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Friday
Oct162015

Landscape Design Principles and Elements of Composition: 50 Shades of Landscape

This is the third in a series of articles on Landscape Design Principles and Elements of Composition (click here for the first entry on Color and here for the second entry on Texture). Today we want to talk about light and shadow in the landscape. Light and shadow could be simplified into sun and shade but light and shadow are about so much more than that. Light and shadow are about depth and dimension.

Dappled shade on Irregular Bluestone patio surrounded by a vibrant perennial border.There are different types of shade. When talking about plants in particular, there is light, partial, full and deep shade. There can be a total blocking of light, like from a solid roof or dense shade tree, or dappled or intermittent shade, like from a lace canopied shade tree or pergola. Shade is great for sitting and dining areas where you’d like prolonged shade and cooler temperatures. Mature shade trees are worth their weight in gold. Think twice when locating a new pool. You can easily cut down a tree, but it can take decades for a newly planted tree to offer enough shade for a large area.  Most people want their pool and pool patio to be in a sunny area. The sun offers natural warming of the water, but even with warm water, swimming in the shade can be chilly. A pool patio with some umbrellas for sun protection is perfect for keeping the area nice and warm while cooling off in the pool.

There are different types of plants for sun or shade and they run the gamut from full sun all day long to full shade and anywhere in between. Pay attention to flower colors for different lighting scenarios. In deep shade, white, apricot, pale yellow, pastels of pink and lavender, and other light colors really pop and brighten up a shadowy area. In bright sun, vibrant and saturated colors stand out more than their paler counterparts. Deep reds, corals, purples, yellows, oranges and blues stand up to the sun’s dramatic rays.

Pergola casting striped shade over a sophisticated seating area, emphasizing the architectural detail of the overhead structure.Outdoor lighting not only extends the use of a space from day to night, it can be used to highlight architectural features such as this Westchester granite fireplace.Just as shadows can be functional in the day, they are also useful at night. Use shadows for dramatic effect when it is dark out. Pergolas that cast filtered shade during the day can also act as a dramatic filter for light at night. Lighting angled up or down through a pergola sets the scene for an intimate gathering. Using lights in the garden can highlight more than the architectural elements like pergolas and stone walls. Utilize spotlights to display specimen trees. Moonlighting in a mature shade tree is more than functional; it creates a fun nighttime atmosphere. Moonlighting involves placing downward facing light fixtures 30 feet up inside of a tree’s canopy. With the right lighting scheme, not only can a property be used day or night, it can also enhance the beauty of both man and Mother Nature’s architecture.

Aesthetically, light and shadow play a huge part in the drama of our gardens. Functionally, you need a varying palette of height, spread and depth from your plantings to create a harmonized space. Hierarchy is king in our next piece on scale in the garden!

 

Written by Ashley Palko Haugsjaa

Wednesday
Sep232015

Farewell to Summer, Autumn is Here

Records indicate that this summer and, in fact, this year is looking to be the hottest on record.  This extreme heat coupled with very little rainfall has placed our trees, shrubs and lawns, under considerable stress. Irrigation systems, which we tend to over rely on, are not designed to replace Mother Nature, but to supplement her.  Have you ever noticed how much greener and lusher the garden appears after a rainfall?A lush expanse of lawn thrives after recent renovations and some TLC.

 To help counter this stressful condition and give our lawn and gardens a helping hand, Goldberg and Rodler has several ala carte services to offer you. These methods have been proven to be very effective in improving the health and beauty of your landscape. The cooler temperature of fall and our special services are a perfect combination.

 Right now your lawn will benefit from core aeration and over-seeding. Core aeration is the systematic removal of small plugs of lawn, including thatch and some soil, which are tossed out of the ground by a machine called a core aerator. The small plugs sit on the top of the lawn, distributing the soil and other elements to help promote the growth of the new seedlings which are then over seeded onto the lawn. The cores also bring valuable air circulation to the lawn’s root system.Core aeration follows behind fertilization to reinvigorate existing lawn

 You have now relieved the soil of harmful compaction and made an excellent medium for your new grass seeds. The grass seed will be evenly spread over the entire lawn area to make an even, new addition of young, healthy grass.  You have now helped the lawn become healthy, more resistant to drought and also better protected from insects, pests and diseases.

