The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Travel

September 28, 2013

He travels the globe creating lavish gardens

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Robert E. Truskowski has designed a shark lagoon for a palace on the Red Sea and a floating massage pavilion at an estate in the Cote d’Azur. He also built the elaborate gardens at Mick Jagger’s estate on the island of Mustique.

The 65-year-old Laguna Beach, Calif., landscape architect sums up his extravagant Edens succinctly: “I create other people’s fantasies.”

Based in Laguna Beach for more than 40 years, Truskowski works from a nondescript corner office building on North Coast Highway. The building doesn’t even display his name. He commutes between Orange County, Calif., and his 8,000-square-foot home in Montecito, Calif., in Santa Barbara County.

Truskowski, though, spends much of his time traveling the globe setting up and restoring lush, intricate gardens and devising elaborate water features for tycoons, royal families, celebrities and other uber-wealthy clients.

His work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Town & Country, the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. In 2005, the Robb Report, which ranks luxury goods and providers around the world, named him the “best of the best” landscape architects.

“Working with Bob is like working with an archaeologist carefully studying and discovering the design solution that the site is calling for,” said Los Angeles architect Walter Meyer. The outcomes, he said, are “as joyful to experience as listening to a symphony.”

Truskowski says he strives to create gardens with a timeless quality that appear to have always been there. Half his work is historical restoration. The elaborate gardens at Villa Torre Clementina drew unexpected recognition in 1993; he said the French government gave the gardens national landmark status, not realizing they were new.

Auspicious beginnings: Truskowski was born in Compton and moved to La Habra as a teen. He attended high school in Whittier and then Cal Poly Pomona. He started out studying civil engineering but became more interested in landscape architecture.

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