This short list is a concise introduction to the topic of California landscape history. Check the bibliographies and footnotes in books and articles for more extensive references.

The California Landscape Architecture and Gardens bibliography maintained by the University of California at Berkeley is a good place to start your research:

The most extensive scholarly treatment of California landscape history to date is California Gardens: Creating a New Eden by David C. Streatfield (Abbeville Press in 1994). It was based on a series of in-depth articles by the author.

An earlier, essential reference is Victoria Padilla’s book, Southern California Gardens: An Illustrated History (UC Press, 1961) reprinted by Allen A. Knoll Publishing, Santa Barbara, in 1994.

Harry M. Butterfield (1887-1970) remains the best California horticultural historian. His original articles published in The California Horticultural Journal (later Pacific Horticulture) and his unpublished papers (archived at the University of California, Davis) were the basis for Judith M. Taylor and Harry M. Butterfield, Tangible Memories: Californians and Their Gardens, 1800-1950, a book published in 2003 by Xlibris Corporation.

A revised edition of Michael R. Hardwick’s book, Changes in Landscape: The Beginnings of Horticulture in the California Missions (originally published by the Santa Barbara Mission in 2002) is available from Paragon Agency, Orange, CA.

There are many entries devoted to California designers in Pioneers of American Landscape Design, edited by Charles A. Birnbaum and Robin Karson (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000). Additional entries are included in the follow-up volume: Shaping the American Landscape, edited by Charles A. Birnbaum and Stephanie S. Foell (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009).

Marvelous maps and text for each era illustrate the Historical Atlas of California by Derek Hayes (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007) and illuminate many aspects of the cultural landscape.
M. Kat Anderson’s Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005) is a good survey of the topic by one of its pioneers, and the rich bibliography will lead readers even deeper.