Around the turn of the 20th century, roughly 1890 to 1930, a mania for bungalows obsessed Californians. And for good reason. The predominantly small bungalow, some costing as little as $900, offered the middle class a home designed around both simplicity and artistry. Even better for Californians, a bungalow provided a way to live close to nature. As Paul Duchscherer, a San Francisco designer who has written and lectured extensively on bungalows, puts it, “Connecting the architecture to the garden was part of the bungalow sales pitch.”
Over four decades, the styles of locally built bungalows varied dramatically from Mission Revival to English Tudor. But the two styles most closely identified with the term bungalow in the Bay Area are the shingled Craftsman bungalow and the stucco California bungalow.
Working with landscape designer Irving Tamura, Duchscherer created a harmonious blend of plants and landscaping features. On either end of the front garden, the tall trees anchor woodland garden rooms filled with pink and purple rhododendrons, ferns and a baby tear ground cover. These garden rooms lead into gardens filled with Mediterranean and native plants such as California poppies, willowy grasses, Pacific Coast iris, and New Zealand flax with Scotch moss used as a ground cover. In the middle of these four gardens, leading to the front porch, is the cottage garden using colors dear to Jekyll’s style, with pink Sweet William, gray lamb’s ear, white foxgloves, pink roses and blue lobelia with star creeper as a ground cover.