Landscape design and photography by David Godshall

The landscape architecture of Californian David Godshall, co-founder of Terremoto, is showcased in DECO’s Spring issue. He’s also a photographer and self-proclaimed grown-up punk, so we were only too delighted to sneak a peak into his own backyard…

David started off with a strictly native California garden at his own home – plants acclimatized to drought and heat ‘They don’t want love, they want neglect.’ Photographs: David Godshall

David says he begrudgingly admits that his garden is more or less indicative of who he is as a human being – a grown-up punk with control issues. And his company Terremoto describes themselves as a formally and conceptually adventurous office for landscape architecture. On hearing this, DECO had to learn more from the man who contributed in a big way to our Spring Constant Gardener inspiration feature.

David Godshall – landscape architect, photographer, writer and owner of fabulous dog (all showcased in DECO’s spring issue).  Any other hidden talents?
I’m a father to a little dude named Wolfgang.

What can a garden teach one?
Humility.  And wonder.

Your own garden is…
A wild but beautiful mess. Mostly California natives. It’s neglected, because I’m always working on landscapes for my clients; the cobbler’s children, etc.

Is your own garden still an escape for you…or is it like taking work home with you?
It’s an escape.  Watering my garden is my escape actually. Drinking a glass of wine while hand watering- that’s how I get in the zone, yo.

The garden evolved into a self-seeding revolution: ‘things come as they please and leave as they please, natives fight with edibles, birds chase after butterflies…’ Photographs: David Godshall

Design philosophy…
It’s extremely long and complicated. But projects should be manifestations of idea and material exploration.

Dream landscaping project
 I’d like to do a garden in New Orleans, that’s a slightly random answer, but my sister lives there and it would be a lovely excuse to visit, and there’s a deep garden-making vernacular there I find intriguing.

Recommended inspirational material…
Anything Gunther Vogt. Anything Scarpa. Anything Gilles Clement. I just got a beautiful book about Georgia O’Keefe’s houses in New Mexico which I love.

Georgia O’Keeffe, shot for Vogue in 1967, at the entrance of her New Mexico home. Photo- Cecil Beaton, Conde Nast the; Ladder Against Studio Wall in Snow, Undated. Gift of The Georgia O’Keeffee Foundation. Copyright Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Do you follow and utilise garden trends in your designs? 
I try not to. Gotta be ahead of the curve, stay sharp.

Landscapers/Mentors who inspired and shaped your career
James Lord, Roderick Wyllie and Geoff DiGirolamo are my former bosses and friends. They taught me everything and I love them and I’m eternally grateful to have worked for them.

When called in to re-envision a client’s outdoor space, where do you begin?
A conversation with the client and a site visit. The site is everything, informs everything.


Insight into dealing with any nightmare clients?
Give it your best but if it gets too crazy just fire them. Life is magical, so why spend it dealing with someone who doesn’t see that magic?

Do human’s bad habits follow them into the garden? 

‘A garden, much like a home, is a blunt, bare-faced extension of the human beings who control it. If you are the caretaker of a piece of land, that piece of land will inevitably come to embody your behavioral and cultural values, albeit in an abstract sort of a way. This truism is eternally intriguing, and because human beings are curious and jealous creatures, it also explains why we stare at books and magazines and websites of pictures of other people’s homes and gardens, because well, people’s lives are interesting’
– David Godshall, Garden Anarchy in L.A. written for the



website: | instagram: @terremoto_landscape


Meet the greenhouse photographers of Haarkon and shop for gardening tools

The Spring Issue is all about looking forward and recharging. Revitalise yourself, take stock, and get your home and lifestyle in tip-top condition. We explore progressive gardening ideas, show you how to turn your bathroom into a rejuvenation haven, and take you on a tour of homes that capture the essence of the season. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #SpringIssue.