Meet the Team: Daniel Mazawa

Meet the Team: Daniel Mazawa

It’s a beautiful summer day to Meet the Team! This month we are highlighting our General Manager – fearless leader and plant guru – Daniel. His passion for our work is deep-rooted and contagious: it is felt by everyone who has the pleasure of working with him. Our team wouldn’t be the same without our pun-loving, surf-styling manager! Read more below to get to know a bit about him!

  1. How long have you been working at Madrone?

I have been working at Madrone for 11 ½ years.  I started in December 2007 right at the beginning of the Great Recession.  With a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture and a couple years of running and working in small design build landscape companies, it was a tough time to be starting out on your own.  Before Madrone, work simply ran out.  I reached out to a former Landscape Architect professor, Stratton Semmes, and she told me to come and talk to Rick Mathews at Madrone Landscapes.  I interviewed with Rick in my nicest button up shirt, slacks, and shoes, willing to help out however I could as a 25-year old young adult.  The next day, I came in with work boots and jeans and started running landscape construction jobs. As time went on, I took on design, estimating, and sales while managing construction projects.  Madrone was about 10 people and we all did what we could to survive in the dismal economy of 2007-2010.  Sure enough, things turned around and the phone started ringing.  We started working with business consultants to organize our roles and the company makeup to handle more work.  We started building the team of key people we still have today and it helped us get past the hurdle of being an awkwardly small company where everyone wears a lot of hats.

Today we have about 25 people and 4 distinct departments: Design, Construction, Maintenance, and Service.  Our capability, organization, and talent has grown.  I have been the General Manager for the last 4 years and it has been an honor to work with such great people and see how much we can accomplish working together.

2. What is your favorite thing about working at Madrone?

My favorite thing about working at Madrone Landscapes is the culture.  We have some unique characters and everyone is free to be themselves.  We spend most of our adult lives at work, so it is important that we make the best of it.  The support I feel from everyone, and the comradery I see really makes me feel good about working here.

3. What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on and why?

My favorite project is Halter Ranch Vineyard.  Before I came on in 2007, Madrone had already installed several projects on the property.  When I started working with Halter Ranch, there were several multi-firm design and construction collaborations for various projects.  Everyone involved shared a pride in the work.  It was fun to work with the ownership and other trades with the common goal of producing the best product we could.  Halter Ranch’s internal team shares a lot of our core values like stewardship, quality, teamwork, and integrity.  Not to mention, we have installed some of the most beautiful landscapes of our portfolio there.  We have won 3 county and statewide CLCA awards in 2012 and 2016, notably 1st place Large Commercial Construction in 2016 for the Tasting Room Landscape.  Having a stoked team that works well together and produces award winning projects is a true privilege.  To add to that, the property is open to the public 7 days a week and it is great to be able to enjoy the landscape and share it with others.  Win, win, win!

4. What is your favorite, or least favorite, plant and why?

My favorite plant is ever-evolving and it really comes from emotions and horticultural nerdiness.  If you are not a plant nerd, you may want to skip this section ;). Generally, I get excited about seeing California native plants in their prime season.  Right now in summer, Mimulus aurantiacus, Mimulus ‘Cone Peak,’ Trichostema lanatum are pretty awesome mid-summer bloomers, with the Trichstema having one of the coolest scents.  In the winter and spring, Salvia spathacea is beautifully blooming and fragrant, while the Satureja douglasii is the most refreshing herby mint scent of all.  In fall, the Zauschneria (way more fun to say than Epilobium) is a showstopper.  Basically, growing up in California, then learning the plants, allows me to flash back to memories exploring the woods as a kid.  If I step on a Gnaphalium californicum, it smells just like maple syrup and brings me back to the walk home from the bus stop in 5th grade, where we would step on them.  Native trees are also very dear to me.  I grew up in a mixed evergreen forest with Quercus agrifolia, Quercus lobata, Quercus keloggii, Acer macrophyllum, Arbutus menziesii, Heteromeles arbutifolia, Umbellularia californica, and Sequoia sempervirens.  Being in a forest feels like home to me, anywhere in the world.  Finally, the almighty tomato, my first introduction to gardening.  I owe my career to growing tomatoes as a kid and developing a great appreciation for how good a home-grown tomato can taste.  The connections to plants in my youth definitely shaped me as a person.  The beauty of horticulture is that it is limitless with cool things to learn every day.

