Daily Garden: The Gas Station Garden | PITH + VIGOR by Rochelle Greayer

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Daily Garden: The Gas Station Garden

2/09/2010

gas station garden

The challenge for the designer: “In Berlin’s Schöneberg district, an abandoned gas station dating back to the 1950s stands in the midst of an enclosed city garden today. A glass-walled studio building was added to the structure, with its shed roof typical of gas stations. The client wanted a garden guided by the motto “Three Friends in Winter”, inspired by an exhibition about the three great emperors of the Qing dynasty (1662- 1795), who counted garden design among their hobbies. The three “friends”, in this case, are the pine tree, with ist sweeping crown carrying the snow, the bamboo, the evergreen symbolic of eternal life, and the cherry tree, the first tree to blossom before winter is over. The landscape architect, in turn, was inspired by a Fellini film and its mood – by the heat of summer, the scent of stone pines, and the chirping of crickets.”

gas station garden

This is what Hager Landschaftsarchitektur of Switzerland came up with:

“Large pine trees and multi-stemmed cherry trees stand in the gravel that covers most of the garden. Along the walls, which are two meters high, bamboo provides protection from the gazes of neighbors and passers-by. Beeblossoms, campanula, yellow ragwort, foxgloves and lilies grow between the bamboo plants. In addition to these species, columbines, willow leaf sunflowers, gauras and phlomis plants also flourish in the gravel. Starting out as insular beds in the gravel, the plants are spreading throughout the graveled area. The insular element within the meadow in bloom is now the concrete surface beneath the shed roof. An oblong water basin with water lilies and irises lines the plant bed along its southern edge.”

gas station garden

gas station garden

Images from Private plots and Public Spots.

I find this design to be entirely successful and love the creative re-use of the land.  The irony is not lost on me; It was a gas station no less!  It has me thinking about how so man other abandoned industrial sites might be transformed into beautiful and creative homes and gardens.  What do you like about this design?

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  1. It is kind of a spare design for me, but I like that the plants are intended to grow into the gravel. In time it will seem very natural, as long as unwanted weeds, which will surely seed into the gravel, are removed.

    • rochelle says:

      I’m always completely drawn to gardens that have gravel areas, and have tried creating the look for myself and clients, but I am always frustrated in the end with the level of weed control that is required. I agree, these types of pictures should always come with a warning — “massive weed control effort required”

  2. Nice adaptive re-use. The stripped down approach works well with the mid-century modern station overhead.

  3. S@sha says:

    I love it. I’d live or work there in a heartbeat. My masters thesis was about using phytoremediation to clean up old gas stations where the tanks had leaked– which is just about all of them. While this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with that, I love how keeping the canopy reminds people that this used to be a piece of the neighborhood’s infrastructure, and doesn’t just cover it up with something beautiful.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’ve wanted to convert a gas station for SO LONG! Jealous.

  5. Shaun says:

    Beautiful design. Nice article.

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