- Corporate / Public Spaces
- Edible Landscapes
- Kitchen Gardens
This is Stefani’s garden! Home to a growing family, seven chickens and a whole lot of food – and where we experiment and find inspiration for our Star Apple gardens! The garden includes fruit trees, berries, a dedicated kitchen garden, three bin compost system, a green roofed chicken coop and a whole lot of flowers!
Perennial edibles provide structure and beauty in the garden. Shown here are: pomegranate, pear and chinotto oranges. Rhubarb, blueberries, Tuscan Blue rosemary, artichokes and pollinator attracting anise hyssop.
The kitchen garden includes a waist high salad bed and stone lined raised beds.
The modern green roof chicken coop is home to seven loved chickens!
Palo AltoEdible Landscapes
“Low water, deer resistant, and edible — in a Mediterranean/Santa Barbara style” were the requests for this edible landscape! Front and back yard plantings of mixed edibles and ornamentals achieve this and more!
In the front yard, five fruiting olive trees serve as evergreen anchors in what was once a bare soil slope. Discreet, deer resistant edibles such as rosemary, lavender, sweet culinary bay and thyme are combined with low water ornamentals including succulents, bulbine, and leucadendrons. The overall effect is a low maintenance, beautiful and productive garden.
The backyard is where family gatherings and most of this garden’s food production takes place. Fortunately, it is gated, so we did not have to worry about deer getting in! The garden includes a small dedicated vegetable garden with sun-loving annual vegetables including tomatoes, cucumber, kale, hot peppers and purple sprouting broccoli. A modern “lawn” of dwarf blue fescue grass runs alongside the bocce court and opens out onto a simple arbor, which acts as a support for a climbing kiwi vine. Beyond this central area, an orchard of mixed stone fruit, apple and pear trees extends; underplantings of pollinator attracting cutting flowers fill in the space between the trees.
Walnut CreekEdible Landscapes
This charming edible front yard landscape combines elements of classic American and cottage style plantings. Our design reflects the owners’ desire for an attractive edible garden that does not require daily harvesting or too much maintenance.
Before Star Apple, this side yard was not much more than dust and a few lifeless, unproductive shrubs. We installed a water-efficient irrigation system and improved the soil, working in high quality organic compost and turning 8-12 inches deep for improved oxygen circulation and to create space for healthy root growth.
The garden is anchored by an existing Japanese maple and a dramatic purple flowering Princess tree. Further plantings of culinary sweet bay laurel and huckleberry provide evergreen, edible interest. A simple flagstone pathway is interplanted with creeping thyme and bordered with colorful perennial flowers including yarrow, lavender and salvia; this helps attract pollinators and sets a vibrant aesthetic tone for the garden.
The front yard wraps around the side of the house in a narrow 10-foot wide strip. Here, we created an urban orchard of three espaliered fruit trees – fig, pear and apple – underplanted with an abstract “carpet” of chamomile, oregano, sage and mixed thymes. The espaliered trees anchor the space and create a productive living wall alongside the house. Meanwhile, the pathway that meanders through the orchard is bordered by plantings of blueberries and currants, alongside further yarrows, lavenders and other more unusual ornamentals. A few strategically placed strawberry patches and a pomegranate shrub create further reason to pause and enjoy the garden’s bounty.
This family backyard has a distinctly urban, modern feel while still including space for a full vegetable garden, cutting flowers, gathering areas, and lawn for the kids to play on.
Working with the existing garden layout, Star Apple transformed this neglected space, adding redwood edging to the perimeter planting borders for a consistent overall look. Dark green, pink, yellow and silver colors are used throughout the mixed planting beds in order to visually link the various parts of the garden together. On the east-facing side of the garden, lush dark green ligularia is planted alongside evergreen and deciduous blueberries; silver thyme and dramatic pink ‘Afterglow’ succulents serve as an underplanting. In sunnier parts of the garden, similar colors and textures come into play with dark green strawberry leaves contrasting against the pink fruit of an Anna apple and the silver foliage of pineapple guava and dymondia. These sunnier planting beds are also the best place to grow sun-loving vegetables such as tomatoes and green beans.
This integrated ornamental and edible landscape is really a home chef’s and speciality gardener’s dream. The original garden was destroyed in the Oakland fires of 1991 — our goal in re-planting to create a garden that is really a joy to live with. The new space includes a great collection of fruit trees, berries, annual vegetables and herbs — some of our favorites alongside more unusual edibles.