When it comes to landscape installation, I have a different set of favorites and least favorites based on performance.  As I see more landscapes mature, I tend to like to design a majority of long-lived low maintenance plants with far less perennials and high maintenance flowering plants.  There is nothing worse than showing up to a landscape 5 years later to see that it was not maintained to your vision and plants have died.  Therefore, my pragmatic favorite plants are: Rhamnus californica ‘Leatherleaf’, Chondropetalum tectorum, Carex divulsa, Arctostaphylos (several good Manzanita), Quercus (agrifolia & lobata), Pistacia chinensis, Cedrus deodora, Cistus ‘Sunset’, Muhlenbergia rigens, Pennisetum spathiolatum, Agave ‘Frosty Blue’, and of course Arbutus ‘Marina’.  My least favorite plants are invasive pests such as Cortadera selloana, Ehrhart acalcina, Arundo donax, Delairea odorata, Stipa tenuissima, and Cytisus scoparius.  These plants threaten our native California landscape – which means a lot to me.

5.   What’s one of the things on your bucket list?

On my bucket list is getting my Landscape Architecture License.  I haven’t needed it personally to do my job, but it is something I could get this year with the little I have remaining in the process.  Life has a way of changing plans, and it has been evading me thus far.  Free time to study is what it will take.  I will get it done, and hopefully very soon.

In Focus: CLCA Beautification Awards 2019

In Focus: CLCA Beautification Awards 2019

By: Ian Parker

2019 continues to fly by, and as Spring came to a close we were honored to once again participate in the California Landscape Contractor’s Association’s Beautification Awards competition.  This annual event invites Landscape Contractors from throughout  San Luis Obispo County to submit their top projects to be judged by a panel of highly regarded landscape professionals.  Judging of the projects is based on a strict criteria of artistic and technical achievement, with a focus on quality and workmanship. 

For this year’s event, Madrone Landscapes entered four of our recent projects, and we are excited to announce that all four projects brought home top prizes in their respective categories!  We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the projects and delve into what makes them worthy of top honors!

Project Spotlight:  Gampe Residence

Category:  Medium Residential Landscape Installation

Award: 1st Place – Medium Residential Landscape Installation

Description:  This project, completed in the Fall of 2018, posed a tough design challenge as we were asked to make a big impact in a small space.  High end finishes like a stone veneered retaining wall and a beautiful, flowing Sweetwater Flagstone patio border helped provide the artistic touches that the Client was after.  A beautiful blend of pea gravel and river cobble does a wonderful job of complementing the drought tolerant plant palette, creating pound for pound one of our favorite projects of the year.  We couldn’t be more pleased with the results!

Project Spotlight:  Humphrey Residence

Category:  Large Residential Landscape Installation

Award: 1st Place – Large Residential Landscape Installation

Description:  Nestled in a beautiful North County Live Oak forest, this project combines all that makes landscaping on the Central Coast of California so special.  The architecture and aesthetic of the home called for an updated take on the ‘English Cottage Garden’ aesthetic, which our designers were able to accomplish through a predominately California Native plant palette. The beautiful custom trellises in the back yard do a wonderful job of complimenting the accents of the home, and provide an improved level of comfort and security as you enjoy the lawn area – which is often used to host summer concerts for the client and their friends.  Stamped and colored concrete walkways meander through the landscape, providing safe passage while softening the rigidity often associated with the use of concrete.  Several unique seating areas provide the perfect vantage point to enjoy the abundance of birds, butterflies and bees that frequent the garden. Overall, this project has proven to be an achievement worthy of recognition!

