The Sidewalk Garden Project

San Francisco’s urban watersheds are mostly covered with impermeable surfaces like concrete, asphalt and buildings, where stormwater has no place to go other than the City’s combined sewer system. Heavy storms can overwhelm the system, resulting in neighborhood flooding and partially treated wastewater flowing into the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. Creating sidewalk gardens is one small action we can collectively take to greatly benefit our sewer system, the environment, and San Francisco communities.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission logo

Let the rain soak in!

As one of the City’s many greening efforts, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) have partnered on the Sidewalk Garden Project, a program to green our city and keep our Bay and Ocean clean. Together, the SFPUC and FUF are working with San Francisco residents to create sidewalk gardens that take advantage of the natural processes of soils and plants to slow down and clean stormwater and keep it out of our City’s sewer system.

The Sidewalk Garden Project is replacing concrete sidewalks with thriving gardens to capture stormwater and reduce the burden on our sewer system while beautifying San Francisco neighborhoods and protecting the environment.

2013 Sidewalk Garden Projects

Sidewalk gardens at the Zen Center on Page Street, installed May 2013

Sidewalk gardens at the Zen Center on Page Street, installed May 2013

The Sidewalk Garden Project launched in May 2013 with a sidewalk garden installation at Zen Center properties on Page Street between Laguna and Buchanan streets in Hayes Valley, which is part of the Channel watershed. See a video about the event, with comments from project leaders and participants.

During the summer we organized sidewalk garden installations around The Wiggle bicycle route, which is also in the Channel watershed.  In the fall, we moved on to the Islais Creek watershed around Mission and Valencia streets.

Gather your neighbors and join the Sidewalk Garden Project today!

Sidewalk Garden Project map 2013

North Shore, Channel and Islais Creek watersheds shown in bright green; 2013 project areas shown in orange. Click to enlarge.

To participate in a Sidewalk Garden Project, your block must be located within one of the areas shown in orange on the map at right; approximately 15 properties on your block must be interested in participating; and each block must have a Neighborhood Organizer (learn how to organize a Sidewalk Garden Project on your block here).

If your neighborhood meets these criteria, please contact Jasmine by phone at 415-268-0772 or by email with our contact form.

Interested in volunteering to plant sidewalk gardens? Go to our Events Calendar for a listing of upcoming projects. See our Volunteer page to get involved.

Interested in getting involved in green infrastructure projects near you?

The SFPUC will plan, design and build larger green infrastructure projects in the city over the next three years. These projects will help manage the city’s stormwater using technologies like rain gardens and permeable pavement. The SFPUC wants to hear from you about the design of these projects! To get involved, email us at

Interested in planning for the future of the sewer system?

You can be part of the long-term planning process for sewer system improvements in San Francisco over the next 20 years. The City will be integrating a mix of green and grey infrastructure projects in the upgrade of our aging combined sewer system. The SFPUC wants your input regarding challenges and opportunities for sewer system improvements citywide. To get involved in the Urban Watershed Assessment project, visit