Dramatic update for Hillsborough landscape

Every garden needs a refresher now and then.

This Hillsborough garden, originally developed in the 1970s, had a specific feel from that era. The front yard was a typical lawn that led to a narrow staircase up to the door of the residence.

The owner, an experienced gardener, wanted to update the entry, expand the courtyard and open up the space.

“The goal was to give the house more presence — a sense of entry as soon as you got out of the car — more of an experience being in the garden before you got to the front door,” says Sarah Small of Small Brown Landscape Architects in Burlingame, who redesigned the garden.

Small, who works with Ruth Brown (each have 20-plus years experience as landscape architects), wanted to integrate the best of the old with the new.

Striking original retaining walls were composed of Hillsborough blue stones. Small hired Siteworks, from Berkeley, to build a new pedestal and rearrange and match existing stones.

The original garden was a study in green. The owner, a gardener, had been changing plants over time, introducing more color and roses.

Small worked closely with the owner and drew up a plan that blended elements of the greenscape with newer, mixed colors.
Key elements are dramatic Japanese maples and roses.

Small used loropetalum along the house on the right side, then added razzleberry with green and burgundy leaves, and a dramatic magnolia Elizabeth — a deciduous tree with yellow flowers.

There’s viburnum with white blossom. Rosa seafoam, a ground cover with white and pink blush flowers, cascades from large pots. Against the house is a tulip tree with yellow-green flowers.

For the side garden, Small created a stunning black fountain that has a large metal tray with black stones. Water flows in concentric rings and drizzles off the edges.

Throughout the landscape, Small expanded courtyards with buff, natural stone. She also inserted dramatic lighting against the residence and at key points in the garden. 

The fountain is up-lit (“for a quiet, Zen feeling”), as are the tulip tree and the red maple.

Near the kitchen, Small built a gravel outdoor seating terrace with dwarf olive trees in pots. A contemporary wall houses a fire pit and citrus trees in pots nearby, and a white crepe myrtle peeks over the wall.

Bay Area NewsentertainmentPeninsula

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A statue of Florence Nightingale outside the Laguna Honda Hospital is one of only two statues of women in The City. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
S.F. still falling short of goal to represent women in public art

City has few streets or public facilities not named after men

Methamphetamines (Sophia Valdes/SF Weekly)
New search launched for meth sobering center site

Pandemic put project on pause but gave health officials time to plan a better facility

Hasti Jafari Jozani quarantines at her brother's San Francisco home after obtaining several clearances to study at San Francisco State University. (Photo courtesy Siavash Jafari Jozani)
Sanctions, visas, and the pandemic: One Iranian student’s bumpy path to SF State

Changing immigration rules and travel restrictions leave some overseas students in limbo

Woody LaBounty, left, and David Gallagher started the Western Neighborhoods Project which has a Balboa Street office housing historical items and comprehensive website dedicated to the history of The City’s West side. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Outside Lands podcast delves into West side’s quirky past

History buffs Woody LaBounty and David Gallagher have been sharing fun stories about the Richmond and Sunset since 1998

Allison Zilnek and her younger daughter Marlow add Ibram X. Kendi’s “Antiracist Baby” to their Little Free Library in Walnut Creek. (Courtesy of Allison Zilnek)
The hunt for little free libraries is alleviating the pandemic doldrums

By Amelia Williams Bay City News Foundation Some people collect stamps. Some… Continue reading

Most Read