Project Spotlight:  Pataye Residence

Category:  Residential Estate Landscape Installation

Award: Design / Build Award – All Categories (Installation)

Architect: Jade Architecture             Builder:  Semmes and Co. Builders (GC)

Description:  Easily one of our favorite projects of the past year, the Pataye Residence is one that demands you stop and take notice.  The architecture of this new home and the natural beauty of the location are amazing on their own, so we knew that only a contemporary take on the California Native garden would suffice. Our designers opted to use Carex praegracillis in place of traditional lawn, and chose to irrigate with sub-surface drip irrigation – conserving water, and falling right in line with the environmental focus of this off-grid masterpiece. The entry courtyard features a one-of-a-kind water wall which collects and cascades into a large reflection pool, stimulating all the senses. The unique details and high-end features of this project made it both fun and gratifying to work on at every phase, and we are so excited to receive this prestigious award for our efforts!

Project Spotlight: Edwards Residence

Category:  Residential Estate Maintenance

Award: Sweepstakes Award – Best of All Categories (Maintenance)

Description:  Completed in 2014, this gorgeous Madrone landscape has been one of our favorites for a long time. The 5 acre property features several acres of vineyard, as well as numerous outdoor living spaces surrounded by beautiful drought tolerant landscaping.  Proper planning and installation has made this property a dream to maintain. Now, as a budding 5 year old landscape, we felt it was time for this property to get the recognition that it deserves.  Our wonderful clients recognize the maintenance needs of such a gorgeous property, and encourage us to take the time to focus on the details and keep things looking their best.  Kudos to our maintenance team for doing such a great job and bringing home the highest landscape maintenance honor in the County!

Nine Questions to ask Before Hiring a Landscape Maintenance Contractor

Nine Questions to ask Before Hiring a Landscape Maintenance Contractor

Top tips for selecting a landscape maintenance team

From weekly to seasonal maintenance, to event preparation, or landscape enhancements: here are the top questions to ask to ensure you hire a licensed professional who will meet your needs.

1. How long have you been in business?

A company that has been in business ten years or more is likely a reliable, trustworthy contractor. Whether you are a homeowner who needs weekly maintenance or a commercial property owner who needs pest control, check the company’s portfolio to see whether they have expertise on projects like yours.

Madrone Landscapes has been in business for over 40 years. We offer weekly gardening services for residential clients in North San Luis Obispo County and estate maintenance for the broader San Luis Obispo County, Northern Santa Barbara County, and Southern Monterey County. We also offer high quality commercial, municipal, and HOA maintenance services for all of San Luis Obispo County.

2. What kind of insurance and licensing do you have?

Your landscaping company should have workers compensation insurance, general liability insurance, bonded workers and appropriate state licensing. For weed, pest, and disease control, your maintenance contractor will need to be spray certified.  

Madrone Landscapes has workers compensation insurance and general liability insurance. Our landscape maintenance crews are bonded, and we maintain a California state landscape contractor license.

3.Do you have specialists on staff?

Professional landscaping firms will employ experts with degrees in landscape architecture and horticulture. They should have expertise in landscape irrigation, as well as thorough knowledge of the type of plants you have growing in your landscape design.

At Madrone Landscapes, our degreed and trained landscape designers and horticulturists establish and maintain our clients’ landscapes in superior condition. Our landscape maintenance teams are led by Taryn Via, Maintenance Manager. With a background in property management, Taryn has over 13 years of experience working directly with homeowners, HOAs, and commercial property owners.

4.What services do you offer?

Homeowners, commercial property owners, and HOAs all require different services for different properties. Ensure the company you hire provides the services you require. Traditionally, maintenance projects may include mowing and editing, irrigation repair, fertilizing, dead-heading, and mulching. Larger projects may need specialized maintenance at different intervals throughout the year. Consider whether you need seasonal maintenance, event preparation, and/or regular landscape enhancement.

5.How do your maintenance crews practice sustainability? Do you offer alternatives to chemicals?

If sustainability is important to you, be sure to ask about alternatives to fertilizer and chemicals. Companies at the forefront of landscaping will employ methods such as compost tea fertilizer, integrated pest management, and organic fertilizers, ensuring your yard is a safe and healthy place for your family.

At Madrone Landscapes, we are known for sustainable practices. We focus on plant health and the effective use of water. Our Healthy Gardens program introduces organic methods to fertilizer and weed, pest, and disease control.

6.Can you provide us with an estimate?

A professional landscape contractor will provide you an estimate tailored to your individual needs. After visiting your project, listening to your needs and requirements, they will ask you questions to determine your exact needs.

