by Lee Anne White

There is a subtle elegance that draws you into landscapes designed by Simmonds & Associates. They feel natural, but not wild. They are clean, crisp and contemporary--a nice balance between built and planted spaces. They tend to be contemplative spaces that invite you to sit, relax and renwew--to breathe in the fresh air and listen to the sounds of nature. They encourage you to touch, smell and explore with all of your senses.

The landscape architecture firm of Simmons & Associates, Inc. has been creating innovative outdoor environments that are ecologically sound and deeply rooted in nature since opening their doors more than 20 years ago. They have always embraced the use of native plants and were among the first firms to introduce low-maintenance, drought-tolerant ornamental grasses to the San Francisco Bay Area, long before these plants were widely recognized as appropriate for the region's unique climate. 

The firm has also adopted creative strategies for conserving water and energy, recycling landscape materials, and reducing the time, cost and chemicals required to maintain a landscape. Their designs celebrate the beauty of site-appropriate plantings that require minimal water and care. Most importantly, they have done this while creating alluring outdoor spaces that are beautiful, inviting and livable.

Closer to Nature: The Alluring Landscapes of Simmonds & Associates explores the firm's design philosophy and features ten of its projects, which run the gamut from residential landscapes to urban cityscapes. Withe more than 100 color photographs and numerous site plans, this book is packed with design inspiration, sustainability strategies and innovative ideas for landscape design and outdoor living.