 Another option to strengthen your living landscape investment and irreplaceable specimen shade trees are precise soil injections of the proper nutrients delivered by deep root injection and soil drenching.

 Providing the proper nutrients into soil is our specialty. We do this when the weather is cooling down in the fall. These treatments will also provide the proper nutrients where they are needed most at the root system and reduce the stress that this past summer has caused.

 G&R certified professionals spray anti-desiccant to protect Hollies, Rhododendron and LaurelsLast of all, adding winter protection with an application of Vapor Guard, an anti-dessicant,  on your broadleaf evergreens will help protect your rhododendron, azalea, hollies and laurels by coating the leaves with a beneficial clear wax like substance. This slows down transpiration and therefore helps the plant retain moisture through the drying winds of the winter months.

 After a hot, dry season like this one, now is the time to protect, preserve and invest in the future health of your landscape. Call today to arrange a complimentary consultation and reserve a spot for these services in our upcoming calendar.

 

Written by Gary S. Carbocci

Thursday
Jul302015

Adapting the English Cottage Garden 

The English Cottage Garden has become one of the most beloved garden styles, provoking images and visualizations of the idyllic garden.  The mystique and romance of the English Cottage Garden captivates every gardener’s imagination.  Interestingly, the earliest history of cottage gardens teach us that they were for the most part, strictly utilitarian, planted mostly with fruit trees, vegetables and herbs with a pen for chickens.  It wasn’t until the 18th century, when beautiful cottages were built for the ‘well to do,’ that the small working gardens developed into the beautiful flower gardens we admire today. This well placed bird house adds charm to an otherwise simple flower border.

It is a quandary, how we can love and want our gardens to emulate the cottage garden, but we abhor the idea of informal, messy looking flower beds, the very essence of the cottage garden.  Having had the pleasure of visiting Sissinghurst Castle in England, one of the great examples of romantic gardens, and Monet’s garden in Giverny, France,  I remember thinking that I would be tarred and feathered by my clients had I designed these gardens.  However, the overall effect was complete and total awe.  They have a wonderful random and haphazard quality about them that appeals to today’s most avid gardener. 

So how do we meld the nostalgia of the English garden with our busy lifestyles and need for minimal maintenance?   Let us begin with garden accessories. Maybe we can add a comfortable, well-placed bench where one can relax and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the garden, or an arbor covered with roses or clematis inviting one to enter.  A picket or antique wrought iron gate at the end of the front walk, or groupings of terra cotta pots filled with a riot of colorful annuals and situated in sunny spaces around the yard can mirror the charm of the English Cottage Garden. Jasmine, gardenias, rosemary, and other fragrant annuals or culinary herbs assimilated into the pots offer the visitor the lingering fragrance so important if one wants to achieve the true essence of the cottage garden. 

Meandering moss, stepping stone or gravel paths, cottage style bird accessories such as feeders, baths and houses are details that can also add charm to the cottage garden.   Raised beds planted with vegetables and herbs, a berry patch, dwarf fruit trees or a few pots of tomatoes are details so characteristic of these garden spaces that at least one should be included. A perennial border at Sissinghurst Castle in England.

To emulate the flower gardens of England, consider inter-planting your existing perennial gardens or annual borders with taller perennials and annuals.   Cleome, although it can’t possibly replace the allure of hollyhocks, is a great old fashioned annual that can represent the charm and informality of the cottage garden.  Other favorites include Salvia ‘Black and Blue,’ Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ and Nicotiana.  Although perennials such as Filipendula ‘Venusta’ and Campanula persicifolia would certainly be more appropriate to the character of the garden, they cannot compete with the long blooming season annuals offer. Although located in Giverny, for me this bench in Monet's garden is a classic representation of English Cottage charm.

Whether you add a bench or plant the terra cotta pots you have hidden in the garage with a potpourri of color, or you add all of the above, you will be lured into the charm and nostalgia of yesteryear and simpler times.