Madrone Landscapes provides a customized written estimate for each project.

7.What does my contract include?

Once you’ve accepted your estimate, your landscape contract will provide you a contract outlining what to expect on each visit, ranging from weekly maintenance to seasonal maintenance, plant replacement, and irrigation repairs.

At Madrone Landscapes, each contract is different – just like each project. Once we’ve discussed your estimate, we put together a custom contract specifically for you.

8. How do you communicate with clients?

Will you have an account manager assigned to you? Will they call you to schedule appointments, or simply send notices in your invoice?

Our Maintenance Manager, Taryn Via, is the one point of contact for our maintenance clients.

9. Will you provide references?

In addition to checking Yelp to see how the company ranks, ask for references, including addresses. Check the properties to see if they are maintained at the level you expect for your own property, whether residential or commercial. Madrone Landscapes recently was awarded “Top-rated Local” for ranking in the top-five landscape companies in the state for customer satisfaction.

We are happy to provide a list of references for you to call and testimonials for your review!

Do you have additional questions? Call us at the office and ask for Taryn Via, Maintenance Manager at (805) 466-6263.

Design Styles for the Central Coast

Design Styles for the Central Coast

by Jules Welch

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when looking at an empty plot of land or a back yard in disrepair. Luckily for homeowners, HOA’s, and commercial property owners, landscape designers see your space as a blank canvas—a unique opportunity to meld function with artistic expression. Design style plays a huge part in every built environment, and often incorporates a colorful mix of the owner’s personality, designer’s aesthetic, and greater climatic and cultural context. Some design styles that are popular for our coastal California area include:

                -Contemporary/Minimalist

                -English Cottage/Craftsman

                -Xeriscape/Native/Low Water

                -Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial Revival

There is a lot of overlap when it comes to style, but certain core characteristics define each aesthetic. Read more about these traits to find out what speaks to you:

Contemporary/Minimalist:

Colloquially described as “modern” design, contemporary landscapes are influenced by mid-century modern art and architecture but are defined by their cutting-edge qualities for the present day (which, technically, could be any style). However, when someone refers to a contemporary landscape, they are likely describing a geometric style which features minimalism, clean lines, and grid layouts. Contemporary design is often used in commercial projects such as campuses, plazas, and office buildings; it may also be used to complement custom homes. These landscapes generally favor green foliage over colorful flowers, with intentional spacing and simple hardscapes like concrete or pea gravel.

Gain Inspiration: Andrea Cochran is a renowned Bay Area designer known for her spacious designs with an emphasis on form.

English Cottage/Craftsman:

English Cottage Gardens came into their own during the industrial revolution, when families fled city life for remote holiday cottages in the country. This mix of ideologies brought a unique design sense which mixes the formal with the chaotic. English cottage gardens can be identified by their overgrown, lush look, usually incorporating lawn and border plantings among tightly-grouped flowering perennials.

Gain Inspiration: Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) was known for her craftsman inspired cottage gardens, using color “rooms” to achieve dynamic and natural mass plantings.

Xeriscape/Native/Low Water:

Xeriscape is a style of landscape design which requires minimal irrigation and maintenance, focusing on efficient use of water. Often using native and native-adjacent plants, these water-wise gardens tend to evoke an arid, desert feel. Gravel, cactus, and decomposed granite are the keystone elements of a xeriscape. Designers also incorporate sustainable water-harvesting elements such as planted swales and rain gardens into their xeriscapes. Native California gardens can still look lush, colorful, and attractive, while still retaining their drought-tolerant, low maintenance qualities.

Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial Revival:

Most coastal regions in California have a Mediterranean climate, meaning that numerous plant species from Southern France, Italy, and Spain thrive here! Mediterranean design styles bring lavender, olive trees, and Italian cypress into California’s landscape. It is also the origin of our incredible wine culture. Often using plaza-style patios, pavers, vines, and potted plants, Mediterranean design makes the most of sun/shade, views, and crops. Sometimes used to describe Spanish Colonial Revival style, these gardens often incorporate stucco walls, tile, and cooling water features. Symmetry and striking, sculptural plants with colorful foliage often come into play.

