Santa Barbara Botanical Garden Soliciting Designs for Nature’s Playhouses | Homes and Lifestyle


Posted on November 6, 2021
| 12h51

Three theater plans will be selected and partners will receive a stipend of $ 5,000

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Backcountry Casitas’ designs focus on children ages 5 to 13. (Courtesy photo)

The Santa Barbara Botanical Garden is accepting applications for its Backcountry Casitas 2022 program. The garden calls on interested parties to help build natural playhouses that encourage the community, especially families, to get out and play in the natural world .

Three designs will be selected and installed in a new section of the garden which will open in June. All selected partners will receive a stipend of $ 5,000 to support their construction. The program is open to architects, contractors, design-build teams, artists, hobbyists and students.

In its first year, the 2019 Casitas program featured six unique designs built in partnership with local businesses and talent. Each nature playhouse invites visitors to the garden to explore, discover and experience the wonders of nature firsthand through whimsical interactive exhibits that have been on display from six months to two years.

“We are delighted to bring back our casitas program with the public opening of this new garden space in June 2022,” said Joe Rothleutner, director of horticulture and facilities. “It’s such a fun and creative way to promote local talent while adding a new immersive dimension to the garden.

“I look forward to working with all of our new partners and inviting families to connect with nature and native plants through this experience. “

To be considered for Backcountry Casitas, designs must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 15th. Applicants are asked to attend the Zoom pre-conception meeting hosted by the Botanical Garden at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, November 16. [email protected] to RSVP for the call and receive a link.

While all designs are accepted, the garden encourages designs constructed with natural materials and suitable for the target audience (ages 5-13, but suitable for families and guests of all ages). The selection committee will judge the designs based on the following criteria:

Creativity, imagination and environmentally conscious design
Get involved for the whole family
Good collaboration between individuals and / or companies
Creative use of materials
Flexibility in the installation and relocation of casitas
The durability of the structure for inclement weather and intensive use by children
Relationship with The Garden’s mission (to promote the conservation of native California plants)

The Botanical Garden is open to the public every day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and offers a member time from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. For more information, visit


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