SB Beer Garden 2024

This month we celebrated 11 years in business at the Beer Garden: A curated tasting trail among California’s native plants event.  As the main fundraising event of the year for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, this event is an opportunity for the CJM::LA team to give back to one of our favorite local organizations while enjoying delicious food, drinks and music amongst the beautiful garden.  Cheers!





We’re excited to announce that Woodrat Theater has been selected as one of the new Backcounty Casitas as part of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s 2024 design competition!  This open call for proposals occurs every two years, and celebrates the beauty of the outdoors through temporary and unique outdoor playhouses within the garden’s immersive Backcountry area.

A true collaborative effort, our office assisted MISC Workshop in refinements to the design and produced the renderings which ultimately led to a winning proposal.  Developed by Jianhua Chen, the renderings tell the story of the design and how children (and adults) might interact with the theater.

final rendering by Jianhua Chen


As part of our continued partnership with the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Landscape Architecture Department, early this year we hosted three student shadows at our office in downtown Santa Barbara.  The shadowship program was developed by the Landscape Architecture Department Advisory Council (LADAC), which Courtney has been an active member of for the past ten years.  This is a unique opportunity for students to visit professional offices in order to gain a better understanding of the profession as a whole and the multitude of practice types available to support their early career development.

Hosted by Designer Jianhua Chen, the afternoon started with an informal discussion and meet & greet with the team, followed by a property tour at our neighboring multi-family property Arlington Village.  We then gave the students an overview of our projects, after which each team member shared what they are currently working on.

As a team, we truly value our ability to provide mentorship and professional development opportunities to students of landscape architecture.  If you are interested in a shadowship, please contact us at

The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern Receives Honor Award from SOCAL ASLA

We are thrilled to announce that our Inn at Mattei’s Tavern project has been recognized by the Southern California Chapter of the ASLA with an Honor Award in the Historic Preservation and Restoration Design category at the 2023 Quality of Life Awards!  This category recognizes constructed, site-specific works of landscape architecture that demonstrate the integration of historic value into the design process.

The new vision for Mattei’s Tavern has been years in the making, and we were honored to be selected as part of an incredible team to help develop a site design that respects this significant historic landmark while also bringing modern amenities to what is now part of the Auberge Resorts Collection.  Led by Nicole Horn, our team collaborated with DMHA Architecture, AvroKO, RRM, True Nature, and Ann Kale Associates to bring this incredible property to life.

The existing Mattei’s Tavern building, five cottages, and thirteen specimen trees were designated a historic landmark in 2010. More than one hundred years prior, Felix Mattei built the original “Central Hotel” in 1886 for travelers transferring from the end of the Pacific Coast Railway to stage coach.

Careful study of historic documents allowed the design team to reimagine how this significant landmark would continue to serve as the heart of the Los Olivos community for the next one hundred years.  Working with the surviving historic specimen trees, the landscape design pays homage to the rural western vernacular of the late 19thcentury with traditional Victorian-style plantings, expansive lawns, and formal walkways at the historic eastern side of the property. A new outdoor dining patio with overhead trellis was added to the Mattei’s Tavern building, in a similar style to the existing wood boardwalk and trellis at the main entrance. Visible from the dining patio are a new event barn, chef’s garden with painted brick planters, the refurbished historic water tower, and new event lawn.

Congratulations to the whole project team!


Each fall the AIASB hosts a self-guided tour to celebrate architecture in our community.  This year, the CJM::LA team hosted our recently completed SB Biergarten property along with our collaborative partner DMHA Architecture.

From the AIASB: This year’s tour features projects in various communities near downtown Santa Barbara. The projects include newly completed residences on the Mesa, as well as mid-century and cottage-style accessory dwelling units. In addition, tour-goers will also have the chance to visit multi-unit senior and veteran housing projects, Drift Hotel, and SB Biergarten. The spaces demonstrate the beauty of Santa Barbara’s signature indoor-outdoor lifestyle and the diversity of our local communities.

Santa Barbara Beautiful Awards 2023

This weekend our team was honored with an award for our Camino Viejo Residence from Santa Barbara Beautiful at their annual awards reception.  Congratulations to our wonderful clients, Chip and Betsy, for their vision and continued stewardship of the property; and to the Cearnal Collective for the outstanding architectural design!


