North Berkeley Hills - Latitude 37° Landscape + Design
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North Berkeley Hills

About This Project

Creating an oasis in an urban environment inspired this “sanctuary garden.”

Despite being adjacent to a fairly trafficked street, the clients can step outside their home and – thanks to many layers of tall, softly swaying foliage and the gentle sound of a lotus-filled fountain and pond – feel like they’ve escaped the stresses of daily life.

The client’s initial request was to create an outdoor living space with some area for growing food. But the project turned out to be a bit more complex. Not only did street noise have to be addressed, but also their property had a steep incline, that created an odd aesthetic challenge and more susceptibility to water runoff.

Now that the garden is complete, maintenance is relatively easy –and the weekly upkeep consists mainly of pruning back overly zealous plants. The garden mixes drought tolerant plants with permeable hardscape to maximize water conservation.

The North Berkeley sanctuary garden includes a highly efficient irrigation system, permeable materials and techniques to allow the excess water to percolate back into the root systems instead of washing downhill.

We re-purposed existing stone from a fallen retaining wall, creating a rustic planter with pillars to frame the entrance. This classic look, juxtaposed with a contemporary fence and gate and steel clad retaining wall honors the past and creates contrasts between old and new.