Honoring the Past While Accounting for Present Landscaping Challenges

Tasked with expanding the landscaping at the San Francisco Decorators Showcase 2015 in the middle of an historic drought, designer Katharine Webster turned to art and thoughtful plant choices to welcome guests to the home. In doing so, Webster honors the spirit of the Arts and Crafts era during which the home was built.

Photo By: Jason Kisner

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Jason Kisner

Photo By: Jason Kisner

Photo By: Jason Kisner

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Brick Walkway Framed by Drought-Tolerant Plants and Boxwoods

When she first visited the site of the San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2015, landscape designer Katharine Webster was greeted by a blank, windowless wall along the entry to the home and a boxwood garden in front of an ivy-covered wall. Webster turned to drought-tolerant plants and art to fill the empty spaces and draw the eye from the street to the front door.

Drought-Tolerant Plants Complement Existing Ivy and Boxwoods

The existing ivy and boxwoods were well-established and holding up well against California's drought, so Webster kept them and complemented them with drought-tolerant plantings.

Low-Water Plants Add Low-Impact Greenery in Drought Conditions

A yucca plant offers a pop of neon green to the deeper hues of the ivy and boxwoods. The plant is a smart choice for landscapes suffering from drought.

Art Sculpture Inspired by Deconstructed Crate Frames Entry to Showhouse

The Presidio Heights home featured in the showcase was built in 1917 for Abraham Rosenberg, whose company was the largest exporter of fruits and nuts in the early 20th century. Webster and her team created the pine and fir art installation to invoke deconstructed fruit packing crates.

Wooden Art Installation Invokes Look of Deconstructed Packing Crates

The design of the installation and the space as a whole is guided by the Arts and Crafts movement popular at the time the home was constructed, which encouraged balance in design, a connection to nature and simple design.

Art and Landscape Balance One Another in Showcase Home

Landscape designer Katharine Webster used art installations and plants to fill otherwise empty spaces in the front garden of the San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2015. "When I first came to the space, it was a very long, rectangular, bleak space," Webster says. "I thought it was important to move the eye along. As it turned out, the art elevated the landscape and the landscape elevated the art, balancing each other."

Drought-Tolerant Shrubs and Artwork Fill Otherwise Blank Corners

When designing the space, Webster noted blank, rectangular spaces around the home's front door. With voices of her Harvard professors in her head saying, "don't make corners for squirrels to die in," Webster filled the blank spaces with artwork and drought-tolerant shrubs.

Boxwood and Ivy Garden Featuring Aluminum Sculpture

Around the corner of the ivy-covered garden wall is a boxwood parterre garden. When Webster first saw it she felt something was missing and introduced UPBEAT, an aluminum sculpture by Clement Meadmore, to complement the space.

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