Born in Arizona, Bashford spent her teenage years in California. She took courses at Pasadena’s Polytechnic High School and the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. Traveling to Europe in the 1910s and then again in the 1920s, she studied European gardens. An apprenticeship with Florence Yoch furthered her training as a designer, and in 1923 she opened her own practice working on estates in Southern California. Her early projects included gardens for Harry Bauer, John Barber, and the William C. McDuffie Estate, for which she won an award from the American Institute of Architects, Southern California Chapter. In 1935, Bashford participated in the National Housing Exhibition in Los Angeles. The following year Fred Barlow became a partner in her firm, a relationship that would result in an extensive portfolio of designs including Harbor Hills, Aliso Village, and Ramona Gardens.
Bashford’s work was recognized repeatedly in the publication California Southland, for which she also wrote several articles. She was made a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1936 and in 1938 became the first woman to be elected ASLA Chapter President.