Archive for the ‘Urban Garden Design’ Category

The heat wave makes summer official. Don’t forget to add lighting so you can enjoy your garden at night. I took this shot from one of our recently installed gardens here in midtown Manhattan with a gorgeous view of Worldwide Plaza. Simple uplights highlight the branching of the newly planted trees while wall-mounted fixtures wash over the lounge furniture and create a soft pool of light on the lawn.

Midtown Penthouse Rooftop Garden Glows as the Sun Sets

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Is your garden picture perfect and show house ready? If not, consider adding some of these unique plant species we used in the Elle Decor 2012 Modern Life Concept House garden. With a ton of exciting design ideas and amazing pieces in the show house, not everyone is going to pay attention to the greenery. However, gardeners and horticultural aficionados will appreciate that we’ve managed to squeeze in no less than 23 different plant species into this small garden. The plants provide a neutral backdrop for the furniture and sculptures while tying in to the delicious yellow and gold color scheme Michael Tavano created with the custom pergola and luxurious fabrics.

IN BLOOM THIS WEEK: Styrax japonica, Sambucus ‘Black Lace, Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’, Heuchera ‘Silver Scrolls’ and Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’

The show house opens this Friday, May 25th. Get tickets Here and contribute to Free Arts NYC.

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Where have all the flowers gone and where are they going next? We had a busy spring planting and installing lots of new projects in addition to seasonal plantings for existing gardens. With several projects in midtown and more on the Upper West Side, our gardens continue to spread across the city from penthouses on Central Park to backyards and entry plantings in Chelsea all the way down to the financial district. Until they make it to our website, enjoy a peek at some of our latest project.  Some gardens are newly planted and some are still in progress. Either way they put me in the mood for summer!

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Alan Klein Supervises Planting at Elle Decor’s 2012 Modern Life Concept House at the Dillon on West 53rd Street

NEW YORK, NY, May 11, 2012 – International design authority ELLE DÉCOR will produce the second annual Modern Life Concept House opening on May25th at The Dillon on West 53rd Street in one of the property’s exclusive townhouses.  Renowned international designer and judge of BBC’s ‘House of the Year’ Michael Tavano has tapped Jeffrey Erb, to design and install the plantings for the 600 sq. foot courtyard, the only outdoor space of the property.

“Green space and outdoor living are elements which have a profound impact on the quality of modern life in an urban environment.  We are thrilled to work with Michael Tavano to create a vision of innovative living and contemporary design concepts for this urban landscape,” said Jeffrey Erb. “A great landscape designer is to an outdoor space what a great architect is to a home,” added Michael Tavano.

Michael is an internationally renowned interior designer, product designer, home fashion stylist, visual merchandiser, table designer, judge of BBC’s House of the Year series.

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Mounding Santolina Growing through a Boxwood Hedge

Ever since I traveled abroad to Florence as a student and saw masses of Peonies bursting over the edges of a tight Boxwood Hedge at the Bobolis gardens I can’t get that image out of my head. This concept, has a special place in my heart as a landscape designer. I came across the above image online and instantly fell in love with the garden. There is something so delicious about the way the mounding Santolina unassumingly fills in the border defined by the tight dark green Boxwood. This landscape is about texture, line, and contrast….everything I love about garden design. Sometimes all you need is that one inspiration image to get the gears turning…

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NYC Terrace Newly Planted in Preparation for Listing

Staging your outdoor space can be one of the best ways to set your property apart when listing it for sale. In my experience, exterior spaces often get the short end of the stick when it comes to staging, and it’s a missed opportunity. Especially in cities and urban environments, buyers want the exterior of their home to look and feel just as fabulous as the interior.

Alyssum, Yucca, Heuchera and Nemesia Add a Splash of Color Outside the Main Living Room Windows

We recently staged a penthouse terrace where we maximized the appeal and visual interest of the space. Of course, if you already have existing elements, it is best to incorporate them into the final design whenever possible. We added to existing furniture and brought in coordinating pieces, planters and accessories to warm up the space.

Existing Furniture Was Rearranged to Maximize the Layout of the Garden

We focused on plantings that had the most impact and color for this time of the season. Many deciduous plants are still pushing leaves and we used a combination of evergreens and deciduous shrubs to get the best results. The view from inside the apartment was also key. When a buyer enters the apartment and looks out the window, I want them to see color, depth and a space that they can incorporate into their lifestyle.

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The seductive appeal of a makeover is ingrained into our lifestyles. TV shows shower us with instant transformations leaving us drooling and lusting for something new. With buds bursting and spring in full swing, you may be itching for something different in your garden. Here are some easy mini makeover projects that will help spruce up your garden without breaking the bank.

Overgrown Entry Garden in Chelsea


Some homeowners have an aversion to pruning because they are afraid to hurt the plant, or just don’t know where to start. Pruning is a necessary horticultural technique that will help your plants grow with the best form. The townhouse pictured above, in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, has a gorgeous entry garden with a well-designed plant layout. However, the plants appear unkempt and are in need of a good pruning. The Euonymus growing on the fence and on the façade of the house needs trimmed while the Japanese Maple needs corrective pruning for crossing branches. Remember, the first things to look for when pruning include broken branches, crossing branches and competing leaders in trees. Brush up on your pruning skills for trees and ornamental shrubs with these informative guides. It’s such a simple thing to do, yet still often overlooked.

Beach Pebbles Make a Great Filler in a Walkway

Glass Pebbles Can Add Depth to a Walkway


Consider adding a gravel walkway in your garden. Walkways add loads of visual interest to landscapes. They can delineate garden beds and offer definitive structure to otherwise large areas of soil or lawn. For a fresh take on a gravel path, consider mixing in a few glass pebbles along with beach pebbles to add luster and depth.  If you already have an established walkway, think about adding a different border. Use the same material as the main walkway but lay it in a different pattern or size for extra emphasis. It’s a simple trick that can add a lot of appeal.


For a moment, forget the flowers blooming in your garden.  Focus on the foliage instead and ask yourself the following questions. Do the leaves have contrasting shapes and colors? How about the size of the leaves, do they vary in arrangement and texture? The truth is that foliage is just as important as flowers when selecting a plant palette. Flowers bloom for finite periods of time while the foliage is present for the majority of the season. If the leaves of your plants are all hitting the same note, it may be time to add some fresh species to the mix.

Cool Season Planting with Contrasting Foliage


Avoid the common mistake of adding one of every kind of annual to your garden bed. Choose two colors to work with and repeat them throughout your garden. Foliage plants act as neutrals and add sophistication to seasonal plantings. Above, Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Ogon’, Pieris japonica ‘Flaming Silver’ and miniature Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Gold Mop’ were used to complement the yellow Pansies in this cool-season planting.


Revamp the layout of your planting bed. Transplant shrubs and divide perennials that feel out of place. You’d be surprised how much of a difference transplanting a few existing plants can make. In general it is a good idea to plant like species in clusters to evoke a more naturalized feel. Plantings repeated throughout the landscape tend to make more impact. Spring is the best time to selectively edit out any plants that didn’t meet your expectations last season.

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