Steep Hill Ahead? No problem!

The ancient gardening art of terracing has been used all over the world for taming hillsides while simultaneously respecting their, shall we say, “hill-ness”. A steep asphalt street in Noe Valley is no exception. One of the best sidewalk gardens in San Francisco, this one uses modern-looking metal boxes, which are both durable and develop an attractive rust patina. The grey-green and golden grasses, wine-colored aeoniums, and bright red kangaroo paw offer complementary hues as well as diverse textures. And an added benefit? The small gardens are something to stop and check out while huffing and puffing one’s way up the hill!


More sidewalk garden barriers

Here are several more ways to protect a sidewalk garden…


It’s not good to have soil surrounding a tree trunk like that but the walls of the box seem nice and sturdy.  And I like the horizontal slats.


A simple wood edge is okay if the main goal is to keep your mulch enclosed.  It won’t protect delicate plants but keeping the wood in contact with the ground seems to give the border enough support to withstand regular sidewalk traffic.  I’ve seen other wood barriers raised up on posts and they get damaged quickly.
I’m really surprised this one is still standing.  It doesn’t seem strong at all … we’ll see what happens in a couple months.

Rope sidewalk garden barrier

Planting in a city sidewalk is a noble endeavor but almost always a gamble. Between the car doors, peeing dogs, and rambling drunks, these plants endure a constantly threatened existence. Protective sidewalk barriers are often flimsy and get beat up quickly. But build one out of half-inch thick rope and four pieces of rebar, and you have a sturdy, inexpensive, and easy solution. Even better, the plants remain in full view and the design complements the small square landscape.