Landscape Architecture Garden Design California San Francisco Sonoma

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Secret Garden

High above the streets of San Francisco sits a secret garden. Robust concrete walls and wooden gates shield it from the outside world. A stone staircase curves through the hillside garden of mature trees and cascading vines. At the top of the stair, an expansive garden opens up, offering breathtaking views of the city and bay.

Butterflies flutter around fragrant roses and lavender, and a water feature creates a calming sound.  

A raised dining area with fireplace sits beneath a large trellis covered with climbing roses, hanging glass chandeliers, and surrounded by 100-year-old olive trees. 

A sofa built around a firepit sits near the outdoor kitchen and the native lawn. There is also an outdoor kitchen, herb planters, a spa garden and an outdoor shower. The piece de resistance is the black infinity edge pool cantilevered over the city.

The historical house and cottage were kept, and the buildings are tucked towards the edges while the garden is the centerpiece. The design of the garden honors the spirit of the original garden.  

Most of the garden is built on structure on top of a lower level, garage and tunnel that was excavated into the hillside. 

In order to create a real garden and not a rooftop patio we had to get ample soil depth for lush and mature vegetation. Wellness is the theme for the property, and both people and nature seem to thrive. The resident hawk coming on regular visits to take a dip in the pool, and bees and butterflies have taken over the pollinator flower beds.

Project Information:
Architect: Ken Linsteadt
Photography: @ShadesofGreen, Jacob Elliott, David Livingston
Location: San Francisco, CA