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BUSINESS OF THE MONTH: AllScape Design + Installation

Kat Hitchcock’s Interview With Nate Zacarias and Ben Hatcher owners of AllScape Design + Installation


Kat: First question, what does being water wise mean?

Nate Zacarias 

Nate Zacarias 

Nate: It basically means to be efficient with the way you use your water and trying to effectively reduce and save on not only on water but also on cost. Water is expensive it is becoming the new high end gold. 

Kat: Exactly, we have sellers that have acres and acres of land and obviously with the drought it has made their water bill more expensive. From a maintenance standpoint they are all trying to figure out the best plan of action. 

Ben:  There’s a lot of different avenues on ways to save water- whether it's irrigation assistance, drought tolerant plants and adding mulch to absorb moisture when it does rain. There’s a lot of different ways you can reduce the use of water. 

Kat: What is the ROI analysis on irrigation projects?

Ben Hatcher 

Ben Hatcher 

Ben: We calculate the return on investment. We calculate what the customer is currently spending and how long it will take for that budget to pay itself back. On small properties it is very rare. You have to do pretty extensive things to your landscape to create an ROI that is noticeable. Typical ROI’s would pay back in 5-15 years depending on what you do. I think it’s just seeing their water bills go down that makes our clients happy.  

Kat: For those who don't know what is the difference between hardscape and landscape? 

Nate: Hardscapes are hard materials like concrete, rock work, pathways- anything outside of softscapes. Softscapes would be considered planting and lawn installations, anything that has to do with plant material and gravels. Pathways can be both hardscape and softscapes. 

Kat:  A lot of our sellers have been putting in fire pits and decking, does AllScape design + installation handle those type of projects? 

Nate: Of course. We handle fire pits, any kind of woodwork like fencing, decking, pergolas, we do it all. If we can’t do something we have amazing contractors that can do it.

Kat:  What are the biggest mistakes you commonly see when people do their own landscaping? DIY Do’s and Do nots?

Ben: I think going with cheap material. So often when we go on a consultation we find cheap Home Depot material that doesn’t last long, or something not being installed properly. Actually the most common thing we find is irrigation breaks. 

Kat: Can AllScape Design + Installation test the irrigation lines for breaks? 

Ben: Yep. More often than not we find breaks in the valves or the piping. 

Nate: We call this an irrigation evaluation, we evaluate the entire system- find out where the flaws are- find out where you are wasting water, and then give a proposal to fix that at first and then give the customer ideas on how to improve and make it more efficient. 

Kat: What makes AllScape Design + Installation different than other landscape companies?

Ben:  I think just being on top of our game. We have connections with great sub contractors, our knowledge, and being in the field for so many years. 

Nate:  Also I think its our communication.

Ben: Communication is key. 

AllScape Design + Installation Completed Project

AllScape Design + Installation Completed Project

Nate: The fact that we call people back - and we joke that should be our slogan because it’s true- we hear it all the time so many people just don’t call you back. 

Ben: And we are on site, on time, if we can’t be there we call ahead of time and just keep the client updated with good communication. Which is lacking with a lot of contractors. It’s something they struggle with. So I think thats the one thing we have built our business on and considered a major part of our success is our communication. 

Nate:  I also think we are fairly priced. You know were not high end or low end but we are right where we should be as far as what we charge clients. I think that shows. 

Kat: That is awesome. What do you find most difficult or challenging as a landscaper?

Ben: Figuring out their budget. It’s not like our prices stay the same, but people struggle to tell us their budget.

AllScape Design + Installation Completed Project

AllScape Design + Installation Completed Project

Nate: To know someone's ideal budget is key because it helps me just design what I need to design within that range. Otherwise I have fun with it and make it lavish and then they see the proposal and they get taken aback. If I get a set budget then I can design around that. So that is a challenge when clients don't know ahead of time. 

Kat: When someone hires AllScape Design + Installation what should they expect? What sort of planning should you do beforehand?

Nate: If they want to do a project- it is nice to know what type of style. Those are questions I bring to the table. If you want a Mediterranean, drought tolerant, if you want a California garden type, free flowing design, or do you want something more symbiotic and symmetrical. There’s all different styles out there. 

Kat: Besides style of project, what else should they expect?  

Nate: They usually have an idea and style is number one, and what they want to save. What type of plants they want to be incorporated, what colors, it’s key to know. A lot of people hate oranges and yellows. So we have to ask those questions. Not only what you like but also what you dislike. It helps me figure out the plant palette and what type of movement through the property and sitting areas. 

