Zen Outdoor Living Space: Hilgard Garden

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Winner of the 2015 ASLA-NCC Top Residential Design Award, the Hilgard Garden / Outdoor Living Space was designed by Mary Barensfeld Architecture in Berkeley, California.

Description by Mary Barensfeld Architecture: A meandering ramp through aromatic groundcover and the limbs of three Japanese maples presents itself as a garden path in a Zen-like retreat. The garden, the back yard of a 1964 Berkeley, CA townhouse, traverses a steeply sloping site to provide access to an upper level patio with views of Sutro Tower and San Francisco.

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To avoid swallowing large swathes of the backyard square footage with a conventional stair, angular, board-form concrete walls with occasional steel armor slice their way up the hill while providing terraced planting areas.

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Visible and accessible to the existing townhouse living room, the lower level white granite patio unfurls its reflecting pool to greet visitors. Water-jet cut, patterned weathering steel screens serve as both bamboo planters and screening between the neighboring townhouses’ rear yards.

Architect: Mary Barensfeld Architecture
Project: Hilgard Garden / Outdoor Living Space
Location: Berkeley, California, USA
Photography: Joe Fletcher Photography

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