While I was in Hoboken for a client meeting this week, I walked through the riverfront streets to get a feel for the town. Observer Highway,
also known as Washington Street is lined with beautiful cafes, shops, pubs, retail stores and the famous Carlo’s bakery. The charm of the center of Hoboken is that it has a mix of older buildings that have details you don’t see in new construction.
Some of my favorite parts of the city are the little communities like Tudor City on Manhattan’s east side and Sutton Place, just below the Queensboro Bridge, which showcase buildings with beautiful brickwork and delightful details. During my stroll I came across this beautiful brick apartment building which had a similar kind of appeal.
I immediately noticed the first planting bed which was very under-planted. The few Impatiens in the bed were a nice thought, but it looks like it is only half done. Secondly, I noticed the odd shape created by the outline of the grass. If you look with a creative eye, you can almost make out the shape of a whale. Further along the property I found more strange shapes where mulch and planting bed met with grass and sidewalk. There was no flow or logic to how these parts of the landscape related to each other.
It is a good reminder that you must consider the relationships between positive and negative elements in the landscape. Consider the grass to be the “positive” space, which is dominant to the eye, and the “negative” space to be the mulched planting beds. Always design the shape of the positive space first. The negative space, which should be less focal to the eye, is secondary in design.
Someone who maintains this entry planting forgot this basic rule of thumb. I would suggest less focus and effort on the flowers and investing in some sod to fix the layout of the lawn and planting beds. To maximize your curb appeal and investment, make sure the structure of the landscape makes sense before you start adding annuals.