“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.
Photography courtesy of Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture.
“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.
For another of Lewis’ San Francisco backyard gardens, see A Jewel Box Townhouse Garden. And for everything you need to know to install a bluestone patio, see Hardscaping 101: Pennsylvania Bluestone.
N.B.: This is an update of a post published June 15, 2013.
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