If you would like advice or guidance creating your cottage garden, please call or e mail me to schedule a consultation.

Written by Maria Morrison – Ferrero

Photos by Maria Morrison – Ferrero

Tuesday
May052015

The Truth about Ecological Restoration

Currently, climate change and its validity is a hot debate in this country, but many people are seeing the effects first hand and have no doubt.  The world’s top scientists agree that tides are rising, land is eroding faster, rivers run with heavy metals, and oceans have become our wastebasket.  Climate change is an unstoppable natural process, but we can create a more resilient nation through the Restoration, Reclamation, and Rehabilitation of the landscape. 

This seaside property was restored to withstand the ever changing climate.When you read our blogs here on Outdoor Spaces, we talk about anything and everything landscape.  You might be thinking about all your trees, shrubs and flowers on your property, but the truth is that the term landscape holds a deeper meaning.  Landscapes are far more than the scenery in your backyard, or your neighbor’s gorgeous Crape Myrtle, because landscapes are 3 dimensional compositions of earth, water and atmosphere.  The landscape is our home to share with nature and it is our duty to ensure its healthy longevity.

Globalization in the past decade has been a bitter sweet part of our lives.  We live in a post-industrial society and in the midst of a technological revolution.  Communications are being optimized and almost everyone is carrying a small computer in their front pocket.  Now, more than ever, we can see the evolution of technology manifest within our lifetime.   As a result of this globalization and urbanization, mankind has put an unprecedented amount of stress on the environment.  For example, many rivers have become engineered channels of concrete, and sometimes piped underground, which has reduced their ability to provide ecosystem services.  Ecosystem services are the environmental benefits associated with a functional ecosystem.  This channelization of rivers has increased the number of people living in flood zones.  When a storm surge happens, the capacity of the engineered concrete channel is exceeded, resulting in destruction of the local community.  A solution is to restore the stream to a more naturalistic meandering form, with tidal buffers and constructed wetlands.  This doesn’t mean we abandon engineering.  In fact, environmental engineers can calculate what it takes to build a restored river ecosystem just like an engineered concrete channel.

This residential woodland path creates a space for humans and wildlife to thrive and live in harmony.After Hurricane Sandy, Long Islanders were faced with restoration projects both large and small.  Houses, beaches, canals, streams and properties needed to be repaired and updated to withstand a greater force of nature.  Ecological restoration provides added benefits in addition to an improved aesthetic.  Projects of any scale can restore habitat for flora/fauna, and this directly influences your life.  Some people may think they are isolated from nature in their urban and suburban world, but the truth is quite the opposite.  Humans are just as important for a functional ecological web of life as plants and animals.  When we truly become stewards of the land, we can create a healthy and thriving landscape for all.  Goldberg and Rodler has design experts who are passionate and dedicated to the sustainable environment.  Give us a call if you would like to create a sustainable landscape, and a Goldberg and Rodler designer can help bring your vision into reality. 

Written by, Nick Onesto 

Thursday
Apr232015

Choosing Annual Flower Colors

A riot of color lasting all summer long in these planters.FINALLY, spring is here and so begins the annual pursuit to embellish our gardens with color… lots and lots of color!  Before your first trip to the nursery this year, as there will surely be many, consider choosing a color scheme. It may be your favorite 2 colors or 5 or 6, but let’s first consider how the colors play off of each other and try to avoid those harsh color combinations we’ve all experienced in the past.  It can also be fun to choose just one color.  White gardens are lovely and if you spend a lot of time outdoors in the evening, the effect is breathtaking! Be aware, however, working with any one color is an exercise in restraint, a word rarely found in a gardener’s vocabulary, but the effect is dramatic if you have the courage to try it. 

The first colors you may want to consider are blues and purples. They are great unifiers and intermingle well with just about any other colors you choose.  When left on their own they tend to disappear into the landscape, but add a white flower and you’ve got a winning combination!!  Sun loving blue, purple or white annuals for beds can include varieties of Petunias, Angelonia, Salvia, Heliotrope and Scaevola, just to name a few. For shade, you may want to consider Torenia, Ageratum or New Guinea Impatiens. 

