Breaking Down the Madrone Mission Statement 

Breaking Down the Madrone Mission Statement 

Our mission is to create inspirational landscapes that cultivate the natural beauty of California’s Central Coast

Create in our mission statement refers to the entire design/build process. Design is often the first phase of Madrone’s services. Our initial consultations begin the process that will produce a plan. We work closely with our clients through give-and-take interactions to refine their original concepts and solidify the scope of work.

Create also refers to our work on site. Whether through planting, irrigation, or construction, all phases can be approached and implemented creatively and with innovation, artistic elements, and inspiration.

Inspiration originates from a personal state of mind and is unique, based on perspectives and influences. As a company of green professionals, we’re grateful for the daily inspiration we find in being able to promote and enhance the beauty and health of the Central Coast—culturally as well as biologically. It is an honor to help cultivate one of the best places on Earth to live.

We prioritize inspired creation in our approach to design/build landscaping. Madrone designers and field crews alike tap into inspiration by asking the following question about every single project we contract: What is the “stoke factor” of this job? Every project and client has them, and it’s our job to find and maximize that “stoke”—or inspirational factor—for and with our clients.

Landscapes enhance the effects of the sites they beautify, inspiring those who visit or inhabit them. One of the most common ways is through memorials to loved ones. Whether it is a tree planted in someone’s name, small, personalized elements, or dedicated gardens, these memorials can keep us in touch with our loved ones in the most beautiful and gratifying ways. Memorials can contribute to a sense of home or place and help create an Outdoor Sanctuary. Now more than ever, it’s important to create a personal sense of safety and comfort. Let your garden give you inspiration.

Cultivate helps emphasize both the physical nature of our work and our goals of promoting, protecting, and enhancing the natural beauty of the Central Coast. Development done incorrectly, whether commercial or residential, can impact and damage the environment. Our approach to landscaping seeks to recognize and understand development impacts and mitigate or avoid negative effects as much as possible.

California’s Central Coast provides one of the best climates for humans to live and thrive. As community members, we include a social component in our cultivation of life here. We strive to give back and have made doing so a practice. From building and dedicating gardens to contributing support for addressing social and cultural concerns, we believe it is incumbent on us to continue to earn our place as positive members of our community. Free enterprise includes the responsibility to give as well as the privilege to take.

It is with gratitude and determination that at Madrone Landscapes, we are continuing our mission into a new year and beyond.

Four Winter-hardy Plants for the California Central Coast

Four Winter-hardy Plants for the California Central Coast

Here on the central coast, we don’t typically have freezing temperatures, and we have fewer plants that die back or go dormant during these colder, wetter months. During the winter months when nothing else in the garden is showing its colors, here are four of our favorite plants to steal the show.

Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks) This cold-hardy succulent comes in a variety of colors and can be planted in rocky places with very little soil. We love the look it creates when you stick them in cracks and crevices of stone walls or walkways.

Nandina ‘Fire Power’ is a great evergreen shrub that has year-round interest. It is especially beautiful in the fall and winter: the leaves turn a deep red with cold weather.

Arctostaphylos ‘Howard McMinn’ is a low-maintenance, low water-use shrub. Manzanitas are striking year-round thanks to their evergreen leaves and gorgeous red bark, but their dainty winter blooms really give them another dimension.

Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Irene’ like Manzanitas, Trailing Rosemary is low-maintenance and low water use. When planted on top of retaining walls and allowed to drape over, they add drama to your garden, while their scent and seasonal flowers give them an added edge over some of the other trailing plant materials.

Tasting Room Landscapes in the 2020s

Tasting Room Landscapes in the 2020s

Wineries on the California Central Coast have had their share of curveballs dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, but some have been well-suited to adapt to changing times. The tasting room experience could be considered even more valuable today for its ability to give visitors a relaxed, open-air experience as a respite from the headlines. As a follow up to our 2018 article Five Landscape Design Tips for California Central Coast Tasting Rooms we caught up with two notable winery leaders to see how the landscapes were faring in the pandemic.

In spring of 2020, all wineries were forced to halt in-person tastings for 10 weeks. When wineries could reopen, they were limited to providing tastings in outdoor spaces by and with proper social distancing. June McIvor of Tolosa Winery said they had to reduce their outside capacity somewhat to accommodate distancing requirements and they began offering online reservations in addition to the phone and email reservations they had already been encouraging. The winery shifted lounge spaces to tables and spread them out for proper spacings and reduced maximum group size. The variety of patio spaces and strategically located small planters provided the flexibility to adapt their space and fit people.

June reports the winery is welcoming many new guests from population hubs in Northern and Southern California who are traveling by car to vacation on the Central Coast. Locals and visitors alike are “looking for normalcy” and she feels that the relaxed atmosphere of tasting wine in a beautiful garden patio is greatly appreciated. She remarks, “We are grateful we renovated,” and because of thoughtful pre-pandemic design they are well-positioned to adapt to pandemic constraints.

Damian Grindley of Brecon Estate also had to rethink the outdoor table layout for tastings and reservations and has seen similar success. Surprisingly, he had considered moving to reservations-only prior to COVID-19. The requirement forced Brecon Estate into a reservation system early but with little pushback. He correlates reservations with better customer satisfaction because of a more controllable experience with adequate staffing to the reservation load. Satisfied customers will buy more wine.

