Eight Winter Bloomers for the California Central Coast

Eight Winter Bloomers for the California Central Coast

Eight Winter Bloomers for the California Central Coast

During the colder months on the California Central Coast, many of our plants fall back and go dormant. Throughout the region, from inland San Luis Obispo to coastal Morro Bay and north county’s Paso Robles, central coasters love year-long landscapes. With so many beautiful bloomers that thrive in our area, we can count on flourishing flowers to take the stage during any given season.

Here are eight of our winter favorites.

Aloe Striata

Aloe striata, or Coral Aloe, is memorable for its tall floral stalks the color range of a citrus sunset, but its leaves take the cake. Elegant and pale, their reddened edges lend a delicate blush year-round, even as it blooms in the winter.

Arctostaphylos

Drought-tolerant and robust year-round, these Manzanitas shrubs are popular for their handsome, red-toned bark and bunches of round, gentle flowers.

Erica Canaliculata

This showering splash of flowers is commonly known as channeled heath or hairy gray heather. Its bell-shaped flowers bloom in a cloud of pink to purple, lending waves of colorful body to every landscape it flourishes in.

Agave Attenuata

While the Foxtail Agave is typically known for its year-round architectural form and drought-tolerance, mature specimens will put out massive flower spikes once in their lifetime. Vibrant green, cool blue, and beautiful variegated cultivars are available, and will spread from basal shoots, eventually filling in a sizeable area.

Viburnum Tinus

Another shrub bursting with fragrant and elegant blooms, the Viburnum tinus not only blossoms in the winter but provides a burst of metallic blue from its berries as well. It is well beloved by butterflies, bees, and clients alike..

Aloe Camperi

One of the few aloes with verdant green leaves, Aloe camperi or Popcorn Aloe, is a mid-rise plant with beautiful apricot flowers and a spindly, dramatic shape.

Grevillea ‘Moonlight’

Large, fast-growing, and with lovely flowers reminiscent of loose embroidery, Grevillea ‘Moonlight’ is a bushy evergreen that brings its luminous ivory to your winter landscape.

Ribes ‘Spring Showers’

The pendulous pink flowers of this dainty plant come alive in winter, a vibrant display that can almost cover the foliage.

Looking for a landscape with plants that bloom in the winter? Talk to our landscape designers for a design tailored to your specific climate. Some of the species in this list are better suited for milder coastal climates, while others are bullet-proof even in frosty north county. Contact our landscape designers at [email protected] or (805) 466-6263.

On the Boards: Oakview Village

On the Boards: Oakview Village

This Atascadero redesign focuses on updating a community landscape into a cohesive, native, and climate-adaptive whole. The low-maintenance plan revitalizes the landscape with pops of year-round color, distinct recreation areas, reduced water usage, and a smooth vision that facilitates future improvements.

Our design scope included an assessment of the existing landscape to determine which trees contribute to the long-term vision, which existing lawn areas are appropriate to retain, and what important views and connections could be enhanced or created. For both selection and layout, ease of maintenance was foremost. The planting palette includes a diversity of textures, shapes, colors, and sizes for intrigue and a dynamic, quietly flourishing landscape.

The extensive street frontage is enhanced with large shrubbery, and pedestrian access points beckon visitors with a lay of boulders, ornamental grasses, and clusters of flowering perennials. Due to the surrounding oak woodland that stretches into the project site, we kept our tree selection limited to species that would preserve and maintain the native area, introducing other oaks, olives, and cedars to create a well-rounded palette.

Want more information on our landscape design services? Contact our landscape designers at [email protected] or (805) 466-6263.

The Essential Landscape Design Guide

The Essential Landscape Design Guide

Transforming a landscape can be overwhelming—there are so many places to find inspiration, and there are drastically different styles to consider. It can be helpful to work with a professional—landscape designers are trained to see the big picture and identify opportunities that elude most homeowners.

Maximize Your Residential Landscape

Written by Daniel Mazawa, General Manager
Originally published in Living Lavishly

Here are a few steps homeowners can take to understand the design process and get a grasp of what they want from their landscape:

Analyze the Site

On the Central Coast, there are several different natural backdrops that most homes enjoy. Whether it is a distant view of rolling oak woodlands or a beachfront bluff experience, it is important to understand the setting of a place as influenced by the natural world. Take stock of existing trees or plants on site as well as sun and shade.

The architecture of the home and the neighborhood aesthetic may set the tone for the landscape design style. Consider the experience of driving up to the house and walking around the yard. A guest arriving at the home should know right where the front door is and where to park. The movement around the landscape should be functional and beautiful. Where are the areas of interest? What is the flow and the circulation? Identify the opportunities and constraints in a setting before figuring out what to do.