AllScape Design + Installation Completed Project 

AllScape Design + Installation Completed Project 

Ben: Also taking photos of stuff they like, a lot people take photos around the neighborhood of what they do and do not like. Right now our work is a lot of taking out grass and putting in drought tolerant plants. We typically go and meet with them and then ask them what you want to do and that then forms Nate’s idea of what he’s going to design. Then we do digital imaging as a quick test so they can see what they like and don’t like in different scenarios.  Then we will talk with them about moving forward.

Nate: Then we can go to the next level and do a blueprint design, a to scale design. Or we can go with the design imaging only and make a proposal based on that. Which would be the cheapest way to go. If they want to spend the extra $500-1000 to get it done right with the blueprint it does help. Then they own it, it is theirs and if they ever want to change anything they have the square footages. If they needed a different concrete contractor to come in and get square footage of the driveway it’s already set onto scale. I always try to push to get design blueprints done- but in the landscape world things move so fast.

Kat:  So what do ya’ll think of all this amazing rain?

Nate: Love it. Need it.

Kat: Do you think it is going to change anything in landscape world?

Ben: I hope it changes people’s philosophy about what a yard should typically look like. I hope we go away from the thought of huge lawn areas being ideal. You know typically you don't use your front yard as much so take out the front yard grass and just be more mindful of the water. 

Nate:  The problem is people see rain and think they can instantly go back to their old ways. I hope through all the education from the Santa Barbara and Goleta water districts people will think differently. The water districts did an amazing job getting people educated about being water wise. 

Kat: Okay, one more question. What do you love most about what you do?


Nate: From day one in this industry I have always loved not only the creative part of it but its seeing a crappy yard transition into something special and unique. You know home owners have to live with it every day. I like seeing the transition and happy customers which is why I got into it. To help people out and I love being outdoors. 

Ben: Like Nate said being able to walk away from a project and transition something into such a big difference. Building something, making something and getting to work with the clients. 

Kat:  I feel like I have met a handful of your clients and they are all extremely excited with the finished projects and love working with you guys.

Nate: It’s a good community we live in and its fun to create those relationships with clients. 

Ben: We are kind of friends with a lot of them. We would see them out around town and go have a beer together. I think that is kind of special.

Kat: We love sending you guys business, thank you for being so great to our clients. 

AllScape Design + Installation free digital imaging draft for your next project when you mention Ralston and Hitchcock!


Just Sold! 🔑 Montecito Hedgrerow Estate


Just Sold! 🔑 Montecito Hedgrerow Estate

Proud to have represented the sellers in the sale of this Mid-Century Estate in Montecito’s Hedgerow near Lower Village and Beaches. Situated on a flat and usable .42 acres, this well maintained single level home offers 3 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms with floor to ceiling walls of glass and soaring vaulted ceilings. Features 4 fireplaces; one in each of the formal dining room, living room, family room and Master bedroom. Uniquely featuring an attached 3 car garage with installed lift able to store 3 additional cars. Sold for $2,778,423

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Happy Friday everyone! Just finishing up out work week here at Berkshire Hathaway in Montecito. Last week we touched on days on market in Santa Barbara and now we want to talk about Montecito. There has been a lot of talk about the slow down of the upper end. In fact the average time to sell a home in Montecito has increased 60% over last year, to 134 days which is over 4 months on the market.

And that's a long time to sell your home, but if you are shopping in the ultra-high end, say over 10 million dollars there is a decrease in inventory right now. It is about a 36% change from 11 homes active last year and only 4 this year. Although these are both big changes we see this as a stabilization of the market and now is pretty much an opportunity to stand out from the pack. So, you need proper preparation, you need to price your home accurately, you need to stage your home, and you need to work with an agent (or agents!) that understands the value of strong marketing.

So if you are thinking of buying or selling contact us today, call or email us and we would love to give you a consultation.

Have a great weekend!



Rancho San Carlos Montecito Estate | Suzanne Perkins

Record breaking• Rancho San Carlos Montecito Estate

Source: Listed by Suzanne Perkins of Sotheby's International

Source: Listed by Suzanne Perkins of Sotheby's International

Montecito is known for being home to the county's most famous residents, understandably. This town has a laid back charm unlike any other. Locals and visitor's alike can wander Coast Village Road, Upper Village and the most stunning, Butterfly Beach. Go for a scenic drive or bike ride along the tree-lined streets, and do what the locals do: hang out on a sun-kissed patio, and read the Montecito Journal. Amongst many other stand-out qualities, this town doesn't fall short when it comes to the Real Estate. From California cottages to opulent estates there's something everyone can dream about.

On the current market the median sales price in Montecito is $3.7 Million dollars, down from last years $4.3 million dollars.

However, there is a once in a lifetime opportunity that sits secluded at the top of East Valley Road that sets an all time record high for sales prices in the entire county offered at $125 million dollars. 12 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms on 237 acres...