Purple, yellow and pink compliment each other beautifully in this summer planter.Now it’s time to add other colors to your palette. Complementary colors, such as purple and orange make up one of the best combinations.  They work well in the foreground of an evergreen border or where a lot of blue and white hydrangeas reside, but if you have pink or red roses blooming nearby, you may want to avoid orange and consider adding shades of pink or red instead.  Orange along with its many shades of peach, apricot and coral, can include varieties of lantana, creeping and upright zinnias, marigolds and salmon geraniums for the sun.  For the shade, consider upright fuchsia varieties, New Guinea impatiens or Nonstop begonias. There are countless choices for red and pink. My favorites would include the pink variety of Angelonia, Petunias, Salvia ‘Lady in Red’ and Madagascar Vinca for the sun.  Dragon wing Begonias, Nonstop Begonia, New Guinea impatiens and Fuchsia would all do well in the shade.  Yellow and purple are another terrific complementary color combination.  Yellow annuals can include marigolds, mimulus, lantana and melampodium.  For shade try Nonstop begonias and yellow shades of coleus.   Adding a splash of taller annuals in garden beds around low shrubs or short blooming perennials, adds another texture and continuous color to the space.  Pink, purple or white shades of Cleome or Salvia varieties such as ‘Indigo Spires’ or ‘Black and Blue’ are great choices, as are Nicotiana, tall Zinnias such as ‘State Fair’ and Cosmos as tall flowering annuals in a sunny bed.  Working with shades of one color is another winning combination.

There are infinite choices of flower combinations.   A few possible suggestions for sunny borders include:

  •        Purple ANGELONIA and yellow, orange or multi colored LANTANA
  •        Tall yellow MARIGOLDS and blue SCAEVOLA
  •        SALVIA ‘BLUE VICTORIA’ and NEW GUINEA IMPATIENS or MADAGASCAR VINCA
  •        Purple PETUNIA and SALVIA ‘LADY IN RED’
  •        MELAMPODIUM and purple HELIOTROPE
  •        White ANGELONIA or SALVIA ‘WHITE VICTORIA’ and Purple PETUNIA or SCAEVOLA

For shade borders:

  •        Tall AGERATUM and NONSTOP BEGONIA  
  •        Blue TORENIA and COLEUS
  •        Pink or Red DRAGON WING BEGONIA and White NONSTOP BEGONIA
  •        Lavender NEW GUINEA IMPATIENS and Upright FUCHSIA
  •        White NEW GUINEA IMPATIENS and Blue TORENIA or Blue AGERATUM

Enhance a functional area with color to make those daily trips to the mailbox a delight.Choosing annuals for pots can also be a lot of fun.  Whether you’re looking for a dramatic statement at the front door, or on a pool terrace, or you want to create the appearance of a small garden by grouping pots together, there are a few things you may want to consider. When planting a grouping, feel free to set odd or even groups of pots together. They don’t have to match or be the same size, in fact, it is usually more effective when they are different sizes.  The universal design mantra is to plant a thriller, fillers and spillers.   If working with groupings, thrillers would be planted in the larger pot.  Although the choices are many, hibiscus, mandevilla, jasmine, solanum or any other topiary annuals, grasses, dracaena or elephant ears would all be effective.  Fuchsia topiaries or tall ferns, such as Australian tree fern or Kimberly Queen fern are thriller options for the shady container.  Fillers, with limitless varieties to choose from, include most of the previously mentioned annuals as well as the many varieties of million bells and lantana, bacopa and verbena. Spillers can include creeping zinnias, chartreuse and purple potato vines and English ivy. 

Enjoy mixing and matching these or any other plant combinations until you find one that talks to you.  Remember one thing, no matter what color or colors you choose the experience should be fun, for that is what gardening is all about!  

If you would like advice or guidance designing and planting your annual garden, please call (631) 271-6460 x28 or email me to schedule a consultation.

 

Written by Maria Morrison-Ferrero