Lockwood de Forest III was born in New York City in 1896. His father was a well-known landscape painter, and as a teenager, Lockwood was sent to the Thacher School in Ojai, California. There he fell in love with Southern California and after a brief stay at Williams College for a semester and a Grand Tour of Europe, Lockwood settled in Santa Barbara. After working for landscape architect Ralph Stevens, de Forest started his own landscape architecture firm, where he worked mainly on residential properties in Santa Barbara and Montecito.
In 1925, Lockwood de Forest married Elizabeth Kellam and together they wrote and published The Santa Barbara Gardener magazine. Elizabeth assisted with the landscape designs and took over the practice after Lockwood's death in 1949.
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