Perkins 2.jpg
The magnificent Rancho San Carlos, a 237 acre estate property that for nearly 100 years has been under the ownership of one family. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a unique property of unprecedented grand scale, exceptional architecture, and prestigious historical significance. The sprawling hilltop Monterey Colonial manor was designed by noted architect Reginald Johnson in 1931 with an approx. 29,483 sq. ft. exquisite main residence comprised of over thirty rooms. Infused with an atmosphere of sophistication and refinement, the grand home is astutely sited on two natural terraces, and by planning the formal living rooms around a central courtyard and placing the Master and family bedroom wings on the upper terrace, he effectively created a spatial separation that afforded privacy, calm and exceptional views. Additional features include 10 residential cottages, an office, producing orchards, and extensive equestrian facilities.
— Suzanne Perkins



Hot on the Market: Mid-Century Montecito Hedgerow Estate on .42 acres

🍃 Tucked away in Montecito's hedgerow....

A Mid-Century Modern Ranch near Lower Village and Beaches. Situated on a flat and usable .42 acres, this well maintained single level home offers 3 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms with floor to ceiling walls of glass and soaring vaulted ceilings.

4 fireplaces; one in each of the formal dining room, living room, family room and Master bedroom, which is replete with sitting area, large walk-in closet, en-suite bathroom and french doors to the patio. Attached 3 car garage has installed a lift able to store 3 additional cars; sure to please the auto enthusiast. The grounds are an entertainer's dream with lush lawns, spacious patios, gardening areas and large water feature.
Extremely central location in Montecito near shops, Montecito Union Elementary, private schools, beaches, YMCA and more!

See the full details about this property



Just Sold 🏡 5343 Ogan Road, Carpinteria

Just Sold 🏡 5343 Ogan Road, Carpinteria

We are so grateful to have represented both of the wonderful buyer's and seller's of this inviting, remodeled 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home in a convenient Carpinteria location close to downtown. 

• Light filled interior • New wood flooring throughout • Viking & Kitchen Aid Appliances • Milgard Windows • Granite counters • Remodeled Baths • 2 car garage • Fantastic entertaining patio


Private Beachfront Home in Fernald Cove

Private Beachfront Home in Fernald Cove

Take a look at this new-on-the-market single-family home in idyllic Fernald Cove, perfect as a home-away-from-home or a full-time residence! Formerly owned by John Cleese, this modern beachfront property offers privacy and sophistication. Listed at $8,250,000, the 3BD/3.5BA home also has a separate guest apartment, perfect for hosting weekend guests. Features include recently renovated kitchen and bathrooms, private deck, extensive wine cellar, and stunning 180 degree ocean views. Check out the photos below!

Listed by Sotheby's International Realty.

Beach Listing of the Week: 1473 Edgecliff Lane, Montecito

Experience coastal California living in this beachfront home with views of the gleaming Pacific Ocean! Listed at $14,444,000, this exquisite oceanfront property is located on Montecito's coveted Edgecliff Lane. Spread along 130 feet of beachfront, the .65 acre property features a charming 1BD/1.5BA cottage and a private guest apartment, perfect for visiting guests or as a home studio. Stroll through the picturesque terraced gardens or sunbathe by the pool underneath towering palms that look out over the water. Offering privacy and seclusion, Edgecliff Lane is close to Montecito's Lower Village, the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel, and beautiful Butterfly Beach. Scroll through the photos below for a look at this charming beachfront property!

Listed by Riskin Partners

Montecito Featured Listing: 145 Olive Mill Lane

145 Olive Mill Lane Designed by acclaimed Santa Barbara architect Jeff Shelton, this Spanish-style home in Montecito awes with beautiful finishes and extraordinary attention to detail. Completed in 2009, 145 Olive Mill Lane is a structural masterpiece featuring soaring cathedral ceilings, custom windows and light fixtures, and a courtyard complete with a wood-burning fireplace and a fountain. This 3 bed, 3.5 bath home has approximately 2,500 square feet and includes a gourmet kitchen, a study, a workout room, and its very own bocce ball court.

Built with sustainability in mind, 145 Olive Mill Lane has solar power and a sustainable living landscape crafted by local landscape architect Isabelle Greene, who works with the area's native plants and local climate when designing gardens. Listed at $3,295,000, 145 Olive Mill Lane is a one-of-a-kind home perfect for buyers who appreciate construction and design. Check out the photos below for a look at this beautiful home.

145 Olive Mill Lane145 Olive Mill Lane Living Room145 Olive Mill Lane Kitchen145 Olive Mill Lane Bedroom

Listed by Village Properties.