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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Liberty Hill Residence in San Francisco, California by Surface design, Inc.

 
March 29th, 2012 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Surface design, Inc.

This garden in San Francisco has dedicated areas for entertaining and children’s play, which are defined and navigated by an innovative arrangement of local and sustainable landscape materials. Cor-Ten steel boxes serve as retaining structures and planters, extending along the site’s perimeter and penetrating the surrounding wood fence. The garden is an abstracted allusion to the dramatic topography of the city itself.

The site's steep slope creates a visual connection with the city beyond

  • Architects: Surface design, Inc.
  • Project: Liberty Hill Residence
  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Project Type: Single Family Residence
  • Software used: AutoCad, Photoshop, Sketchup, some Vectorworks

The garden design takes inspiration from the dramatic topography of the site

Project Plant List

Trees –      

  • Acer palmatum  ‘Nishiki Gawa’ – Japanese Maple
  • Camellia sasanqua ‘ Yuletide’  - Yuletide Camellia
  • Cornus ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’ – Eddie’s White Wonder Dogwood

Steel Box Planting -

  • Adiantum capillus- veneris – Maidenhair Fern
  • Anemone hybrida – Japanese Anemone
  • Blechnum spicant - Deer Fern
  • Campanula isophylia – Bellflower
  • Helleborus niger – Black Hellebore
  • Iris gouglasiana - Douglas Iris
  • Woodwardia fimbriata - Giant Chain Fern

Surrounding Garden Planting -

  • Clematis montana ‘Rubens’ - Clematis
  • Leucadendron ‘Safari Sunset’ – Safari Conebush
  • Viburnum plicatum plicatum – Japanese Snowball

The steel boxes not only direct circulation throughout the site

Project Narrative

Marked by its dramatic sloping topography, this private garden in San Francisco’s Liberty Hill has dedicated areas for entertaining and children’s play, which are defined and navigated by an innovative arrangement of hardscape materials. Cor-Ten steel boxes serve as retaining structures and planters, extending along the site’s perimeter and penetrating the surrounding wood fence. Taken as a whole, the back yard is an abstracted allusion to the hilly city itself, which appears to fall away behind the garden when viewed from the upper terrace or out the back windows of the house.

The concrete retaining wall echoes the geometry of the steel boxes

The Cor-Ten boxes and concrete walls were added to existing stone retaining walls to create a series of switchbacks that guide the journey from the house into the gardens. Erected mid-century, the stone walls form a natural part of the vocabulary of rugged and refined materials — stone, concrete, wood, and steel — while uniting the site’s past and present incarnations in a visually harmonious way. The steel boxes, which harbor plant life up top, descend into the ground plane and insert into the redwood fences — a geometric composition enhanced by the slanting shadows that are cast through the variegated slats. The dimensions of the slats are echoed in the board form pattern on the concrete walls that wrap into the fence.

The boxes are separated from the ground plane by a runnel that was designed to capture drainage run-off

Seeking to maximize permeability for the overall health of the garden, the large children’s area is lawn and the entertainment terrace is decomposed granite. The planter boxes not only afford the homeowners an opportunity to do some hands-on gardening, they also attract pollinators such as birds and butterflies. The concrete steps are framed by runnels to enhance drainage (while highlighting the sloped nature of the garden), and a native sedge called Juncus helps purify run-off before it enters the groundwater system. Because the steel boxes are framed by the runnels, they appear almost to rise from below the ground plane, adding depth to the composition.

The metal boxes appear to hover above the stone walls

As the homeowners spend as much time looking down on the garden from their home as being in it, they also appreciate its sculptural quality, which is punctuated by plant material such as Japanese maples and the softening presence of shade-lovers such as ferns, irises, viburnum, and anemones.

The garden includes generous space for outdoor entertaining on a decomposed granite surface

Lush green plantings contrast with the rich rusted color of the Cor-Ten boxes

The concrete retaining wall at the entrance shares the sculptural vocabulary of the steel boxes

Runnels framing the concrete path direct drainage to pockets of Juncus effuses

A dedicated space for planting has been carved out from each of the metal boxes

Aerial view. The linear geometry of the garden is revealed from above

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Categories: Autocad, Garden, Photoshop, Residential, SketchUp, Vectorworks

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