Posts Tagged ‘Garden’

Our latest terrace transformation, located in Hoboken, features a fabulous flooring solution. To cover the concrete pavers commonly found in new construction, we added synthetic lawn which provides a lush green feel. Since three rooms of the apartment have windows and doors facing the space, the lawn added a punch of color that the space needed. As filtered sunlight graces the terrace throughout the day, the lawn has a luminous and calming feel.

Stained Trellis Adds a Focal Point in the Back of the Garden

Slatted Bench Seating and Cafe Tables Provide for Flexible Furniture Arrangements for Entertaining

Custom planters are now home to Spiraea shrubs and some of my favorite shade-loving perennials. Oakleaf Hydrangeas add texture to this small space. Since our palette is very neutral, the owners have a blank slate to play with when they add accessories to the garden. Any bright pop of color will find a home in this space because it won’t ‘fight’ with anything else. The colors create a very classic and elegant feel. The furniture has a modern edge and provides flexibility for entertaining. Instead of one large dining table, we opted for two smaller cafe tables which can easily be reconfigured for terrace cocktails or summer barbeques.

Climbing Hydrangea Will Cover This Trellis and Produce Elegant White Flowers in Summer

Low Voltage Fixtures Highlight the Plantings and Set the Mood for Evening Entertaining

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Gardens are most often designed to please the sense of sight.  Others are designed to satisfy our senses of smell, taste and touch. These things are relatively easy to accomplish. All it takes is a fragrant Lilac with showy blooms, or an herb garden filled with Oregano, Thyme and Catmint. The more difficult, and often forgotten, sense we need to embrace in garden design is hearing.

Sounds can invoke emotions just like color and texture.  Water is a common element that can easily be added to a landscape setting and it can range from a formal fountain to a bubbling stream.  A trickle of water evokes a more natural environment and can drown out unwanted noises in the medley of urban cacophony.

Wind chimes and garden bells range in materials from wood to metal to everything in between.  They can be of visual interest or melt into the background being heard but not seen.  Mostly dependent on wind or water movement to create sound, chimes and bells can be a gentle knocking of wood or a sharper tinny clang of metal.  Even with a slight breeze, chimes provide a relaxing point of interest to a plain garden.

Article written by lilyofthevalley for Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design

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Two levels of gardens compose the inner space between 54th and 53rd Street at Griffin Court. There is a lawn for dogs, covered pergolas for lounging or dining, lighting, mounded planting beds with grasses and everything you could hope for in a courtyard. The building was constructed in such a way that this garden has a decent amount of space and light which are very hard things to find in New York City. Walking in the courtyard felt very comfortable. It’s very easy to visualize spending time there. Everything about the garden makes it feel like a success, but I found a glitch from the view above.

The overall effect of the garden from the upper level apartments was boring. It felt artificial and stagnant. The view from the apartments facing this interior courtyard left me longing for a view to the street and real NYC sights and sounds. From an aerial perspective the space looks very contrived and has a textbook-design kind of feel. Landscape elements are spaced in such a way as to diverge and reconnect in a very structured manner. In fact, it feels too structured. If certain elements were more organic and free flowing, the garden would be more effective.

This garden needs more time to grow in since it was recently planted (it appears this was done the end of summer in 2010). Perhaps when the plants mature, the rigidity of the courtyard will fade. For me, having a view of a garden should be mesmerizing and take your mind to another world free of cell phones, emails and responsibilities.

The building on a whole was really well done. According to local real estate agents, Alchemy  Properties (the developer) completed construction of over 20 residential buildings and do quality work. I can attest that the layouts of the apartments and fixtures were very nice and well worth seeing. Small things like windows and murals in the hallways make it stand out from other buildings where developers have short-ended the halls making them dark and cramped. Read more about Griffiin Court here: http://www.griffincourtcondo.com

Also check out their facebook page for more images of the space: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Griffin-Court-Condo/103487993030031?v=info

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We did a gorgeous pumpkin installation this past week on a rooftop garden in Chelsea, Manhattan. The fall decorations were hand selected and delivered from Brooklawn Farm Market in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. To keep the display unique, we used a subtle color palette with lots of whites, creams, yellows, greens and soft oranges as opposed to the common carving pumpkins.

