Over the last thirty years, Details Landscape Art has installed hundreds of beautiful gardens throughout Sonoma, Napa, and Marin Counties. The plant material selected for these projects includes a wide variety of trees, shrubs, perennials and groundcovers. Following is a list of our favorite plants.

simple garden design

Our selection of favorites is based on many criteria, such as fitness for a particular situation, and, of course beauty. The list includes a brief description, and why it’s one of our favorite plants. Although we may name a particular variety of a plant, there may be other similar varieties we like equally well.

  • Hydrangea ‘Enchantress’- A large ‘mophead’ hydrangea with striking blue flowers. While most of the shade loving plants bloom in the spring (azaleas, rhododendrons, pieris japonica, choisya ternata), hydrangeas are one of the few summer blooming shrubs, and the beautiful blue certainly brightens a shady garden.
  • Rosa ‘Iceberg’ – A floribunda rose offering bright white blooms from April to November. The plant will stay 5-6 ft. tall and wide if pruned to shape in the winter. White is always a favorite color of ours in the garden. It contrasts beautifully with burgundy foliage, green foliage, lavender and other colorful flowers.
  • Pennisetum orientalis – A soft creamy tan colored ‘feather-like’ flower on a green grassy plant. It grows to about two to two and one-half feet tall, and gets cut to the ground when dormant in the winter. We love it for the soft texture. And planted in masses it waves in the wind.
  • Berberis ‘Roseglow’ and ‘Concorde’- Maroon or burgundy foliaged deciduous plants, they contrast well with golds (coleonema ‘Gold Sunset’), pale greens or gray greens, and white flowers (Rosa ‘Iceberg’). Berberis ‘thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’ grows to four to five feet foot tall and wide, and the leaf has a pink striation. Berberis ‘Concorde’ is a shorter plant (about two feet by two feet), with an extremely dark crimson (almost black) leaf for a dramatic contrast to almost all other plants.
  • Lomandra ‘Breeze’ – An evergreen clumpy grass with a rich dark green leaf. Grows to about eighteen inches to two feet tall and four feet wide. One of our favorites because it is evergreen, takes sun or shade (the foliage is a little darker green in the shade), and offers the complementary texture of a grass. Great in rock gardens.
  • Salvia ‘greggii’- A semi-evergreen perennial to three to four feet tall. Comes in several colors and blooms from spring through late fall with virtually no maintenance other than a winter haircut.
  • Sarcococca ruscifolia – An evergreen shrub with dark green foliage, extremely fragrant blooms followed by red berries. We love it because it tolerates deep shade and offers excitement in January and February when the garden needs a spark.
  • Lavandula ‘Provence’ – A summer perennial that grows to three to four feet tall and wide in full sun. It is one of our favorite plants because it blooms repeatedly in summer with bluish purple flowers, and has a distinct soft texture.
  • Acer palmatum – A small tree with too many varieties to enumerate. See our earlier blogs on Japanese maples. There are burgundy and green varieties, upright and mounding ‘mushroom shaped’ varieties, all of which are drop-dead gorgeous.Asian shade garden featuring Japanese maples and Pieris japonica
  • Myoporum parvifolium ‘Putah Creek’ – a low growing spreading evergreen ground cover that reroots as it spreads. Bright green foliage yield white flowers in summer and we love it as a good grass substitute.


Of course there are many many other plants that we love to use. All our gardens are different, but you are likely to see our favorites in most of them.