These gardens were designed and installed in 1970-1971 to complement the Japanese style of the house that had just been built by the current owners on an older property. Quail Hill comprises nineteen acres, mostly woodlands and natural landscape, with a view towards Mount Tamalpais. There is a private drive to the house bordered by a stone wall and groves of redwood and live oak trees that date back to the 1930s. The designed gardens interwoven with sections of the house include the motor court, three courtyard gardens, three interlocking water gardens, a swimming pool and pool house, and rectangular and octagonal cutting gardens that are hidden from view but provide flowers for the house for most of the year. The Japanese-stye gardens designed by Japanese landscape architect Nagao Sakurai and Japanese-American landscape architect Casey Kawamoto have been maintained for 45 years.
The oblong motor court is bordered on the far side by the pre-existing rock wall and natural landscape while against the white plaster walls of the house pine, cypress, holly and maple trees are kept in the niwaki style, or controlled pruning. The classic elements of the Japanese garden are used here: stone, gravel and a mostly green plant palate. There is a large stone Kasuga style lantern, one of many placed in the gardens. The entry courtyard garden includes Mondo grass, moss, pine, holly, a flowering cherry and Japanese maple, white azaleas, groupings of large rocks and a stream of gravel that leads to another large Japanese lantern. The rectangular swimming pool off this courtyard, with the view of Mount Tamalpais, is dark blue to reflect the sky. Slate paving stones are used for walkways and as accent around the pool, and stone aggregate concrete is used for decks. The courtyard garden outside the dining room is anchored at one end by a copper beech and at the other by a Japanese maple with baby's tears and another stream of gravel and kasuga lantern.
The water gardens designed by Sakurai begin with a delicate waterfall into a pond from which the water tumbles over small rocks to another pond. Finally there is a small cascade into a pool surrounded by iris, Mondo grass, nandina, pines and maples. Wood trim on the house and pool house are painted dark brown or "Golden Gate" orange that contrasts with the predominantly green palate of the plants.
Persons associated with the garden include Norman and Caroline Livermore (former owners, 1930-1969); Nagao Sakurai (1896-1973) (landscape architect, 1970); Casey A. Kawamoto (1919-2010) (landscape architect, 1970-1971); Harold Sato (landscape contractor, 1970).
The folder includes worksheets, site plans, and additional information.