Award Winning History - Seaside Sustainability

We are proud to showcase our award winning project Seaside Sustainability. This project has been recognized for excellence in landscape design and construction by three separate panels of judges. The Long Island Nursery and Landscape Assoc. presented Goldberg and Rodler with a Gold Award in the Passive Use category (and the highest score in the program). The New York State Nursery and Landscape Association recognized this project as the Most Unique Landscape in New York State and the National Association of Landscape Professionals recognized this property for a Grand Award, one of only 30 awarded across the country. Not often is any landscape project recognized so highly by 3 separate professional organizations, so this is a proud moment in time for our team here at Goldberg and Rodler. Following is a brief description of the project, complete with challenges encountered and the solutions imagined to create this wonderful landscape.
A waterfront property can be captivating, entertaining, and breathtaking while showcasing the wonders of nature and her natural amenities. However, there are risks associated with living on the water’s edge. As many people know, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy brought with it a wave of destruction and chaos. Tidal surges and winds were the major environmental forces that have now reshaped the landscape of this Hewlett Harbor property and many communities throughout the south shore of Long Island.
A landscape we designed many years ago was one of the many in Sandy’s devastating path. Tidal surge and prolonged salt water inundation during the storm compromised much of the plantings and all of the lawn. Large trees were uprooted by strong winds and flooding was a major issue on this site. A once pristine waterfront retreat had become a horticultural nightmare and remained susceptible to future damage. Disheartened by the damage to their property, the homeowners were contemplating selling their home to cut their losses. Our professional design team worked with the homeowner to provide a sustainable solution by creating a more resilient landscape which they were going to use as a selling point when the house eventually went on the market. The homeowner’s main concern was flooding in the lower level of their home and keeping the property lawn-free. Our design initiative was to create a more sustainable landscape by implementing natural stormwater management practices, while being sensitive to the homeowner’s naturalistic and organic needs.Site Plan (Click to make larger)
Our first priority was to water the property heavily to begin leaching the salt from the existing soil, then re-grading the site to prevent flooding while maintaining easy transitions through the property. We created a berm and finessed the shape to be a smooth transition with the surrounding areas yet high enough to prevent water from reaching the lower level of the house. During Superstorm Sandy the tidal surge was 5’ over the existing bulkhead and smashed all of the windows on the lower level of the house filling those rooms and exiting through the garage in the front of the house. The water line left by Sandy both inside on the walls and on the façade determined the height of the new protective berm. The new topography was designed to redirect stormwater and tidal surge away from the foundation, while creating new form and space in the landscape. A swale was integrated into the design on both sides of the property to carry water away from the house.
During the storm our client’s generator and cooling systems were flooded because they were placed at grade outside the home.The flooding that occurred during the storm was not a consideration when these utilities were installed. As a result, the generator was compromised by the inundation of the tidal surge causing a loss of power. We upgraded the systems and constructed concrete piers for them to sit above the high-water mark from Sandy.

After addressing tidal surge and stormwater, our next priority was sustainability. All of the lawn from the previous design was removed because it was high maintenance and suffered severe damage from saltwater flooding. The new design replaced the lawn with a combination of Blue Star Creeper and permeable bluestone gravel walkways and sitting areas.
The evolution of the planting design on the property was a result of input from our client and consideration of the coastal environment. We planted trees, shrubs and perennials that are salt and wind tolerant that will endure many of nature’s challenges while offering a variety of colors and textures throughout the year. Salt tolerant evergreens such as Eastern Red Cedar and Hollywood Juniper were planted for privacy screening on both sides of the property without compromising the spectacular water views. Shrubs such as Shore Juniper and Winterberry were planted along with Dwarf Fountain Grass and Little Bluestem along the water’s edge to frame and enhance the water views from the house, patios, and bulkhead sitting areas. We repurposed an existing formal rose garden that was trashed by the storm into a bountiful organic vegetable garden within a circular paver design to retain interest during all seasons.
These landscape renovations were recently put to the ultimate test during a record rainfall when the high tide breached the bulkhead and started flooding our client’s landscape. As the hours moved on and the tide moved in, all floodwater that moved into the site was diverted away from the house and infiltrated the ground as planned. The success of a sustainable landscape can only be measured during extreme weather conditions, and this design proved its effectiveness and resiliency.
The homeowner has decided to stay now that the home and property are completely renovated. Confidence is high that the property is protected from the potential wrath of Mother Nature while evolving into a sustainable garden that meets the client’s functional and aesthetic needs while showcasing the breathtaking water views.

 

 

Contact us to see how our creative design ideas and proven installation techniques will provide you
with many years of joy and satisfaction in your new garden.