Establish the Functions

It is easy for someone who owns a home to identify what they want, but it can be a little more difficult to define what they need. Everything takes up space, so prioritizing functions is extremely important. Figure out how much usable space is needed for parking, outdoor entertaining, open utility areas, connecting pathways, and any other high-frequency functions. Pools, hot tubs, sport courts, outdoor kitchens, vegetable gardens, and other secondary functions can be fun additions to fold in.

Consider the best locations for all functions as far as convenience, sun exposure, views, and feel. For example, both an outdoor kitchen and a vegetable garden are convenient near an indoor kitchen, but the garden wants open sunshine and the outdoor kitchen benefits from shade or shelter. Also consider the indoor/outdoor connection as perceived through windows and doors from inside. A pergola can feel like an extension of an indoor room, or a distant view can be framed to be enjoyed from inside.

Define Design Style

A good first step is to decide whether a landscape is going to be geometric and calculated or free flowing and natural. A modern home may work better with a straight-lined landscape, but these forms can deconstruct as they move away from the structure. A natural setting such as a woodland can work well with curves and natural pathways especially if preserving existing trees.

People who like control, simple bold design, or tidy surroundings gravitate towards straight lines with geometric configurations. People who like tranquility, natural settings, or designing with nature gravitate towards flowing curves. Bold Modern style utilizes straight-line end of the spectrum and Natural Style falls on the curved line end. Mediterranean, Southwestern, Cottage, and Japanese gardens fall somewhere between. Having a clearly defined style that repeats and transitions smoothly will make a landscape feel complete.

Design Spaces Before Features

While design features are important, the spaces they create are more important to the user experience. For example, a tree may be a beautiful feature, but the shade and shelter a tree grove provides can create a comfortable room complete with walls and a ceiling. Comfortable spaces are often perceived as a bit wider than they are tall, or 1 to 1.618 height to width per the golden ratio. A pergola 16 feet wide by 10 feet tall is a good example. The same comfortable feeling can be achieved with shrubs and trees.

Conversely, putting too many plants next to a front door entry can make it feel tight and uninviting. Open it up and make the path wide, prominent and inviting. Wide open views will feel more comfortable when framed with trees or from a comfortable viewing patio. The psychology of spaces can be overwhelming, but it is obvious when a space feels right.

Work Out Transitions

Landscape is the glue that holds together spaces and structures. Transitions can be the most dynamic aspects of a landscape, or they can be eyesores. Complex hardscape features such as patios, retaining walls, fences, pergolas, outdoor kitchens, water features, and fire features will often intersect and connect with one another.

Figure out how connections will work to make a seamless transition point. Formal landscapes will often transition to a natural area. Utilize decorative bunch grasses on the edge of the landscape to blur the line between mulched landscapes and natural areas. When utilizing multiple design styles, create transitional landscapes to blend gradually. For example, a contemporary landscape may transition to a natural area going from straight lines to calculated arcs and then to a curved path.

Iron Out the Details

Details in the landscape should emphasize the overall design style and theme. In most cases, color themes should be complementary, so they don’t clash. Choose colors for concrete, stone, wood, paint, mulch, and plant material that paint a picture that goes together.

Textures should also be considered. Fine texture details such as exposed aggregate concrete, small ledge stone, or small plants can feel lost in a large space. Bold coarse texture details like large boulders or big leaved plants can feel overbearing in small spaces. Perennial plants provide color, texture, and movement.

Plants should fit the design style with color as well as layout. Bold masses of plants work well with contemporary landscapes, while multi-species combinations can work well with natural areas. Finishing details can make the difference between a hodge-podge yard and a cohesive landscape.

There is a lot to think about when trying to maximize a landscape. A professional can help. Landscape designers can take ideas and dreams and turn them into a buildable design. Knowing the process before starting design or construction can be invaluable to being able to communicate goals and expectations to create a successful landscape to enjoy for years to come.

Ready for a landscape design and not sure where to start? Contact our landscape designers at [email protected] or (805) 466-6263.

On the Boards: Beta Motorcycles

On the Boards: Beta Motorcycles

Madrone was hired to design a low-water landscape and irrigation plan for a new commercial building on an existing half-acre empty lot in Paso Robles. The placement of trees and shrubs was critical to creating an appealing front entry and visual screen for the sizable building.

Native plant species were selected for year-round interest with low maintenance requirements. Tree plantings were arranged to enhance views toward the building entry, screen certain areas, provide seasonal interest, and shade during summer months. The company color, visible in a band on the building, has been reflected in seasonal color accents within the landscape.

 

As part of the design package, Madrone created a 3D landscape rendering to visually communicate both the landscape and proposed structure.

Want more information on our landscape design services? Contact our landscape designers at [email protected] or (805) 466-6263.

California Central Coast Winter Garden

California Central Coast Winter Garden

Four Winter-hardy Plants for your California Central Coast Landscape

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.

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.

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.

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.

Interested in a winter garden landscape design? Contact our landscape designers at [email protected] or (805) 466-6263.