Sunday, September 19, 2010

Green can be done on a budget.

Going Green on a budget.

It has been a pretty good summer. Lots of projects with a wide variety of budgets, great forward thinking clients and different terroirs.

This small back yard project shown below was planned with a tight budget in mind for a duplex in the city of San Francisco.

Measuring 24 feet wide by 70 feet in length. The back yard sloped 8 feet from top to bottom.

The owners of the building wanted to create two distinct garden areas for each family living in the duplex. They also requested using green index building techniques and they had a very very conservative installation and materials budget .

From Before and After


The first order of business was to clear the site of weeds and debris that was waist high.
While doing so we discovered a series of concrete walls and flooring in various states of erosion .
Landscape archaeology at its funnest.
Next came out my transit and laser so that I could layout the exact locations and elevations of the walls that were going to be salvaged.

From Before and After Projects


To create two separate flat outdoor spaces for the two homeowners a few retaining walls were in order to tame the hillside. We built these out of pressure treated wood.
From Before and After


The top level 12’-6” x 18’-0” will have a surface of artificial turf. This will provide a nice green surface for the kids to play on yet will not require water or mowing to maintain its practicality.

The lower level 16 x14 utilizes permeable pavers as a surface.

From Before and After


We reused, cleaned and resurfaced the existing concrete retaining walls at the stairway.
In some cases we had to cut the concrete and or add a few inches here and there to level and even them out. They were resurfaced with a clean coat of stucco.
The stair treads are permeable pavers and the infill will be stablized decomposed granite.

The planting is drought tolerant for the most part using mostly succulents, a privacy hedge of Pittosporum silver sheen , a couple of Queen palms and a few flowering shrubs such as Tibouchinia and Brugmansia. With less than 250 gallons p/m calculated for the garden , we were able to install only one valve for the entire project.

Mulch, the decomposed granite infill, and the artificial turf will be installed next week.

The whole project has taken about 3 weeks to install and about 20 K in materials and labor.

4 comments:

phrago said...

Hey, It was really worth it to look at these photos under magnification. Nice transformation from a total eyesore into a pretty visually pleasing space with very usable terrace areas and a pretty garden. The finished project should be wonderful. Can't wait to see the pics...

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

Very cool... nice post.

Blur Ting said...

This post will inspire and motivate people with a messy yard to finally take some action. Well done!

Anonymous said...

I love before and after shots. What a difference in this case!

Glad to see you re-used the concrete rather than tearing it out. I look forward to seeing the final product.

How much time had to be spent with this client in the planning stages? Laura