San Francisco’s oldest retirement community, called Heritage on the Marina, is a historic building, designed by California’s first woman architect and owned by one of the city’s oldest philanthropic organizations. Located in San Francisco’s Marina district, a neighborhood recognized for its iconic architecture.
Looking at the northeast corner of the property, you will see a small, but charming brick building, originally a groundskeepers’ quarters. This month’s post chronicles our experience renovating the landscape. We also describe how we resolved two challenges.
(See before photo below.)
Design Intent and Its First Challenge
The owner wanted to repurpose the building’s interior, then rejuvenate the landscape, which had declined as evidenced by overgrown vines, yellowing turf and poor grade definition.
Gardeners’ Guild was engaged to design and build the project. Our objective was to transform the outdoor space into a small garden that could serve multiple functions: active gardening, areas for relaxation and pre-ambulation.
But, there was one challenge – limited space.
This required that our design be creative and meticulous, in order to incorporate each design element. Moreover, the landscape needed to be reflective of the building’s character. Our design featured a flat turf area for small outdoor gatherings, decomposed granite pathways that traversed around the building and raised planters for gardening projects. (See photo below)
The Landscape’s Second Challenge – To Complement the Building’s Character
The building’s historic elements called for ornamental plants, along with fencing and stonework.
Primary areas were scaled to the site by achieving minimum dimensions required for the intended use. Grading issues were resolved by the use of subtle retaining walls. Stone materials were carefully specified to match existing structures. (See photo below)