Arranging the Pumpkins On the Terrace

This is a great way to add a punch, and I mean PUNCH of color and texture to gardens at this time of year. The empty spaces left by seasonal annuals and tender perennials can quickly be filled with pumpkins and gourds. Fairytale pumpkins anchor this display, and my new favorite is the Yugoslavian finger pumpkin which is the white one with little finger-like shapes all around the bottom side of it. It is so sculptural, and is looks like a modern piece of art. We used the small white jack-b-little pumpkins to create a “decorative mulch” in the planter boxes. Enjoy the pictures.

Clusters of Pumpkins Make a Big Impact

Muhlenbergia capillaris Grass Adds Texture and Movement to the Display

Jack-B-Little Pumpkins Serve as a “Decorative Mulch” in this Planter

Colors and Textures used in the Display

Overhead of View of Display Terrace


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Lighting in the garden is sexy. Properly designed lighting sets the right mood, makes the garden come to life, and creates an ambience that makes a garden feel complete. Needless to say, the functionality of a garden increases significantly because you are able to monitor the meat on the grill, find your silverware at the dinner table and even read the New York Times as the sun sets. Set the up lights to catch the exfoliating bark of Betula papyrifera, or a backlight to frame the architectural silhouette of Yucca filamentosa and magic happens.

In New York City, there is no such thing as complete darkness on a terrace. Strategically placed low voltage lighting kicks the ambient lighting up a notch to highlight the things that make your garden special. Consider it an investment piece for your garden. We recently installed a system on the lower east side composed of several uplights and downlights that make the sitting area more useable.

Wall Mounted Lighting Focuses on Reading and Eating Areas


Uplights catch the Trunk of this Magnolia

 Uplights, downlights, and LED lighting set a nice backdrop in the garden, but don’t be afraid to play with feature lighting too. These Manhattan lighting showrooms have inspiring outdoor fixtures. The first is a Phillipe Starck floor lamps available at Flos Lighting http://www.flos.com/int-en-Home at 152 Greene Street and the second is the Luceplan floor lamp which you can use in multiple ways available at http://www.olighting.com/ at 40 Walker Street. By the way, check out the Raimond Pendant fixture at O Lighting- it is for interiors, but it is magnificent!




Super Archimoon Outdoor Floor Lamp by Philippe Starck (photo from flos.com)


Luceplan Pod Lens Floor Lamp (photo from olighting.com)


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I often say that gardening is the best kind of therapy. It is cheap, and plants always listen. There is no prognosis, diagnosis, or prescription at the end of a day of gardening, and the mixture of aesthetic bliss mixed in with the honest sweat on your brow goes beyond the feeling of satisfaction.  

I  find that I take the most joy out of gardening by noticing the small details. When I worked on my gardens in Pennsylvania, my cat was my garden companion, and I was in such a relaxed state when I was pulling the thistles out of my perennial borders with my delightfully obese orange tabby by my side. In New York, my garden is now in the shape of a 50 square foot terrace, limited to several containers with room for a small grill and cafe seating for two.

While cleaning up the annuals for fall, I pulled out the Ipomoea batatas (Sweet Potato Vine) to find little sweet potato tubers growing in my containers. Of course I have had this happen in planting beds in the country, but I didn’t expect to find so many growing in my limited container space. I have never heard of anyone eating the tubers of the ornamental sweet potato vines, and don’t recommend it as these plants have been cultivated for their showy qualities as opposed to their agrarian counterparts. Regardless, it is fun to find these little surprises in the garden. Perhaps this spring I will try some actual veggies on the terrace in addition to my herbs.


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Since fall has progressed and the trees are already leafless in the New York, I thought I would put up a few of my favorite pictures of Villa Lante. This is one of my favorite gardens in Italy.  I have had the opportunity to visit gardens not only throughout the U.S., but throughout many countries.

The garden is composed of two main parts called the barchetto and the parterre. The barchetto is an essential component of the villa, but is left out in later drawings. A barchetto is a labyrinthine which represents free nature, and consists of intersecting random paths. The terraced parterre is composed axially and is very geometric. The slope of terrain is incorporated and formalized in this part of the garden. With a difference in height of 15m, the garden is composed of a series of terraces. Water is a crucial element of design in the garden, and it connects the terraces together to tell a wonderful story.

Check out more information on this garden at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_Lante


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