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Landscape Architecture in Venice, CA

Venice, CA has been given many various monikers over the years, from “Roller-skating Capital of the World” to “Bohemia-by-the-Beach” to the “Slum-by-the-Sea,” but there are two extraordinarily distinctive characteristics of the area that will always shine through: its canals, built by entrepreneur Abbott Kinney to resemble Italy’s canals, and the work of its limit pushing designers and architects.

Born in 1905, Venice, CA was the brainchild of developer Abbot Kinney, the beach resort was modeled after Venice, Italy and was one of Southern California’s earliest themed resort environments. Home to a lagoon, a network of canals, and a pier complete with a rollercoaster, Venice became a thriving beach resort, including dance pavilions, roller coasters, bath houses, and famous eateries. Hotels, cottages, and small bungalows were built to serve the patrons and residents of Venice. The early heyday of the city lasted only twenty years and after Kinney’s death in 1920, Venice eventually ceded into the City of Los Angeles and the original canals were filled in to provide streets and better parking. Oil was discovered in the southern area of the city in the 50’s, giving birth to a slew of oil derricks, and the city became a shell of its former glory.

Venice was inherited in the 50’s and 60’s by bohemian artists who took a neglected part of the City of Los Angeles and began to reshape its character via a strong emphasis on the arts, and influenced significantly by the economic and social diversity of the area. In the 70’s and 80’s, Venice residents took those creative and artistic seeds that had been planted and made Venice famous for its’ ground-breaking architecture, much of which is still revered today. The 90’s were witness to the widespread gentrification of Venice, and today it continues to be one of LA’s most famous, eclectic, and unique neighborhoods.

Today, small lot sizes limit expansive opportunities for landscape architecture in the neighborhoods near Venice Beach. Carefully designed homes in Venice put a high significance on outdoor space and natural light despite small, constrained lots. Envisioning and creating beautiful, eclectic, yet diminutive landscaping solutions can be challenging.

Russ Cletta specializes in innovative and dramatic landscapes that reflect an artistic blend of form and function. He lives in Venice, CA and is sensitive to the unique challenges and eclectic aesthetics of the neighborhood. Russ’s work demonstrates a penchant toward minimalism and elemental form and always reflects a deep understanding of each client’s space, its natural surroundings, and the way his client interacts with their environment.

Russ prides himself on working closely with many different high-profile clients and architects. With the ability to manage complex projects and a sophisticated clientele, Russ not only brings creativity and originality to his landscape designs in Venice but also exacting execution and expertise. His extensive technical and artistic background, along with his knowledge of plants, building materials, and environmentally responsible construction practices, results in dramatic, eye-catching and modern landscapes with functionality that evolves over time to accommodate the ever-evolving needs of their users.