Lily Living Alley

We are beautifying Lily Street!

FUF received funding from the Community Challenge Grant Living Alley Program for the 200, 300 and 400 blocks of Lily for the following:

  • 2 block parties on each block (one this year and one next year)
  • Greening at the dead-end of the 400 block of Lily
  • 2 murals on each block 
  • Signage on each block

Additionally we have funding to do tree basin expansions (mini gardens around a mature tree) on Lily and sidewalk landscaping on Laguna and Buchanan at Lily.

Mural Process

Through the Living Alleys Program FUF was funded to execute a total of 6 murals along the 200, 300, and 400 block of Lily Street (2 on each block).  

FUF solicited proposals from muralists and received materials from over 40 talented artists. After several weeks of mural committee meetings and public comment the block chose 2 artists to complete the project: 

The mural designs were approved through the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Sidewalk Greening

Additionally FUF has funding to subsidize the cost for sidewalk greening. This involves removing excess sidewalk and planting drought tolerant, pollinator gardens along the street. There are three separate components of the greening:

  1. tree basin expansions
  2. corner property sidewalk landscaping
  3. 400 block dead-end greening

    1. Tree basin expansions (for properties with trees)

If your property has mature trees then you are may eligible for a “tree basin expansion” – where FUF removes concrete around your tree(s) making the square (or tree basin) around your tree larger. This is good for the tree and can also remove some cracked or crumbling concrete caused by the tree.

After removing the concrete we will have a community planting day where we amend the soil and plant a small garden. For those who don’t want to maintain a garden, we can simply cover with soil with high quality bark mulch.

Our funding will subsidize the majority of the cost of a tree basin. Properties who want plants in their   basin expansion will be charged $100 per property.

   2. Corner property sidewalk landscapes (for corner properties along Lily street)

Wider sidewalks on Laguna and Buchanan are eligible for sidewalk landscaping. Sidewalk Landscapes are permitted by Public Works and FUF will coordinate the permit and planting for each property.

After removing the concrete we will have a community planting day where we amend the soil, plant drought tolerant plants and cover the soil with mulch. You can get more information on FUF sidewalk landscape projects HERE.

Our funding will subsidize the majority of the cost of sidewalk landscaping, property owners will have to pay for Sidewalk Landscape Permit.

Please CLICK HERE for examples of mature FUF sidewalk gardens

  3. 400 block greening

The 400 block of Lily street is unique in that it is a dead-end block. The Living Alleys Grant has funding to   green the wall at the end of the block with planters and drought tolerant plants. We look forward to turning a dead-end into a living-end! The grant covers all expenses of this greening, but we need  volunteers to help plant and maintain the gardens.

Project timeline

June 2017

  • Identify 2 mural locations each on 200, 300, 400 block of Lily
  • Mural artist Request for Proposal is published

July 2017

  • Artist deadline to submit a proposal for mural painting

August 2017

  • Choose mural artist
  • Begin planning greening on 400 block of Lily

September 2017

  • Finalize all mural designs

October – December 2017

  • SF Arts Commission Civic Design Review for Lily murals
  • Block parties on 200, 300 &/or 400 block of Lily
  • Lily Street basin expansion and sidewalk landscape planting

January – ? 2018

  • Install murals on the 200, 300, 400 block of Lily
  • Install greening on the 400 block of Lily
  • Design and install Living Alley signage
  • Block parties on 200, 300 & 400 block of Lily


Lily Living Alley History

The Lily Living Alley (LLA) project is a partnership between Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) and a group of residents in Hayes Valley, in the heart of San Francisco. Together we are working to generate neighborhood support and participation towards the creation of a living alley on Lily Street. The LLA project is spearheaded by 13 block captains who live on the 200, 300, and 400 blocks of Lily and over 30 people from those blocks who have attended meetings, workshops, and walking tours.

April 2016 Community Meeting

Participants at the first Lily Living Alley community meeting, April 2016

The partnership began in early 2016 when a few long-­term Lily Street residents – Robin, Donna, Brian S and Brian T – were inspired to participate in the city’s Living Alley program but were stymied by logistical hurdles. They reached out to FUF for help and together established the LLA project. This core group of founders began to meet with FUF to establish the community-led design process. They started by holding a community meeting to introduce Lily Street Living Alley to the neighborhood and advertised the meeting with posters along the street and left flyers at each property. This inaugural community meeting was a major success with 40 residents present.

Attendees were encouraged to sign in and note if they were interested in taking leading roles as block captains. The block captains play a crucial role in both bubbling up feedback from neighbors, as well as disseminating updates about the project.

Block Captains working on living alley design elements, June 2016

Block Captains working on living alley design elements, June 2016

We’ve hosted events including a living alley walking tour in Hayes Valley, community design-charrettes and a block party – all with the goal of inspiring community involvement in the design process and feedback on design elements. In August 2016 FUF and a few block captains met with staff of the Living Alley Program at the SF Planning Department and gained preliminary approval for the living alley improvement plan designed by the community. This plan was the basis of a Community Challenge Grant, which was due September 2016.

In January of 2017, LLA and FUF were awarded a Community Challenge Grant. We are currently working on implementation of the improvements outlined in the Grant.

Lily Street Block Party, July 2016

Lily Street Block Party, July 2016