“We had this idea of making a green cube in the back of the garden,” says San Francisco-based landscape architect Scott Lewis. And as you can see, it was an excellent idea.
In a small city backyard, Lewis of Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture created a spacious feeling in a space that’s barely 25 feet wide by 40 feet long. The garden, with both shady and sunny micro-climates, is lush and green; perimeter beds grow around the edges of a wedge-shaped bluestone patio. The clients, a family with young children, originally wanted a lawn. But with San Francisco’s foggy, cool weather, “a lawn often doesn’t work,” says Lewis. “The paving accomplished the same goal.”
In a back corner of the property was a shed that had been converted to an artist’s studio. To turn it into a green jewel box, Lewis covered it with ivy.
The project won an American Society of Landscape Architects national Honor Award in 2010.
“It’s basically a rigid framework, and you can get behind it to trim off any tendrils that escape,” says Lewis. “It’s in some respects an easier and much less maintenance-intensive solution than a green wall, because you just have to trim the ivy a couple of times a year.”
When you step out onto the wood deck, you enter the garden beneath a canopy of Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) trees.
The left side has much more shade than the right side, and the patio creates a natural demarcation between the two distinct climates. “We wanted the plantings to be compatible throughout the garden, and the paving pulls it together,” says Lewis.