Thornton Gardens, San Marino, California

Thornton Gardens is a significant historical property in San Marino—second in size only to the celebrated Huntington Gardens. Its stately early 20th-c. Tudor Revival mansion by architect Myron Hunt is surrounded by original gardens, portions of which were created by renowned landscape architects Florence Yoch and Lucile Council. The challenge for Preservation Green LLC was to create a legacy garden for the owners who are leaving their property to the Huntington Museum to be used for special events. We created garden features that thoughtfully complement the historic structures. In addition, the now highly revered Parkway Plantings provide elegant swaths of planting along the sidewalk for all to enjoy. Using native California plants, drought-tolerant specimens and old European cultivars, the parkway tells the story of California landscape architecture merging with its Old World roots. Displaying a wide range of foliage, flowers, and color, the parkway embraces horticulture to the fullest. 

The masterplan created in close collaboration with our client at Thornton Gardens balanced a respect for the past with an eye to the future—creating a sustainable landscape design that can be enjoyed for generations to come. This work was part of a twenty-year effort to restore the original grounds and core gardens by Yoch and Council and to expand the site to its original size. The approach taken by Preservation Green LLC has inspired the owners to acquire the adjacent residential properties to make room for a stone conservatory, a potting house, a small farm, a classically inspired barn and citrus orchard, a guest house, a pool house and garden with flanking arbors, a new lake carved from the foundations of a former neighboring residence, a boat house, and a hierarchy of paths and service roads within a carefully constructed walled landscape park.

For more information on these projects, see (Calendar).