The “relaxed Central Coast” vibe of Brecon Estate draws in locals and visitors with the goal of making customers feel welcome and comfortable. As far as the winery renovation and landscape built in the last six years, he says, “we almost could not have designed it better.” The comfortable outdoor spaces and detached outdoor restroom building worked out particularly well for COVID-19 restrictions.

With the respite wineries provide, demand for outdoor tasting room space will continue into the winter. Tolosa Winery has extended their outdoor tasting room season using tents for weather protection. Brecon has room for tents but is considering alternative layouts for patio design with tents in mind. A couple of feet one way or the other can make the difference for a great fit.

With outdoor tasting areas at a premium, savvy wineries will put thought into providing comfortable usable spaces for winter weather.

Here are five tips for wineries that are thinking of renovating their tasting room landscapes to accommodate customers looking for a great experience.

Pataye Residence: 2020 Green Landscape Honor Award

Pataye Residence: 2020 Green Landscape Honor Award

Madrone Landscapes has been honored with the Central Coast Green Building Chapter Green Landscape Award for the Pataye residence.

The beautiful Pataye residence is a contemporary, off grid home featuring rammed earth blocks and set in a forest along the northern central coast of California. Madrone Landscapes incorporated the contemporary architecture with the mixed evergreen forest, maximizing usable outdoor space while minimizing maintenance and energy inputs.

The award-winning design includes a simple, low-maintenance plant palette to complement and showcase the modern home design, using native, drought-tolerant plants with dramatic details and striking contrasts. The foliage color and texture to create an impressive effect alongside the modern home.

Madrone Landscapes’ entry courtyard feature has a one-of-a-kind water wall that collects and cascades into a large reflection pool, stimulating all the senses. The diagonally-set pavers, featuring locally-sourced rock mulch, provide a striking accent that helps tie the contemporary with the surrounding landscape. Solar panels were installed to efficiently and automatically power low voltage LED lighting off the grid. Madrone also created a lawn area with a beautiful, native turf substitute. 

A subsurface drip irrigation system was installed to conserve water, reduce environmental impact and maintenance. A ‘smart’ irrigation controller was included which draws satellite weather information and automatically adjusts run times and saves water. Madrone’s design also redirects rainfall to the nearby natural creeks and watershed.

Madrone Landscapes wishes to thank the Pataye family and the Central Coast Green Building Chapter for this honor.

Project Architect: Jade Architecture
Contractor: Semmes and Co. Builders
Qualified Nurseries: West Covina, Boething Treeland, Native Sons and Village Nurseries

Newly Built: Atascadero Woodland Retreat

Newly Built: Atascadero Woodland Retreat

Some of our projects are intended for broader appreciation and aesthetics, while others are much more personalized. The Atascadero Woodland Retreat project was specifically catered to a more familial and hands-on finish with the client involved every step of the way.

Landscapes as a whole are meant to be actively enjoyed and cared for, which made this particular client’s requests exciting for us. This entire project was built upon the desire for an intimate space meant for interaction. With kids, pets, and the personalized intent of the space, we made sure that this landscape was one this family could make their own. Some of the design and construction leaned toward the traditional: paved paths, a large and intricate deck installation around their beautiful oak trees and fencing to keep kids and pets safe. But some of the project was quite innovative: rather than building out the collective vision entirely on our own, we provided planters with prepped soil and designated spaces for the clients’ own contributions and touches to the landscape.

This project required a lot of collaboration between the client, designer, and installation team, which in turn brought out the strengths of our design-build services. Thanks to the flexibility and easy communication created by our process, we were able to make well-informed design changes on-the-fly with the end result aligning with the client’s vision.

On the Boards: Templeton Vineyard Residence

On the Boards: Templeton Vineyard Residence

Landscaping is a living art that is first and foremost rooted in the natural canvases we are given. With the Templeton Vineyard Residence’s hilltop placement, we worked with sprawling views and gorgeous stone façades. Our job was to complement and balance those elements, bringing in texture and color to emphasize the natural landscape without blocking its stunning panorama.

Landscaping is a living art that is first and foremost rooted in the natural canvases we are given. With the Templeton Vineyard Residence’s hilltop placement, we worked with sprawling views and gorgeous stone façades. Our job was to complement and balance those elements, bringing in texture and color to emphasize the natural landscape without blocking its stunning panorama.

 For this project, we installed planting, irrigation, and lighting, all of which had to be orchestrated to complement the location. With its unique location and design style—contemporary southern estate— we were able to use a different plant palette than what is ordinarily seen in North County.

Through strategic plant selection and placement, we aimed to soften some of the harder lines from the built structures without covering up the gorgeous natural stone façade. We placed some trees to frame views and used others in procession, drawing the eye across the landscape. Masses of short, flowering plants were placed before the view to the vineyard, adding color and interest to the foreground without blocking or detracting from the view. This vibrant swath of planting makes an eye-catching display, as the subtle, textural variations, tonal color changes, and seasonal interests create a softer effect that enhances the vista.

The home was designed by Isaman Design Inc.
General Contracting by Mark Sullivan.