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Channeling Olmsted

Memorial day is a time to remember the lives given by those who served our country in the line of duty. At the onset of summer, as festivities and patriotic spirits are lifted, we gather with family and loved ones we are thankful to have in our lives. There is no doubt in my mind that Central Park is swamped with picnics and gatherings on this gorgeous day.

I want to take a moment to remember Frederick Law Olmsted and his contribution to our city. Central Park (and Prospect Park) is an inconic landmark of New York City which continues to make a significant impact on the lives of Manhattanites and visitors alike. The sea of green which Olmsted approached with the viewpoint of creating a public space equally accessible for all classes was truly visionary at the time.

A stunning penthouse on Central Park West overlooks the classic landscape that Olmsted left behind. Our task was to channel Olmsted’s vision to create a terrace that complements the views and surrounding landscape. The result is a timeless garden full of understated textures and greenery to produce a calm place for the homeowners to entertain and relax. Watch the video to see the transformation!

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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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A Stunning Copper Swing 'Ostara' by Myburgh Designs

I came across this gorgeous piece while researching outdoor swings. The Ostara Swing, by Myburgh Designs, is made of copper and is large enough for two people. The interior of the swing is polished and lacquered while the exterior has a delightful patina and wax finish. The lines are very modern. With the right cushions, this unique swing makes a bold statement and a cozy place to spend an afternoon in the garden.

Breathe Swing by Myburgh Designs

The Breathe Swing (pictured above) is Myburgh’s ultra modern swing crafted of fiberglass. Offered in solid white or green, the shapes in the back are reminiscent of branches or veins in a leaf. As a third option to get your feet off the ground, Dedon has its giant Nestrest swing which features their signature woven design.

The Nestrest Swing by Dedon

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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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