Barbara Brinkerhoff: Remembering a Visionary

Barbara Brinkerhoff lived her life in full color.

Barbara Brinkerhoff lived her life in full color.

Barbara Brinkerhoff, co-creator of Lifescapes International recently passed away in early December 2014, at the age of 84. She will always be remembered as a visionary in landscape design, leaving behind a legacy of gardens that people love throughout the world.

First gaining recognition for her innovative landscape designs in the late 1960’s, Barbara would transform Lifescapes International into an internationally recognized firm, leaving an unmatched mark on the landscape design industry.

Barbara was the first in the industry to create the concept of hanging flower baskets on entry walkways to make residential homes more appealing to prospective buyers. She created this concept for The Arbors, a for-sale residential project in Fullerton, CA. The results were so well-received that they earned both her and her husband Don a national beautification award, which was presented to them at the White House by Pat Nixon shortly after the project was completed.

Barbara was also instrumental in the landscape design of the The Grove in Los Angeles, where she incorporated lush green gardens and selected the colorful, long blooming flowers and shrubs throughout the property. According to Rick Caruso, President and CEO of Caruso Affiliated, and owner and developer of The Grove: “Barbara was one of the greatest landscape artists with whom I ever had the pleasure of working. She brought an incredible amount of energy to the project, which was an essential component in creating this destination retail environment.”

Today, Lifescapes International, which was founded in 1958 by Barbara and her husband Don Brinkerhoff and initially operated out of their San Fernando Valley home, is known as a trendsetter in its industry through its iconic landscapes scattered throughout the U.S. and the world. The firm has been recognized with numerous local, regional, national and international awards for creating destination driven landscape environments for major projects including Belcourt in Newport Beach, the Bellagio, (where Barbara’s color changes in the conservatory are considered among the most beautiful garden experiences in the world), the Mirage, the Venetian, the Wynn/Encore, and the Red Rock Casino and Spa – all in Las Vegas, Nevada – as well as The Americana at Brand, among many many others.

The vibrant blooms at the Wynn Atrium. Photo courtesy of Eric Figge.

The vibrant blooms at the Wynn Atrium.
Photo courtesy of Eric Figge.

Throughout the growth of Lifescapes International, Barbara remained a committed mother, grandmother and great grandmother, hosting family gatherings, creating traditions for the whole family at her Balboa Island home, and always dressed in a color palate as bold and beautiful as the gardens and flowers she so loved. Her warm personality, her gracious way of treating clients, her funny sense of humor, her fearless attitude, her ability to make lifelong friends easily, and her daily ritual of painting watercolors and oils showed all who knew her that she truly lived her life in “full color.”

Barbara is survived by her loving husband Don, her sister, Mary, and her son, Martin, as well as her three daughters Julie, Christie, and Karen. She has 12 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. She is also survived by her devoted and loveable dog, Rollie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>