Posts Tagged ‘rooftop gardens’


A Soho Roof Garden with Custom Pergola

Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design was busy creating wonderful gardens in 2012. However, some of them are only going to be in full bloom for the first time this season and we can’t wait to share them with you. Until the plants are in full leaf, we thought we would give you a sneak peek of some of our newest gardens.


Tiered Planters Offer Multiple Levels of Vegetation in Soho

This Soho rooftop now features a custom pergola to escape from the hot summer sunshine. Custom tiered planters offer two levels of flowering vegetation. We utilized the method of color blocking to create groupings of perennials within a set range of colors.


A Retaining Wall Doubles as a Planting Bed and Sitting Ledge

A chic backyard in Greenwich Village has been completely gut renovated. New bluestone pavers, a retaining wall and custom decking give the space a whole new feel. Our plantings will be highlighted by a low voltage lighting system.


The Gut Renovated Garden is Ready for Planting, Vines will Cover the Trellis


Custom Planters Fit into the Corner of this Midtown Penthouse

Midtown Manhattan never looked better than from the roof of this private penthouse. Custom fiberglass planters anchor the edge of a deck which sits above a luxurious rooftop lawn. We installed over 250 square feet of live sod on this rooftop. The four-legged resident of the house is thrilled!


Over 250 Square Feet of Live Sod in Midtown Manhattan

Current blog avatar


Read Full Post »

As New York City-based landscape designers, our work is often hidden away from public view atop lofty rooftops, or secretly nestled away amid the backyards and courtyards of townhouses and apartment buildings. However, we also have plenty of clients and buildings which care equally about their curb appeal as they do their private property.  The beautification of building entryways and street plantings, can be extremely rewarding and impactful. For our clients, entry planters, window boxes and sidewalk plantings are the first line of beauty they encounter when arriving or departing their residence. 

From our perspective, this is often the only publicly accessible demonstration of our work, and a small way we contribute to the beautification of our own city and neighborhoods. The best example is the care and planting of street tree beds widely known by the woefully lackluster descriptive – the tree pit.

Planting Tree Pits on the Upper East Side of Manhattan

The Pit Environment

Tree pits in cities are challenging and temperamental planting environments under ideal circumstances. The frequent lack of direct light is a significant limiting factor. Soil conditions and the amount of soil volume available also greatly impact the success of recommended plantings. We have unearthed bricks, rocks, trash and debris of all kinds (no fossils or arrowheads unfortunately) while excavating tree pits. As professionals we have extensive experience to offer our clients for site preparation, plant selections, planting procedure and of course maintenance. There is however, one issue which is out of the control of horticultural enthusiasts.

Sidewalk Dilemma

The number one issue to contend with in the success of street plantings and tree pits is pets, or more specifically pet owners. Dogs of course must be walked, they need outdoor space, air to breath and a place to do their business – herein lies the dilemma. Dog (and other pet) urine is highly acidic. Its effects are negative for street trees, but for shrubs and flowers it can be devastating. We have seen this first hand on many occasions. Despite the obvious investment of time and money, some dog owners actually allow their dogs to climb into tree pits and decimate flowers and plantings.

A Much Needed Sign of the Times

In the pursuit of happy clients and protection of their investment we have implemented many solutions to raise awareness and to discourage dogs from actually entering the tree pits. We regretfully report, that even while working on job sites, we have seen owners allow their dogs to jump over rails and guards to land smack dab in the middle of beautiful flowers and urinate.

What Can Be Done?

Most pet owners are considerate and understanding of their surroundings, but a large part of this issue stems from the fact that they are unaware of the harm they bring to street trees and surrounding plantings when they allow their pets to use them as an outdoor litter box. Recalling the progress made in NYC regarding the poop scoop law,  we are convinced that proper education and public relations will solve this issue.  We would love to start a full-blown educational campaign to protect street plantings, but in the meantime we continue to remind residents of the importance of curbing canine friends.

Contributed by Alan Klein

Read Full Post »

Spending this week on rooftop gardens around Manhattan has been glorious. I am savoring every second of this blissful spring weather. All too soon it will be hot with 100% humidity and we will be longing for cooler weather. Enjoy this rooftop shot of new leaves on Cornus alba.

Read Full Post »

Anigozanthos AKA Kangaroo Paw Makes a Gorgeous Cut Flower

Spring is in full swing. After an inspirational retreat to Puerto Rico, we are back in action and ready to start a slew of spring projects. Watch for my articles on the tropical rainforest, local nurseries stocked with stunning bromeliads and the critique of the University of Puerto Rico Botanical Garden.

