Deborah Richie-Bray, ASLA

Richie-Bray, Inc., a landscape architecture studio owned by Deborah Richie-Bray, offers custom designs on both the East and West coasts that encompass commercial and residential properties as well as numerous horse farms and estates in Kentucky and Rolling Hills. Deborah founded her studio in 2004, designing lawns, gardens, pools, spas, BBQs, fireplaces and water features. Installations highlight diversity, low water, low maintenance and fire safety.

What is the #1 thing you do to ensure your business is successful?

Each project has its own identity starting with our clients’ wish list that they fill out on our website. Since no garden is the same, both hardscapes and planting designs are uniquely individual expressions of our clients, the architecture and the site. I pride myself on being able to communicate with my clients—quickly and openly—understanding their needs and creating designs that will fulfill and exceed their expectations. 

Why did you choose this line of work?

I knew at a very early age that I had a passion for garden design, which led to my degree in landscape architecture from the University of Kentucky and extending studies at UCLA. Early on I was given the opportunity to work on horse farms and landmark properties in Kentucky and later on the Getty Villa in Malibu in 1998. 

What role does your family play in your career?

Both my mother and father appreciate gardens and the natural landscape. They volunteered to enhance forests by protecting trees for the future. I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty of natural textures and layers. The future of the land depends upon us protecting our natural resources. Native plants will grow better without a lot of water or maintenance. I’ve become an expert on trees, native plantings and low-water gardens. I love the organic forms of nature and the classic structures of architecture. Combining both creates unique outdoor environments.

Describe some of your more recent projects.

The Richie-Bray, Inc. portfolio includes residential estates in Southern California. A design of a modern farmhouse is shown above. Completed projects include the master plan for the South Coast Botanic Rose Garden on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Descanso Beach Club on Catalina Island. Recently licensed in Tennessee, I’m getting back to my roots—designing new and old estate properties with my Southern, classic style.  

What is some great advice?

Do what you love, and you will love what you do, and you will live a rich life.

Tell us your favorite quote.

“If you can imagine it, you can create it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” – William Ward

Gardens are like this too. It’s the imagination that holds the possibilities, but we sometimes must slow down enough to create our dreams. By listening, we get to help our clients’ dreams come true.