Installation: Sidewalk Planting

Yesterday I had a super quick-and-easy gardening gig. Patrick Lannan at Flora Grubb Gardens has designed several gardens that I’ve planted (some examples here, here, here, and here), and this particular instance was a simple street planting he helped a customer put together by looking at a pic of the guy’s house on his phone when he came to the store.

Azara and foxtail ferns.

The customer had gotten permits for a street garden while renovating the building, but the narrow space couldn’t be dug out because of the house plumbing going right through it. Any planting would have to be in a container. No prob! The colors of his house went perfectly with this pottery we sell called Fibreclay. Fibreclay is a lightweight fiberglass-reinforced clay line of pottery and troughs that are favored for their clean, modern lines,  and are light weight enough for easy carrying and using on roofs and balconies.

Metal frame to level the sidewalk.

The angle of the sidewalk meant something had to be done to level the box. The customer had just had a metalsmith redo the fire escapes on his building, so he took exact measurements of the box and had him fabricate a little metal stand for the planter. It was spot-on perfect! Absolutely level, even without using the leveling feet that had been incorporated. Awesome.

The frame was a perfect fit for the Fibreclay box. Incidentally, he had to file a separate permit to allow for bricks in the sidewalk. Seriously.

The planting was simple. Azara microphylla trees are favored for narrow spaces here in SF. They grow tall, up to 30′ in the ground, but can easily be kept to 4-6′ wide. Some foxtail ferns (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myers’) for each corner added some zing to the planting. I chose to use the store’s Planting Mix for the soil. Regulare Potting Soil would stay too consistently damp for this northern-exposure slope of Russian Hill, and the Cactus Mix we sell drains well but would require him to water a bit more frequently than he’ll be able to keep up with easily. Planting Mix was the happy medium (pun intended).

Foxtail ferns give a bright zing to the simple planting.

Simple and elegant, and fits the space and architecture perfectly, without being mundane. The customer was thrilled with the planting, and I think it turned out GORGEOUS!

Great effect in front of the building!

3 responses to “Installation: Sidewalk Planting

  1. With your steep street this works and looks great. Such a simple fix to a difficult problem.

    • Isn’t that brilliant and simple? I’ve seen level concrete platforms made before, but this also allows for drainage from the bottom of the pot. Wish it had been my own idea. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Garden Installation: Mount Olympus Rental | boZannical Gardens

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