Siting the chapel was a significant first step in landscape development, according to landscape architect, George Wickstead. Plantings of native trees, shrubs, and grasses are grown in an informal pattern to help create a gateway to the chapel entry plaza area. All chapel plantings are related to nearby native growth of redwoods, tanbark oaks, firs, Bishop pine, and madrone. Flowering shrubs of azaleas and rhododendrons thrive on the shaded hillsides in springtime and complement the meadow poppies and wild Douglas iris. One of the wonderful benefits of locating the chapel on the edge of The Sea Ranch’s extensive Commons Area is that the wildlife that live here in The Sea Ranch frequent the chapel grounds. You might see deer, rabbit, fox, squirrel, or any number of different species of birds during your visit. They seem to know that they are welcome.
The windswept conical roof of the chapel is made of cedar shingles applied in a flowing pattern to conform to the roof’s unique shape. The floor foundation is a six-inch concrete slab with one-foot thick walls filled with concrete blocks. The chapel’s exterior lower walls utilize the local boulders and rocks seen in the nearby meadow and hillsides. These rocks also surround the intimate courtyard area as low walls and inviting steps to the upper hillside. The courtyard entrance is paved with flagstone from Arizona. Soft sounds of running water issue from the delicate clay fountain which echoes the form of upswept wings. Overhanging the entrance doors, the shingled roof shelters visitors and lends a private and calming entry. The custom teak doors with bronze handles, the courtyard fountain, and interior chandelier are the design and products of the Hubbell Studio in Santa Inez, California. The wooden exterior walls of the chapel shell were made of redwood siding which was dried and molded in place individually. In keeping with the chapel’s sacred purpose, the bronze spire points to the sky and stars and reflects the windblown patterns seen in nature surrounding the site.
The Sea Ranch Chapel Foundation installed two memorial benches on the chapel grounds in the spring of 2013. The benches were purchased from gifts to the memorial fund in honor of the Ditzler Family and John Stewart King. Stone artist, Arthur Horvath, of Mt. Shasta, California crafted the two benches.
They are made from Shasta Peridotite (Granite) that is found as river tumbled boulders in the northern California mountains. The benches were graciously installed by the Nelsen Crane Service. Patricia and Lyle Ditzler were longtime friends of the chapel and instrumental in the installation of the stained-glass windows. The Sea Ranch Chapel was dedicated in memory of their son in 1985. The Ditzler Memorial bench is located in the northwest corner of the chapel meadow. The John Stewart King Memorial Bench is located near the entrance to the chapel.