This week we will start gathering the best plants from our favorite nurseries in Long Island. These specimen plants will find new homes here on rooftops gardens and backyards around Manhattan. Until we update you on our current projects, enjoy this simple arrangement featuring the exotic Kangaroo Paw flower. I love architectural plants and flower structures with a strong form. The Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos) is found throughout Australia and can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 10-15 which includes southern California and the tip of Florida. Read more about the Anigozanthus genus here: http://www.anbg.gov.au/anigozanthos/index.html

Read Full Post »

Kim Lemon from WGAL News 8 in Lancaster PA put together a fantastic story ‘Penthouse Produce’ highlighting  fall decorations Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design did foron a rooftop garden in Chelsea, NYC. We select the best pumpkins and gourds every year from the Erb family farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to exhibit in city gardens.  Click on the link below to view the story:



Read Full Post »

Entrance to 333 East 68th Street

Nine times out of ten when I tell a non-New Yorker my occupation, their first response is “there are no green spaces in the city.” As we know this is simply not true.  I was walking down  East 68th Street the other day and came across building 333. I was surprised to see how much of it is covered in Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Boston Ivy), the health of the Ginko trees on the sidewalk and the thriving rooftop gardens perched high above the street. The overwhelming green feeling of the building paired with its classic brickwork and windowpanes have an incredibly charming effect. It is well worth a look if you are in the Upper East Side.

If you want to read a bit more about the building, check it out here: http://www.cityrealty.com/nyc/manhattan/333-east-68th-street/3435

333 East 68th Street Covered in Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Boston Ivy)


Read Full Post »

Since I moved back to New York City permanently, I have moved 4 times in the past 3 years for numerous reasons. In this fast paced city, it seems like nothing is constant.  Jobs, relationships, roommates, neighborhoods, friends, and finances continually pull us in different directions. Unfortunately this high speed lifestyle can make it hard to settle down in one place. This is why we rent. The thing about renting is that there are so many apartments out there with fantastic roof, terrace, and outdoor space which are underutilized. From my viewpoint, if you have time to hang up curtains or get a new rug for your interior, then you owe it to yourself to do something for your outdoor space too.

I had a client this spring with a fantastic 1,300 square foot terrace in midtown West that came along with their rental apartment. That is huge as far as outdoor New York Spaces. Since they are renting, we focused on budget friendly changes we could make to the space that made a lot of impact. Birch trees, planters in the correct scale, and a revised furniture layout really transformed the terrace. When I work on projects like this, I like to keep the plantings simple, and repeat the material throughout the space. Enjoy the images.


Read Full Post »

Coronilla varia L.

Crown Vetch starting to overtake a planter

 Somewhere along the way we have been led to believe it is possible to plant a garden that will take care of itself. With ploys of xeriscaping, automatic irrigation systems, and plants cultivated specifically to be slow growing, disease proof, and pest resistant, we have convinced ourselves that we can set it and forget it. As a horticulturist of over 12 years, I can tell you that such a garden simply does not exist. To put it in perspective, think about your family pet- perhaps it’s a Chihuahua that gets a bath 3 times a week, dresses up in leopard print with chiffon ruffles, and eats out of a glass goblet. Well, plants are living things too, and though they may not wag their tail and bark, they want just as much care and attention.

Even on rooftops in Manhattan maintenance is a critical component of the long term success of a garden. With container gardening, maintenance becomes even more important. Not only are the effects of the surrounding environment exaggerated to plants growing in planters, but containerized plants really stand out like art on a pedestal. In New York City, where space is nonexistent and weight limits are restricted, every plant we put in a garden must perform at its best. Regular pruning, fertilizing, soil replacement, and pest management are the fundamentals of rooftop garden maintenance. 

Weeding should not be forgotten either. I have come across more Coronilla varia L. (Crown Vetch) than I care to see in the past few weeks. I have never seen this weed on rooftops before this season, but it seems to be cropping up everywhere. If you see this in your garden get out the shovel and some gloves. You’ve got to pull out every last root of this invasive intruder to ensure the success of your other plants. The bottom line is if you don’t have a gardener, you should find one to consult with even if you don’t want to commit to a routine care program. Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design offers gardening consultations and flexible garden maintenance programs for rooftop and terrace gardens in Manhattan. http://www.jeffreyerb.com/services.html


Read Full Post »

Welcome to the blog for Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design. I own and operate a full service landscape design and installation company based in New York City that focuses on rooftop/terrace gardens, green roofs, and back yard landscapes. Urban gardening is a passion of mine, and I find great satisfaction in making the most out of small spaces. Transforming a blank space into a stunning garden is nothing short of exhilerating.

This blog is a place for me to express my viewpoint as a designer, and to review good and bad landscape designs throughout Manhattan. No doubt, I will be sharing tons of advice and tips to maximize outdoor spaces in the city (and beyond). I also invite questions, comments, and opinions from my readers. After all, this is a two way conversation. Join me as I post video shorts, articles, products, and images that will help you get to know who I am, and why I am inspired and energized by the work that I do. Here’s to brilliant seasonal plantings, unexpected garden designs, and to reducing the number of plastic lawn ornaments in the world!


Read Full Post »