Peek Inside 8 Gorgeous Private Gardens this Weekend


An ideal growing climate and world-famous geography inspire the most enchanting gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you’ve strolled through Russian Hill or Pacific Heights, you’ve no doubt wondered what lies behind the perfectly pruned front lawns.

This weekend The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program reveals four hidden beauties in San Francisco plus four more further south in affluent peninsula neighborhoods. The self-guided tours cost $5 each (free to members) and support the organization’s charitable mission to preserve and manage valuable garden spaces across the country.

Chez Amis, Atherton. Photo courtesy of The Garden Conservancy.

This Saturday in Atherton, Palo Alto, and Portola Valley, you can tour a variety of luxurious landscapes. One historic Atherton home named Chez Amis was originally designed in 1928 by Albert Farr as a summer getaway for a San Francisco family. Today’s owners recruited Carole Kraft of Natural Gardens, Inc. to provide the most recent addition to the home’s outdoor space. With British country manors in mind, she added English roses, perennial plantings, and flowering shrubs. Complete with a boxwood maze, this garden will surely transport you to a bygone era.

Liberty Hill residence, SF. Photo by Marion Brenner, courtesy of The Garden Conservancy.

The show moves to San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill, Liberty Hill, and Diamond Heights on Sunday to feature cliff-hanging terraces. From a modern Liberty Hill landscape of Cor-Ten walls and planters that play against the contrast of old stone walls to the “Garden Lot” begun by Valetta Heslet’s 1930s plantings that is situated adjacent to the Greenwich Steps, you can opt to see both current interpretations and grand dames of outdoor design.

Lincoln Avenue garden, Palo Alto. Photo by Debby Ruskin, courtesy of The Garden Conservancy.

The Garden Conservancy Open Days program includes 300 private gardens in 19 states. Sat., June 2, Peninsula & Sun., June 3, SF, from 10 am to 4 pm, or call 1-888-842-2442 on weekdays.

Diamond Heights modern, SF. Photo by Rich Radford, courtesy of The Garden Conservancy.

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