This 800 sf Brooklyn townhouse garden is framed by the large picture windows in the clients’ living room. The curvature of the shapes in the garden draw one’s eye into and through the space. A large paved area of exterior concrete terrazzo with hand ground aggregate forms a central gathering space. Beyond this, an evergreen play space made of synthetic lawn is both low maintenance and permeable. An ipe fence with horizontal members of variable spacing allows for both privacy and for air and light to move between neighboring gardens. The fence was detailed with steel bars to match the terrace railing. To match the fence, an in-ground sandbox with ipe cover was created for the couple’s young children, with the idea of a future conversion into a coy pond when children are grown. For summer amusement, JPLA designed a water feature in the lawn that shoots water 10 feet high into the air. Water also has its place beneath the garden, where two cisterns collect rainwater from the roof and paved surfaces to reuse as irrigation for the plants.
COLLABORATORS: Red Top Architects
Winner of the ASLA New York Chapter Merit Award, 2019
COLLABORATORS: CWB Architects
Brooklyn, New York
The design parti for this garden was a pair of nested forms. Directly adjacent to the house, a central paved area made of hand-ground exterior terrazzo is used as a flexible space for dining and playing. Framing this space is a large, grassy mound. The mound is planted with soft, undulating evergreen shrubs that form paths for exploration. Locally sourced glacial boulders were placed as sculptural elements that children can climb and sit upon. The garden is surrounded by a stained cedar fence, designed to blend with the material palette of the building’s rear facade. Against the dark backdrop of the fence, flowering shrubs, perennials and seasonal bulbs create for a flurry of colors and textures throughout the year.
CLIENT: The Smith Family
New York, NY
The design of this 1,200 sf private garden near Gramercy Park is structured around a curved pre-cast concrete retaining wall. The wall serves regulatory, aesthetic and structural purposes. It was placed to satisfy the required level-yard setback from the ground floor living space. It creates a beautiful enclosure to the space and its form is echoed in stainless steel rings set into the paving. The arc wall supports the upper level of the garden and in doing so, protects two 100-year old sycamores trees that pre-exist the garden.
A stone and steel bridge connects the second floor of the house with the upper level garden and fountain sitting area. The two garden levels are connected by seven monolithic bluestone slab steps. The lower level is paved with hand-ground exterior terrazzo, and features a concrete storage bunker constructed as buttress for the retaining wall, a built-in curved bench, and hanging globe lights. Woodland plantings are layered with a variety of hues and textures that change expression with the seasons.
Client: Kaufman + Truscott
This 625 sf rear garden in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn is designed as a series of outside rooms furnished in exquisite natural materials. At the parlor level, an ipe wood deck creates a fluid entertainment space next to the house. Broad steps leading down from the deck allow comfortable access to a deck on the garden level, which then steps down to a bluestone terrace. Set into the deck is a steel pergola supported by 9-inch square reclaimed wood posts. Larger truncated posts are built into the deck as seats or planter pedestals. At the back of the garden, a retaining wall made of reused stair treads in iron streaked solid bluestone is planted with a thicket of wild grasses and flowers. A red berried hawthorn tree is also planted next to the large windows at the back of the house both to create display and to give privacy to the residence.
CLIENT: Damon Family
Winner of the 2011 ASLA New York Chapter Merit Award 2011
This 1,200 sf garden in Brooklyn was created as a place to play. The family has three small children and the garden is a place where the ground feels organic and fluid, as it rolls and pitches around one-ton boulders into a central swale. A water source near the back of the garden provides a water display and when the swale is blocked, will create a shallow pool for summer fun. A custom hanging bench provides a place to sit and to swing. The garden’s mosaic paving of cut-stone marble is good for wheels, easy to maintain, and wonderful to be viewed from the four levels of the house.
This rear townhouse garden was designed for a textile artist using a soothing palette of soft grey tones. A concrete deck off the parlor level leads down to the garden with wide, shallow steel steps that allow for a journey into this long, narrow space. A two-foot tall clover mound rises to meet the deck steps, reducing the grade change from the deck above and adding topography and curvature to the garden. The mound is intersected on one side by raised raw-steel planters for vegetable gardening. Another side of the mound is terraced with raw steel walls that retain a flat space paved with stone dust. Under the deck, a concrete dining terrace is set apart for tenants of the garden level as an island surround by a moat of river rocks. The entire garden is wrapped by a grey stained cedar fence with horizontal members of varying widths and spacing that allow for the passage of light, air, and plants. Matching the grey fence, a custom sandbox for the children was created using over-sized timbers. Plantings with silver, pale blues and soft green colored foliage play into this muted material palette. Cast-in place concrete pedestals are set amidst the plantings as the bases for found objects or as sculptural objects themselves.