2018 Design Award for Landscape Design: Sculpt Gardens Design + Build


The backyard designed by John and Danielle Steuernagel of Sculpt Gardens gives new meaning to the term “groundbreaking.” It’s filled with stunning elements, but to get there the team had to excavate 450 cubic yards of dirt from a steep San Francisco lot. The project is designed for a programmer who loves bright colors and outdoor experiences.


His new garden provides all of these elements on many levels (literally). It starts on the lowest level, where he can walk out of his office onto a small turf area endowed with a pair of hot-pink swings and a waterfall that trickles down a stone wall.On the next terrace up, a walkway leads to an outdoor kitchen and a fire pit that’s ringed by a built-in banquette. Additional levels hold a stainless steel hot tub and modern lounges pointed toward jaw-dropping city views.


The big surprise is on the uppermost plane, where a mirrored cube designed in collaboration with architect Cass Calder Smith of CCS Architecture and Akemi Tamaribuchi of Subject to Change seems to become part of the landscape and sky. The cube is home to a circular lounge area that’s topped by an oculus and ringed by custom-made heated benches and dry-erase walls. “It’s inspired by the work of James Turrell,” says Danielle. “It’s a space where people can brainstorm or just chill out.” – Mary Jo Bowling

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