Posts Tagged ‘Terrace’

This setback terrace in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen was in need of a facelift. Previous owners left their mark leaving behind less than attractive piping that was once used for an overhead shade structure. Every surface, both vertical and horizontal, of this terrace was altered as part of this renovation. With the environment in mind, we selected recycled plastic deck tiles and furniture. The difference in the before and after pictures is striking. Because this terrace does not have access to water, the plant quantity and palette was restrained.

Before View of Terrace Showing Overhead Shade Structure

Before Shot of Existing Fencing and Decking

The terrace design focused on restraint and elegance. Before we started, there were too many architectural elements which distracted the eye and caused visual chaos. Our plans minimized those elements to allow the eye to focus on the amazing view of nearby Worldwide Plaza and the carefully selected furniture pieces from Loll. Now the best part of this apartment, the owner gets to enjoy the space night and day as mood lighting highlights this intimate and romantic terrace.

View to Terrace From Interior, Showing New Glass Door and Recessed Step Light

After Shot of Decking and Bluestone Entry Step

View to Wordlwide Plaza From Terrace

Cafe Tables Allow For Flexible Seating Arrangements

New Wall Fixtures and Low Voltage Lamps Set the Mood for Evening

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Smokebush Pushes New Bloom in August

It’s true. Plants growing on the tops of concrete covered rooftops in the sweltering heat island of Manhattan appreciate a little dihydrogen monoxide every now and again. One of my client’s in midtown west inherited a terrace full of a hodge podge of planters from the previous unit owner. Phase one of making the space his own was to make the existing plants happy. The addition of a fully automatic irrigation system turned his terrace into a brand new place.

Rooftop gardens need watered every day. They don’t take holidays off, and they certainly don’t rest on Sundays. If you don’t have an irrigation system, consider adding one as a smart investment. Multiply the number of years you intend to keep your roof garden by 250 (days of growing season) and then muliply that by the value of your own time. I think you’ll see that it makes sense to get it.

Just one month after installation, I already saw huge changes in the plants which were previously hand watered. Even this Cotinus pushed out a new bloom in August which normally would have emerged in June. I would say we are heading in the right direction.


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Seed Pod of Cytisus Scoparius

There is more to gardening than showy Geraniums and pink Petunias. Daylilies have their spotlight too, but someone needs to tell them to get off the stage. My favorite part of gardening is that you can eventually look past the showstopping floriferous spectacles and see the smaller details of plants that are often overlooked. Sometimes these details are the way the veins are colored in a leaf, or the presence of inconspicuous flower structures on evergreen shrubs. This seed pod appeared about 4 weeks ago on some Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) on a rooftop. It is a small fuzzy seed pod with a beautiful bluish tinge. When I saw it, I realized I have never noticed the pod on this plant before. I also saw these all over Fire Island last weekend.  The shape of it reveals it is in the Leguminosae family. That’s right, this plant is in them same nitrogen fixating family of plants along with peas and beans.  Tomorrow morning when you are sipping your coffee on the terrace, take an extra minute to find something new.


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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.


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