What’s your Design Style?

Design style can be subtle or overt, but it is responsible for the feeling we get in an outdoor environment, whether familiar or obscure, nostalgic or innovative, cozy or vast. Most importantly, though, it’s what makes home feel like home.

All About Design-Build Landscape Construction

All About Design-Build Landscape Construction

A better investment and landscape, from design through construction

 

What is Design-Build Landscaping?

Design-Build landscaping is quite common. Unfortunately, a homeowner or building owner will often hire a landscape contractor to install plants and irrigation without design. This is not the ideal scenario. As with any type of building, it is always best to begin with a design.  When you hire a landscape team that does both design and installation, that is design-build landscaping.

Why Design-Build?

When done by experienced professionals, the teamwork involved in the design-build process for landscape construction can add a lot of value to your finished landscape. Often an integration of architects, designers, engineers, and builders, the design-build process takes advantage of professional, licensed experts working together from concept to finished construction. The goal of this integrated process is to fulfill your priorities of landscape design and budget. At Madrone Landscapes we believe strongly in the design-build process because the benefits are twofold: it allows us to do incredible work with and build great relationships with both our peers and our clients.

Two Major Types of Landscape Construction: What are the Differences?

Design-Bid-Build: The design-bid-build process is common in the construction industry for clients who want separate design and construction firms. A landscape designer will provide plans for you, and then you will ask contractors to bid the plans. The design can go quickly if there are no cost limitations discussed. Once the contractors provide their costs to install the project, you may be shocked to see how much it will cost to build. This is when you or the contractor decides how to change the design to fit within the construction budget (this process is called value engineering, where items are removed from a plan or less expensive options are chosen to reduce overall cost). You may also go back to the landscape designer to re-design (typically for an extra fee). In design-bid-build, you select a contractor based on the bid price. It then becomes your responsibility to orchestrate all of the design and construction activities – including introducing the contractor to the designer.

Design-Build: At Madrone Landscapes, we specialize in the design-build process. We provide construction cost estimates during the design process (for more information, see https://madronelandscapes.com/services/design/). This usually adds time to the overall design time, for good reason. Knowing construction costs during the design process allows you to make decisions on where to spend money and keeps the plan within the desired budget. A cost-informed design means the value engineering is done well before the project starts. The engineers, architects, and builders will be working together with the landscape designer to make sure that there are few unforeseen lapses between designs or construction activities. We become the expert advocate for you in design and construction and we handle scheduling and coordination with all parties involved.

Five Tips for Clients in Design-Build Landscaping

1. Know what you need/want before you start.

Often times a client will come to us with a list of items they want designed into their landscape, such as a patio, wall, fountain or pergola. What they may actually mean is that they need a shady place to entertain guests with pretty things to look at. While your spouse may want a fountain, he or she may appreciate boulders and flowers just as much. When you prioritize your goals before starting design, you can prevent being caught off guard during the design process. Design is almost always a team decision. If you can align your wants and needs before the design starts, your design will turn out better and go more quickly.

2. Establish a construction budget.

Before starting in the design process, establish a budget or range for what you intend to spend on construction, and share that information with your designer. This will help them design within range. Typically, the construction cost of landscapes is between 10 to 25 times the design fee, although this may vary.

3. Take your time with budget decisions.

During the beginning of the design process decisions are easy; we refer to this as the Honeymoon period. You may find yourself saying, “I love that stone veneer, it looks just like the picture I saw on Houzz!” After construction costs are introduced, major design elements may be on the chopping block. Do you keep the outdoor kitchen, or the stone paving? Allow yourself time, so you don’t rush these decisions.

4. Trust your gut – and your landscape team.

Taking on a big project will affect the ambiance of your daily life and the investment of your funds is hard to do alone. You need experts you can trust to help you achieve your goals. If you don’t have a level of trust with your landscape designer, it will not work. This means you need to feel comfortable giving them both positive and negative feedback, and they need to feel comfortable giving you good and bad news. Your designer will not only be helping you with the initial design, but also will be helping to navigate any obstacles encountered during construction.

