Hanging planters can be added to a number of streetscape elements to add unique detail, seasonal interest and identity to a street or neighborhood. Use of drought tolerant perennials such as succulents is highly encouraged.
Because hanging baskets are maintenance and resource intensive, they are not a preferred landscaping method. However, hanging baskets may be appropriate in some instances, such as where funded by community benefit districts (CBDs) or at important civic or ceremonial locations.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is currently developing policy guidelines and procedures for attaching objects like hanging baskets to City-owned light poles. Contact the SFPUC Street Light Engineering Division for more information on the status of this policy.
To place hanging baskets on City-owned utility poles, sponsoring organizations should work with the SFPUC to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) stipulating:
- A maintenance plan
- Map showing pole locations
- Emergency contact information
- Mounting system (to attach the basket to the city-owned street pole)
- Liability insurance
See Permit Process for more information
Official Codes & Documents
- Better Streets Plan (street design guidelines)
Street types: Downtown Commercial, Commercial Throughway, Neighborhood Commercial, Downtown Residential, Residential Throughway, Mixed Use, Parkway, Park Edge, Multi-Way Boulevard, Ceremonial
Sidewalk zones: Furnishings Zone, Edge Zone
Above ground planters should generally be a secondary alternative to in-sidewalk plantings.
Use of drought tolerant perennials such as succulents is highly encouraged.
The SFPUC is responsible for maintenance of most street lights in San Francisco. If you install hanging baskets, you will be responsible for their maintenance in accordance with an agreement with the SFPUC.
While policy guidance documents are being currently being drafted, the SFPUC supports community groups such as a Merchant’s Association or Community Benefit District to sponsor installing hanging baskets along a commercial corridor. The sponsoring organization assumes maintenance responsibilities for the hanging baskets.
Specific maintenance requirements will be described in the agreement between the project sponsor and the SFPUC. The maintenance agreement should include a description of how the baskets will be watered during the dry season and confirmation that project sponsors/property owners have an approved water source to do this.
For a more detailed description of maintenance responsibilities, see Maintenance.