The House of Flowers landscape bridges the Russian River Valley and the Flowers Winery vineyards along the rugged bluffs of the Sonoma Coast. The landscape embodies the distinct and iconic California ecologies of this transect and highlights native plant communities that have evolved to respond to specific micro-climates prescribed by elevation, soils, humidity, and other environmental factors between these two geographic points. This transitional journey inland is re-imagined in the tiered planting strategies at the House of Flowers: Redwood Grove, Oak Woodland, and Chaparral environments, with the low-lying vineyard landscape and riparian corridor framing the vibrant cultivated flower garden at the heart of the landscape.

The design of the House of Flowers amplifies distinct California landscape ecologies, creating a deeply rooted sense of place and a narrative consistent with Flowers Winery’s authentic winemaking practices. The House of Flowers horticultural strategy immerses visitors in distinct California ecologies: Redwood Forest, Oak Woodland, and Chaparral landscapes, framed by vineyards and the distant ridges of the Mayacamas Mountains on the horizon.

Coming into the project, the Landscape Architects were inspired by the existing qualities of the site, including mature Redwood trees, rammed earth walls forming a terraced descent towards the valley, and striking views across the surrounding land. From this point, the design team was motivated to not only preserve these elements, but to celebrate and highlight them alongside seamlessly integrated new site elements.

Arriving on site, visitors are greeted in the Grove by towering mature Redwood trees. The surrounding planting scheme augments the scale of the Redwoods with a native understory shrub layer of Rhododendron occidentale ‘Irene Kolter’, Ribes sanguineum, and Woodwardia fimbriata, and woodland groundcover of Huechera ‘Rosada’, Polystichum munitum, and Oxalis oregana. From there, visitors approach the Upper Terrace, anchored by the pavilion and movable seating area under the shade of three large Valley oak trees. The planting of the Upper Terrace references the surrounding Oak grassland habitat, with two dozen mixed oak species providing structure and shade over a ground cover of mixed grasses (Muhlenbergia dubia, Muhlenbergia rigens, Carex pansa). Beyond, the cultivated garden is designed as a tapestry of flowering perennials, intended to be viewed from the Upper Terrace above and explored on paths of crushed stone. This garden is bound by the existing rammed earth wall to the north and a Teuchrium hedge to the south.

Throughout these distinct on-site experiences, regional shrubs – including Rhamnus californica, Arctotaphylos, Carpenteria californica, and Ceanothus – re-enforce the structure provided by a series of rammed earth and concrete walls. This approach creates a series of intimate tasting rooms throughout the site that allow for a diverse range of experiences in communion with the adjacent plant communities. A series of water features and rills runs throughout the rooms, guiding the visitor’s journey and providing a dynamic element to the serene environment. From each terrace, a view of the agrarian valley beyond ties the tasting room experience to the productive narrative underpinning the winery. Sustainable agricultural practices are represented and implemented within the landscape design through a strategic plant palette that supports pollinator species and the utilization of low-impact maintenance strategies.

Architecture offices involved in the design: Walker Warner Architects

Location: 4503 Westside Rd, Healdsburg CA 95448 USA

Design year: 2016

Year Completed: 2019


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