2023 marks our tenth year in business.  In 2013, Courtney began our studio as a sole proprietor with only a handful of projects.  Today we are a thriving team of creatives representing diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise.  Over the past decade, we’ve celebrated the opening of 54 projects including campuses, multi-family buildings, hotels, community facilities, parks, private homes, restaurants and even a parklet!  In addition to our contributions to the built environment, we are also proud to support our local communities via board positions, mentorship programs, internship/shadowship opportunities, volunteerism and contributions to the educational and professional institutions that support the landscape architecture profession.  As we look toward the future, we are excited to continue our growth into new markets and develop new methods of executing our collaborative vision.  We deeply appreciate the clients, collaborators, vendors and contractors who have supported us in reaching this incredible milestone.

LADAC Cal Poly Winter 2023

Last week Courtney visited Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, her alma mater, as part of her involvement in the Landscape Architecture Department Advisory Council (LADAC).  This group was formed in 2001, and Courtney has been an active member for the past ten years.

Each academic quarter, members of this group visit campus to spend the day observing and participating in studios and providing critiques of student work.  They give the students of Cal Poly a unique opportunity to interface directly with active members of the landscape architectural profession; and provide valuable mentorship and training in the form of resume/portfolio development and interview skills.  Off campus, LADAC provides students with opportunities for shadowships and internships in addition to scholarships.

SB Beer Garden 2023

On Saturday we celebrated our TEN YEARS in business at the SB Botanic Garden‘s annual Beer Garden event.  It was a beautiful day at the garden – with a full creek, California poppies in full bloom and incredible food, drinks and music throughout the garden.  If you are ever in Santa Barbara for this event, it’s not to be missed!

Courtney, Jianhua, Christina, Janet, Arturo

Celebrating the Women of CJM::LA

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating all of the women of CJM::LA – both past and present. In the past ten years, we’ve had the privilege to work alongside such incredible team members – both within our design studio and within our expanded community of vendors, suppliers, collaborators, contractors and clients.
As a certified woman-owned small business, we are proud to have women leading both our ownership and operations, bringing insight and creativity to our growing team.


As the principal landscape architect and owner of CJM::LA, Courtney has led our creative team for ten years.  She combines the the thoughtfulness of a technical mind with the creativity of an artistic one, and loves to dig into the history the properties she designs as well as push the boundary of the expected.  Along with Nicole Horn, Courtney leads the creative vision for CJM::LA.


Nicole joined CJM::LA in 2016, and has brought expertise in urban planning, resource management and landscape architectural design to the CJM::LA team.  As associate principal and director of operations, she promotes transparency and collaboration across all aspects of our work.  Nicole pushes herself and others to take risks, innovate and surpass conventional design roles and traditions.


Janet joined CJM::LA 2014 as office manager and bookeeper.  She loves to make connections within our community while also keeping all aspects of our studio running smoothly.  Janet holds degrees in Historic Preservation and Architectural Technology, and brings this knowledge base to her work at CJM::LA.  She is the glue that holds us together!


Aiko recently joined CJM::LA as a project manager, and brings experience in mixed-use, hospitality and institutional projects to her role as part of the production team.  She believes in a whole-systems approach to design with a focus on social, economic and environmental equity.

Happy New Year 2023!

Jianhua, Janet, Courtney, Arturo, Aiko, Nicole, Cameron

Sending peace and abundance for 2023.  Happy New Year from our family to yours!


Santa Barbara Beautiful Awards 2022

We are thrilled to announce that our team was recognized by the Santa Barbara Beautiful organization for three outstanding properties at the 2022 Santa Barbara Shines! awards ceremony.

UNITY OF SANTA BARBARA | 2022 Commercial Property Award

This project transformed an existing lawn at the front of a historic mid-century modern church building into an inviting courtyard and entry garden.  Designated as a Structure of Merit by the City of Santa Barbara Historic Landmarks Commission, the existing building was constructed in 1958 in the mid-century modern style.  Our team designed the courtyard and gardens to complement the architectural design of the building and pay homage to the mid-century era, while addressing the functional needs of the Unity organization.

MAYEE PLAZA | 2022 Multi-Family Residence Award

This mixed-use infill housing project in the downtown core of Santa Barbara transformed an existing asphalt parking lot into a new multi-story development including 26 apartments and ground-floor commercial office space.  Our team designed a community courtyard in the space between the new building and the existing historic Louisa Ygnacio House to accommodate residents of the new apartments as well as employees and guests of to the commercial offices on the ground floor.  The decomposed granite, native California plants and Santa Barbara sandstone elements were selected to compliment the design language of the nearby Santa Barbara Historical Museum.

CABRILLO BALL PARK | 2022 Public Open Space Award

Together with the City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department, the CJM::LA team renovated an existing ball field on the Santa Barbara waterfront to address improved community programming, stormwater management and circulation.  A circuit walking trail with exercise equipment, better lighting and biofiltration plantings provide a sense of enclosure while maintaining important sight lines for public safety.