This waist high salad greens bed is one of our favorite parts of the garden. Annual plantings of lettuces, arugula and chard are the foreground to more permanent ornamental plantings including ornamental oregano, euphorbia, fuschia, hellebores and canna. A mature Meyer lemon just outside the kitchen door is always easy to access.
Further up the hillside garden, a dedicated annual vegetable garden area includes three beds — perfect for rotating plantings. Cool season crops include leafy greens such as puntarelle, collards, parsley, kale, spicy mustard greens and trellised fava beans. The beauty and productivity of the space is enhanced by surrounding plantings of culinary herbs like sage, thyme and rosemary, alongside pollinator attracting ornamentals such as euphorbia, salvia and pink and orange toned succulents. Blueberries, citrus and and a mature apricot tree are further anchors for the overall edible landscape.
This rooftop garden in downtown Palo Alto is is all about production — but with a real appreciation for the unusual and the beautiful. Previously just an unused deck, we re-conceptualized the space as a super local source of organic fruit, vegetables and herbs for Palantir Technology’s employee kitchen and cafeteria! The rooftop deck space is also appreciated as an area for employees to relax and hold informal meetings.
Cool season crops like edible viola flowers and asian greens are harvested daily for use in the kitchen. Meyer lemon citrus and culinary herbs like rosemary provide through the seasons.
Palantir RooftopCorporate / Public Spaces
City Slicker Farm
Union Plaza Park in West Oakland is a flagship urban farming project of the West Oakland based non-profit, City Slicker Farms. Developed in cooperation with the City of Oakland, this underfunded public park in West Oakland was given a new life when re-birthed as a production oriented urban farm!
We, of course, were very happy to be asked to design and install the main flagstone pathway and various planting beds in this garden. Star Apple’s plantings included an accessible mix of fruit trees, blueberries, pollinator-attracting flowers and herbs. Working with volunteers to get the garden installed was a great opportunity to be involved with our local community.
Stop by and visit the farm when you can! Managed on an ongoing basis by City Slicker Farms, the gates to the farm are always open. Saturday harvest days are pay-what-you-can and there are always opportunities to volunteer and learn in the garden. See http://www.cityslickerfarms.org for more information.
City Slicker FarmCorporate / Public Spaces
Sometimes the best kitchen gardens are the smallest ones! At one of our favorite San Francisco cottage style gardens, a raised wooden bed transforms the narrow planting bed along a small brick backyard patio into abundance. Lemon cucumbers, potatoes, artichoke, chives and salad greens are just some of the vegetables and herbs that can be grown in this small space.
Smaller SpacesKitchen Gardens
SF Flower and Garden Show 2011
Our edible exhibit for the 2011 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show was an extensive edible garden called The Modern Homestead. The “modern homestead” design offered a fresh take on traditional homesteading concepts — our aim was to make the idea of homesteading more relevant for the modern urban or suburban dweller. With a 6000 square foot area to work with, we had lots of space to showcase the stylish, sustainable and edible garden and its role in the California lifestyle!
Thanks to our key collaborators in this project: Magic Gardens Landscaping; BA Design Lab; Baia Nicchia Farm & Nursery; Modern Cabana; Sunset Test Gardens Team; and Studio Choo Flowers.
SF Flower and Garden Show 2011Corporate / Public Spaces
SF Flower and Garden Show 2012
SF Flower Show 2012
We conceptualized our edible exhibit for the 2012 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show as an oasis amongst the hustle and bustle of the expo hall, that could also remind us how important productive garden and park space is within the city. Called Growing Food in the City, our design took the shape of a series of urban parklets; each one an interpretation of the various types of productive landscapes that can be created in cities: school gardens, urban farms, residential edible landscapes and restaurant gardens.
Star Apple’s version of a school garden highlighted the creative ways in which important lessons can be integrated into a school garden classroom. The urban farms demonstration showed urban dwellers how to make real the vision of committing themselves to locally grown food. Residential landscapes designed by Star Apple and Sunset Magazine provided innovative ideas for beautiful edible and ornamental plantings, no matter how small your garden space! And, finally, our chef-inspired garden, commissioned in honor of Greens Restaurant and Wendy Johnson of Green Gulch Farm, featured fruit, herbs and vegetables that especially inspire the palates of local chefs!
We were excited to partnering with some stellar organizations for this exhibit! Sunset Magazine, Baia Nicchia Farm, Grow Your Lunch, Love Apple Farm, Devil Mountain Nursery, Morningsun Herb Farm, Succulent Gardens, Four Winds Growers, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, The Living Seed Company, Wingman Coops and REvive all joined us, helping to highlight inventive approaches for the urban dweller ready to be an active part of his local foodshed.