5. Communicate often and clearly.

During design and construction, changes happen. In order to best facilitate these changes, we will ask a lot of questions to make sure we are designing efficiently. Whether you would like to give us artistic license on decisions, or you have particular opinions that need to be known, it is important you communicate your preferences clearly.

A Better Investment and Landscape

It’s our experience that the design-build process produces a better product with stronger teamwork and a healthy working relationship. The process takes time to do well. Expect two to six months of design before construction for custom residential updates, and often longer for new home or new commercial construction. Being well prepared can shorten this time frame. We want to establish a good relationship with you so that it can last through the design and construction. Since we’re nearly wrapping up the first quarter of 2019, getting a landscape designed and built in 2019 starts now. If you have new construction, you should consider hiring your landscape designer at the same time that you hire an architect. We strongly believe that the design-build relationship you foster with us will make you feel good about the investment and the landscape you create.

Meet the Team: Taryn Via

Meet the Team: Taryn Via

It’s a perfect day to Meet the Team! This March, we are showing some love to our amazing Maintenance Manager: Taryn Via! As head of our Maintenance department, Taryn works incredibly hard to make sure all of our current and prospective maintenance clients are well taken care of, and she does a great job! While she is often out in the field, Taryn’s warm and friendly presence is always felt at our office. They say that dogs can sense a person’s character, and all the office dogs (both regulars and visitors) flock to her office – that says a lot right there! Get to know more about Taryn below!

  1. How long have you been working at Madrone? I started at Madrone in May 2018
  2. What is your favorite thing about working at Madrone? I love the fun, family atmosphere
  3. What is your favorite, or least favorite, plant and why? Favorite plant/tree is the Albizia Julibrissin because of the broad, silky leafs and bright flowers. It reminds me of a tropical island.
  4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and who would you bring? If I could go anywhere it would be Ireland and I would bring my daughters. It’s such a blessing to be able to travel and see the world, and I would love to have my kids alongside me during that adventure.
  5. What’s one of your favorite things to do outside of work? One of my favorite things to do outside of work is exploring tide pools. There is an indescribable, mysterious peace that the ocean brings!
How to Create the Perfect Outdoor Gathering Space

How to Create the Perfect Outdoor Gathering Space

Top Tips for Outdoor Spaces, from Intimate to Crowd-Pleasing

Imagine RELAXING! Finally… after a week that took few prisoners. Here on the Central Coast, we like to turn to our outdoor gathering spaces to enjoy our time and recharge our batteries. It may be at home, or it may be at a winery, restaurant or bar. So, if you’re planning to improve your hospitality business or your home, here are some tips for patio landscaping:

Form Follows Function – Your outdoor gathering space needs to be beautiful AND It needs to serve its purpose. Whether used for cooking, eating, drinking, entertainment, or warming by the firepit, make sure it works; and then make sure it feels good to be there.

It’s a Material(s) World – When considering patio hardscape design, the materials need to be appropriate to complement the space, as well as fitting your style, priorities, and budget. Materials choices also determine the cost of energy over time. Obviously, these energy costs can and should be kept as low as possible. Energy savings can be greatly affected by good Site Design, careful planning of machinery use, and wise choices of the landscape materials themselves, and their embodied energy (including manufacture, extraction, shipping and life-cycle energy costing).

So Imagine Relaxing… leaning back in a comfortable patio chair, warming next to the fire pit, feet up, a glass of wine close by, enjoying the last rays of the sunset. It’s hard to beat the feeling of enjoying your outdoor environment when it suits your needs and lifestyle.

Or….visit a winery or outdoor event that has captured the essence of what makes THAT place so special. Successful patio hardscape design can do a lot to add to your relaxation and recharging, contentment and inspiration.

If we can help, let us know: 805-466-6263. MadroneLandscapes.com

 

 Oh, wait – That’s the Getty. Never mind!

Meet the Team: Christy Dufault

Meet the Team: Christy Dufault

The skies are clear and it’s a beautiful day to Meet the Team! For February, we are shining the spotlight on an amazing member of our Sales team: Christy Dufault! Her warm smile greets you when you first walk into the Madrone office, and her estimating efforts are vital to our design and construction teams. If you called our office lately, you probably had the pleasure of chatting with her. Christy’s positivity is contagious, and she is an absolute joy to work with. Thanks for all your hard work, Christy! We asked her some questions about life both inside and outside of Madrone – see what she said below!

