In Scott Shrader’s first book, The Art of Outdoor Living: Gardens for Entertaining Family and Friends, the landscape designer showcases his work on the covetable grounds of twelve varying properties. From chic gardens to verdant oases, Shrader creates intuitive, magical exterior environments that form an effortless extension from indoors to out. In this captivating book, the designer also offers invaluable insight into how he approaches his work—from navigating the terrain, to sustainability, the client’s lifestyle, the lifespan of the plants, and to mimicking the design style of the house—all of these aspects play an important role in the design of each garden.
While the book showcases gardens that range in style from Modern Moroccan to Hollywood Regency, and Spanish Colonial Revival, each garden is unique to each space and home. In Shrader’s own home garden, which he refers to as his ‘laboratory,’ the designer constantly experiments with a diverse mix of rare and uncommon plant varieties, but he also took the time to create his own personal haven. Cypress trees original to the property were removed in favor of dense ficus hedges which not only enclose the garden but offer a sense of privacy. Based on the belief that the outdoors should be an extension of the interior, Shrader removed walls, doors, and windows in his home, replacing each with ten-foot-tall French doors that allow gorgeous views and invite one outside. A pair of olive trees furnish shading and ambiance, bonsai and rare orchids in Hawaiian pots offer points of interest, and a reflective pond hosts various aquatic plants that the designer adjusts seasonally.
In interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot’s English Tudor-style home in the Hollywood Hills, Shrader transformed a granite hillside into an outdoor sanctuary replete with a series of leveled terraces throughout—each offering stunning views of Los Angeles. In a fit of practical fancy, the designer even added a wooden bridge that directly connects the second-floor master bedroom to the garden below. Knowing that Deniot and his partner William Holloway loved to entertain, ginkgo tree groves were incorporated. In the fall, the trees turn a spectacular golden shade that is enhanced by the heady aromas of Bearss lime trees, lavender, and rosemary introduced precisely for their beauty and fragrant nature. Deniot, who wrote the foreword for this book, says it best. “Scott builds each of his masterpieces the way a writer composes a script; he sets a solid framework, then spikes the scenarios with cinematic points of view.”
Gardening aficionado or not, the grounds showcased in this book are inspiringly beautiful—they showcase the possibilities of working with and within nature’s framework. Through the designer’s dedicated love affair with the earth and growing things, a childhood obsession became a passion detailed through science, intuition, and study which today yields beautiful retreats for the people who are lucky enough to work with him.