A Teaspoon of Soil in San Francisco

Merge Studio was commissioned to expand the possibilities of a 440 sq. ft. patio containing two terraced planters.  Our client’s desire was to add a fire feature and central display table for a treasured stone sculpture, but also to allow for plenty of space for relaxing and entertaining.

The original patio consisted of a small sitting terrace squared off to the house.  By angling this slightly and removing the lower planter we were able to expand the sitting terrace.  A cor-ten table situated in the middle of the steps presents the stone sculpture to the interior of the house from one end, with the other end cantilevered over the sitting terrace, becoming a low table for the perfect cocktail lounge.

The walnut travertine-clad fire feature with cor-ten steel back wall has a circulating fan which pulls heat rising up to the mantle, and vents it through the back wall of the feature to push it out from under the hearth, adding further warmth to the cool San Francisco evenings (and days).  Three cor-ten planters hold plantings selected for a shady, north-facing location and to bring color and texture to the lower patio area.  The remaining terraced planter, best seen from the second and third story balconies of the residence, is filled with other plantings intended to create a ‘Central Park’ within a ‘Teaspoon of Soil’.

project team
landscape architect: merge studio
landscape contractor: JKT Associates
interior design: Irene Turner - Sonoma Style