  1. How long have you been working at Madrone? Three years!
  2. What is your favorite thing about working at Madrone? The people I work with and seeing our clients’ landscapes transform into beautiful and usable spaces.
  3. What is your favorite plant and why? Any herb that I can successfully grow in my garden and cook with.
  4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and who would you bring? That’s a long list, but for this year I’m hoping to go to Costa Rica with my husband.
  5. What’s one of your favorite things to do outside of work? Right now I’m working on growing a food garden and I’m trying to bake more. I recently started experimenting with sourdoughs, which has been a fun and rewarding challenge.

Tips for Creating a Lush, Sustainable Landscape

Tips for Creating a Lush, Sustainable Landscape

Tips for Creating a Lush, Sustainable Landscape

A Guide for Central Coast Homeowners

It’s 2019! If you’re thinking about landscaping this year, keep sustainability in mind. So, what does that mean? Here’s how author and landscape architect Owen Dell describes a sustainable landscape:

“Imagine a garden that rarely needs pruning, watering or fertilizing. One where natural controls usually take care of pest problems before the gardener even becomes aware of them. A peaceful garden where the sound of blowers, power mowers, or chain saws never intrudes. Imagine a garden that also serves as a climate control for the house, keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter; a garden that traps rainwater in an attractive streambed to deeply irrigate the trees and recharge the groundwater; one that provides habitat for wildlife and food for people. Imagine a garden that truly works. This is the sustainable garden—not barren or sacrificial, but as lush and beautiful as any other without all the struggle and waste.”

In considering your landscape project, good planning is vital. Creating a design can save you time and money by coordinating your efforts to make the most of your space, time, and budget. What are the uses you’d like to incorporate? Hardscape areas like patios, play areas and structures, or water features can all make your property work for you. When contemplating how you’ll be using the areas, think about the materials. Are they sustainably produced and sourced? Consider the Embodied Energy impacts, which include everything it takes to have a material available for your use.

Any discussion of California landscaping will include irrigation. Irrigation systems need to be accurate, low-flow and timed appropriately to keep plants healthy and thriving. When thinking about the plants, whether shrubs, trees, veggies or turf, think about conserving resources, especially over time. California Native Plants can often be very good choices to include in your design. Local native plants are often the most climate compatible and lowest maintenance choices.

These are just a few of the sustainable principles you can use as guidelines to maximize your landscape efforts. And in doing so, take advantage of living in the incredible region of California’s Central Coast. Make time to get out and enjoy yourselves in your gardens. They offer unique opportunities to unwind and relieve stress. Reconnect with things natural, beautiful and up close. Even in our own gardens we are connected in a very real way to the larger landscape, and how we have a responsibility to sustain the health and beauty of our beloved Central Coast. Let’s make it work for the long run.

Want more information on Central Coast resource-friendly landscapes? Here’s a short video hosted by our own Rick Mathews.

Meet the Team: Jules Welch

Meet the Team: Jules Welch

It’s a beautiful day to Meet the Team! This month, we are highlighting one of our amazing designers: Jules Welch. When she started working at Madrone, Jules dove right in. Her eye for aesthetic is absolutely remarkable, and her positivity and warm personality are sure to make you smile! She’s already helped put some gorgeous projects in the ground, with many more to come. Thanks for sharing your creative visions with us, Jules! See what she said when we asked her some questions about herself and about being part of the team:

How long have you been working at Madrone? Since May of 2018.

What is your favorite thing about working at Madrone? Getting to sit next to Ian, Megan, and Christy every day. I love the design team!

What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on and why?  Gampe Residence. He was a really easy going client, and it’s a small space that emphasized quality over quantity!

What is your favorite, or least favorite, plant and why? Favorite plant: Giant sequoia because the species is as old as dinosaurs and the oldest living specimen is 3200 years old- imagine having a conversation with that tree! Least favorite plant: It’s seen a lot… society garlic. It’s smelly and sticky. Bleck.

What’s one of the things on your bucket list? Design/build a prominent public art piece at a large scale for people to take selfies with!

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