View of the moutains around San Luis Obispo

Our Mediterranean Climate

Wow, are we ever lucky to be living in such a gorgeous area!

I get to soak it in everyday as I drive from my home in the fairy-like oak woodland of Templeton to my different routes throughout San Luis Obispo County. Some days I get to drive through the rolling hills and picturesque vineyards of Creston, saying hello to all of the ranch animals spotting the hillsides, and feeling that warm Creston air fill up my car. Other days I get to drive to the coast via 46 West. It never gets old when you get to that magical spot where you can suddenly see the open expanse of green hills and that beautiful Pacific Ocean seems to be just in arms reach. One of my favorite scenes is while driving down the grade in the morning when the fog is covering the hills. I love that moment when it opens up as I make my descent into the absolutely perfect weather of San Luis Obispo. There is so much natural beauty in San Luis Obispo county and I feel so grateful that I get to live here to experience it all.

One of the reasons we get to bask in all of this natural beauty is that we are living in a Mediterranean climate…

This type of climate is one that we share with only four other places in the world: the lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea, the Western Cape in South Africa, central Chile, and South and Western Australia. These regions occur between approximately 30 and 40 degrees north and south latitude on the western side of the continent. The Mediterranean climate is one of hot, dry summers and mild winters.


 These regions have a wide variety of beautiful plants that have adapted in interesting ways to the climate’s characteristics. Since rainfall in these regions occurs mostly in the winter months, much of the vegetation is sclerophyllous, meaning it has small, dark, hard leaves with a waxy outer layer to retain moisture in the dry summer months.

The majority of SLO county’s natural vegetation belongs to the Coastal sage scrub and Central Oak woodland plant communities. Some common plants you will find here are California Sagebrush (Artemesia californica), Buckwheat (Erigonum spp.), California Lilac (Ceanothus spp.), Manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), Coyote Brush (Baccharis sp.), Valley Oak (Quercus lobata), Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia), Coffeeberry (Rhanmus spp.), California Holly (Heteromeles arbutifolia), Poppies (Eschscholzia spp.), and Lupines (Lupinus spp.).

There is also a large variety of non-native plants that will thrive in this climate. We just did a front yard installation combining California native and non-native, drought-tolerant plants. Our clients in Atascadero wanted to replace their water hogging lawn with a more natural look that would be low-maintenance. We installed a dry creek bed running through the middle of the yard with Moor grass placed throughout. On either side of the creek bed we planted a Manzanita specimen, a Grevillia, some Gaura, Buckwheat, and Ceanothus, just to name a few. Pictures to come!

As there are a lot of non-native plants that do well in our climate, it is important to be careful not to choose plants that can be invasive. I stumbled upon this helpful list while doing some research and thought I would share it with you. The first is a list of approved local landscape plants and the second is a list of plants to avoid putting in your landscape. Hope you get something out of it!

Click here to see a list of approved local landscape plants

Click here to see a list of potentially problematic plants