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Archive for the ‘Urban Garden Design’ Category

Now that Valentine’s Day has passed and February is half over, you may want to start focusing attention on your landscaping plans for the rapidly-approaching 2016 season. Just about any designer will tell you that your outdoor space should be an extension if your interior living space. But that’s easier said than done. If you don’t already have a patio, deck or feature that delineates a specific functional area (think pool/ shed/ raised planting garden), it can be difficult to carve out romantic areas that make you want to stop and enjoy the intimate atmosphere a beautiful landscape can provide. Here are 3 easy ways to bring more romance to your garden design:

Jeffrey Erb NYC Backyard Planting Design

  1. Keep lighting indirect and in unexpected places. Nothing ruins the mood more than having a beam of light shining directly in your eyes. Use lighting to accent walls, highlight textures of fencing and graze across sculptures. Never underestimate the power of shadows in a garden.
  2. Even in large spaces, find niches or carve out places that feel enclosed. Instead of building a stone patio in the middle of the lawn, add a buffer hedge around it or a small ornamental tree to anchor the corner of the patio. Think about the “floor”, “walls” and “overhead” plane that make up your outdoor patio room. This is a tip from landscape design 101. If you haven’t signed up yet- join my class at the New York Botanical Garden this spring or summer 
  3. Subtle transitions in materials or plant palettes go a long way in creating soft visual effects in the landscape. Bold contrasting colors and patterns may make great content for an editorial photo shoot, but the reality of day to day living calls for design that can stand the test of time. Use color blocking to group like colors together. A neutral background in the garden allows for focal points to be added and edited over time.

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In the seven years I’ve lived in New York City, this is by far the worst winter I have ever seen. The snow is relentless and is clearly overstaying its welcome. While stuck inside today I am sorting through spring plantings from past seasons. If you have spring fever like me, it’s never too early to treat your symptoms and begin planning your first seasonal planting of the year. Check out these ideas and tips to create a fresh look once warmer weather rolls around!

Hellebore, Heather, Pansies and Grape Hyacinth Create a Sophisticated Spring Planting

Hellebore, Heather, Pansies and Grape Hyacinth Create a Sophisticated Spring Planting

Restrain Your Color Palette to Create an Understated Spring Planting

Restrain Your Color Palette to Create an Understated Spring Planting

Instead of using every available color in your planting try picking one or two hues and stick with them. We used Heather and Hellebore in the above planting as neutrals to balance out the yellow and purple in the Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) and Grape Hyacinth (Muscari). I feel plantings that have flower colors of the same value or saturation are more pleasing than those of high contrast. The more contrast there is between light and dark colors the more attention the planting draws. More often than not I prefer plantings that are easy on the eye, not ones that scream “look at me!”

Torenia and Pansies Grace this NYC Rooftop Garden

Torenia and Pansies Grace this NYC Rooftop Garden

Spring Planting with Flowers at Different Heights Draws Your Eye Through the Garden

Spring Planting with Flowers at Different Heights Draws Your Eye Through the Garden

In spring, when deciduous trees and shrubs are just beginning to leaf out and the landscape is just waking up, a spring planting can add a ton of visual interest. Use plantings of different heights, or in planters of different heights to draw your eye through the landscape. Your eye will follow the spots of color and if repeated throughout a garden, the color will create movement in an otherwise dull space.

Transitional Late Spring Early Summer Planting with Caladium and Columbine

Transitional Late Spring Early Summer Planting with Caladium and Columbine

Classic White Hydrangeas, a Simple Spring Planting

Classic White Hydrangeas, a Simple Spring Planting

If in doubt, keep your planting simple. White Hydrangeas create a very clean and soothing look for spring. However, it’s my job as a landscape designer to create unique planting combinations. Don’t be afraid to use perennials in a planter for a seasonal planting. You can always replant the perennials into a planting bed once the display is changed out. Columbine (Aquilegia), Caladiums and Alyssum were combined to create a muted look for this late spring/early summer transitional planting. The texture of the broad heart-shaped Caladium leaves against the tiny white flowing flowers of the Alyssum is divine.

I hope some of these pictures help you look past the current blizzard and start dreaming of spring. There is no better cure for spring fever than planning your garden and picking out plants that inspire you!

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A Lightweight Deck Solution is Removable Should the Renter Decide to Move

A Lightweight Deck Solution is Removable Should the Renter Decide to Move

This renter wanted to take advantage of killer financial district and Wall Street views…. and I don’t blame them. With a terrace like this, you want to be able to use every square inch! We added lightweight fiberglass planters with specimen Japanese Maples for height.

