like? Any tools that you cannot live without?

TC: My process is to make sure that the homeowner is happy about indoor/outdoor living, which is so important in California. Everyone has their wish list and I try to incorporate that into the space. Some people want a sports court, a fire pit and a gravel garden with a farmhouse table for outdoor dining, and sometimes there is not enough room for all of it! I also try to encourage my clients to become eco-conscious and environmentally aware. Our future depends on it. One of the most important things that I cannot live without is outdoor lighting. Lighting is everything. It makes the garden feel magical. I hang big rattan globes in the trees, hang string lights, light up statuaries, and walkways. Lighting is super important when the days become short because the lighting allows you to stay in the garden just a little bit longer.

The Great Outdoors: Teryl loves outdoor kitchens for entertaining and impromptu cocktail parties, and it is always important to have them placed properly to optimize function.

In Tune: She once planted a rose garden for Burt Bacharach!

Teryl Designs Landscaping
231 N Bowling Green Way
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Photoshoot Location:
Room & Board
8707 W Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
A Celebrity Landscape and Garden Designer Gives Her Expert Advice

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