 
Specimen Japanese Maples add Height to This Garden

Specimen Japanese Maples add Height to This Garden

A lightweight decking solution was installed over the existing concrete pavers. That goes for the synthetic lawn as well. Should the renter decide to move, they get to take their deck and  grass with them (if they so choose).

Killer Views of Wall Street and the Financial District as Seen from this Terrace Garden

Killer Views of Wall Street and the Financial District as Seen from this Terrace Garden

The renter added their funky flare with bold furniture pieces and textiles. Low voltage lighting sets the mood at night, and creates a fabulous place to soak in the scenery.

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Jeffrey had the opportunity to work with garden photographer Jerry Pavia for a spread in the April 2013 edition of Container Gardens Magazine. Check out our work on an upper west side NYC penthouse. If you want to see more photos of this stunning garden, visit our online portfolio!

Container Gardens April 2013 Magazine Available Now

Container Gardens Magazine April 2013 Issue Available Now

Check out Jeffrey's Work Photographed by Jerry Pavia

Check out Jeffrey’s Work Photographed by Jerry Pavia

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This Metal Wall Panel Serves as a Focal Point in the Garden

It’s almost unfair to compare the amount of options for artwork and accessories for interiors to those available for outdoor spaces. When it comes to decorating exterior walls, prefabricated or “off the shelf” artwork options are slim to none, especially for someone with a discerning eye with a specific style.

The Wall Panel is Mounted Away from the Wall to Create Shadows and Depth

When it came time to finish off the far wall in this backyard garden, I decided to go with a custom wall mounted panel. Based on the idea of a starburst, I designed several versions for the homeowner in both organic (loose) and geometric styles. We decided on the latter and further refined our design.

A Custom Starburst Pattern Cut with Water Jet into Aluminum

I sent my drawing off to the metal shop where they cut my design to exact specifications with a water jet. The aluminum panel was then powder coated with a custom tint to match the other elements in the garden. The end result is a sleek piece of wall art that serves as a focal point in the garden. I chose to mount the panel about 2 inches away from the wall surface to create shadows and more interesting light patterns. At night, the panel is lit to create even more shadows and interest. It’s the perfect design solution for addressing this big empty brick wall!

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Carefully Selected Accessories Make This Renter’s Terrace Feel Complete

The Top of the Rock has phenomenal views of Midtown Manhattan, the Hudson River and Central Park. However, these twin terraces situated on Central Park South have views which top even those. Situated in the middle of Central Park, you can see all the way from 59th Street to the far end of the park at 110th Street. It takes a lot to make the heart of a New Yorker skip a beat, but this perspective does the trick.

Crepe Myrtles and Ornamental Grasses Soften this Intimate Terrace

The off-white parapet wall really stuck out against the green backdrop provided by the park. Our intent for using tall planters was to hide most of the parapet wall. Using tall planters also makes the terrace feel larger because it stretches the  lines of the space vertically. Crepe Myrtles, deciduous shrubs and ornamental grasses were carefully selected based on light and wind conditions.

A Surreal View of Central Park Looking North

The terraces were accessorized with rugs, pillows, low voltage lighting and lanterns to make them feel complete and lived in. Since the apartment is rented, adding these finishing touches makes the space feel more personalized since changing permanent features of the property is not an option. Now that the terraces are planted, the only thing left to do is to sit back and enjoy the view!

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Newly Replanted Bed in the Courtyard of Hartley House

After hurricane Irene downed four mature trees at Hartley House last season, the courtyard was in desperate need of new plantings. Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design volunteered to provide a full design for the courtyard in an effort to reclaim the space and fill the void the trees left behind.

A Close-up Shot of the East Bed

Though the courtyard benefits from gracious donations of annual flowers on a yearly basis, we knew that it needed more this year to make an impact in the space. Alan Klein headed a garden committee to coordinate the replanting of the largest planting bed in the courtyard.

A Mixture of Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs Were Used in the Planting Bed

After the committee raised enough funds for the installation of an automatic irrigation system, Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design donated additional labor and assisted in obtaining plant materials to make the funds stretch to cover the full installation of the planting bed. The plantings, installed just after July 4th, feature perennial flowers, shrubs and vines which will continue growing year after year. Just a small portion in the front of the planting bed was reserved as a place for annual flowers.

Hydrangea ‘Little Lamb’ is a Showstopper Along the North Bed

We want to thank family, friends and neighbors who donated to this cause. We couldn’t be more proud to play a role in helping a community center which makes a difference in the lives of so many families in Hell’s Kitchen. We will continue to donate time to care for the plants and hope to raise additional funds to continue greening the courtyard at Hartley House in the future.

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