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Tuesday
Aug192014

AUGUST'S PROJECT OF THE MONTH

Site conditions prior to construction at
Zucker Hillside Hospital Park

Our current project of the month is a work in progress at the North Shore Zucker Hillside Hospital Park project. As a work in progress, this open space was the original location for cottages used by staff and patient's of the hospital.  With the removal of the cottages in recent years because of safety issues, the area became a non functional space with no purpose until now. The buildings were removed and the area became an undefined space with people just wandering through haphazardly.


When we were asked by the hospital to look at the space, the options for its use started to evolve. We developed the idea of a plaza or hub to connect the activities that occur daily within each building due to the location of the area between several main buildings. 

Lighting and pedestrian elements come together to maximize the use of the space

The Goldberg and Rodler team designed a master plan for the space to include an outdoor dining area, a plaza including a sculpture, walking paths with lighting, sitting areas, refuse disposal, landscape planting and a great lawn which can also accommodate tents and large events.


In the first phase of the project, we installed concrete walking paths providing connections to the surrounding buildings and decorative lighting along these pathways. This gives a sense of security for those walking from building to building while working night hours.


In the upcoming weeks, we will add refuse collectors, benches, picnic tables and a new seeded lawn to finish phase one.


Look for more on this project in the upcoming year…

 

 

 

Written by Rich Lambert

 

Tuesday
Jul292014

How Long Does it Take to Put in a New Swimming Pool?

Are you thinking about a new pool? Now is the right time to start planning for next year's pool season. The number one question our clients ask when we talk about a new pool for their yard is, "How long does it take to put in a pool?" The other most common question is, "How much does it cost?" We'll get to that later. Actually constructing the pool is only one aspect of the overall process.

Plan for a new gunite pool with infinity edge.There are many considerations when contemplating a new pool. This is a permanent capital improvement to your property, so the location of the pool will affect how you use your yard for many years to come. Not only will this influence the activities in your backyard, it will also change the view from inside your house. Most importantly, your property value is at stake as well. A professionally designed and built backyard poolscape can add significant property value. You have to decide whether you want the pool to be part of your everyday view or if there is something else you want to focus on when you look out from your house. If you have children frequently using the yard, you might need to consider fencing options beyond what is required by the municipality you live in. There are town or village codes that will influence the design of the space as well. Some villages have strict fencing requirements or call for a certain size evergreen screen planting to be installed along the property lines. Setback requirements for the pool and pool equipment will have a significant impact on the overall landscape design and pool placement. It can be complicated to fit all of these requirements together and still have a beautiful yard.

That's where a professional landscape designer comes in. It is imperative to start with a complete landscape plan. Hiring an experienced landscape designer who can guide you through the process is a wise investment. After that, the design process can include:

                Developing preliminary design concepts

                Interviewing pool contractors

                Investigating the permit process in your municipality

                Finalizing the design

                Applying for building permits

                Hiring a landscape contractor and pool contractor

Existing leaking vinyl pool being removed during winter.After permits are approved (or variances secured) the site work and grading can begin. In some incorporated villages, tree surveys and topographic maps are required. These documents need to be recent, usually within the last year, and can add to the time required to apply for, submit and obtain permits. This leg of the process can take anywhere from a few weeks, or if a variance is required a few months to a year or more. The average time frame is a few months.

Construction of new gunite pool.Once the permits and contracts are in place for the project the work can begin. A vinyl pool will usually take 4 to 6 weeks or so and a gunite pool 2-3 months or more, depending on pool design and complexity, season of installation and the ability of the pool contractor. Quality contractors usually cost more because they take the time to do things properly. This is well worth the investment in the long run.

Next would be the drainage, grading, pool patio, deck, planting, irrigation, lighting, mulch, lawn work and more. This can take anywhere from 2 weeks to many months depending on the scope of the project. As you can see, the pool is only one step in a calculated sequence to bring your new yard to a wonderful completion.

Finished gunite pool and spa with slide.Overall, planning early can save you a lot of time and headaches. Always begin with the end in mind. If you want to swim in your new pool next June, start now. If the poolscape is a year or two away, start the planning process the summer before you want your backyard poolscape completed. This will give you the best opportunity  to get the project completed thoroughly, and comfortably, without trying to cram it into a tight time window in the spring.

So how long does it REALLY take to put in a pool? As you can see, there are too many variables to pinpoint an exact timeframe. Know when you want to swim and give yourself several months to have your dream backyard come to life. We can help you. Reach out to our design team to start your pool project today. 

Written by Sal Masullo

Wednesday
Jul232014

Bugs You WANT In Your Garden

A praying mantis chills out on an evergreen branch to wait for a meal. Picture by Nick OnestoI love bugs. Good bugs that is. Beneficial insects. Bugs that eat other bugs.

You may have heard of the potato famine back in the 1800's? You can thank the aphids for helping to spread that all over Ireland's potatoes. Ladybugs are an attractive and helpful addition to your garden because they help control aphid populations. A praying mantis will eat any bug it can catch. These insects are graceful looking and useful in the garden. Live ladybugs and praying mantis egg sacks are commonly sold in garden centers, online and through the internet. Ladybugs and Lady Beetles devour aphids. One ladybug can eat up to 5,000 aphids per year! Aphids are extremely detrimental to plant communities. They suck the sap out of plants, which contributes to decline in many ways and even death. They can also transmit diseases between plants.

A feast fit for a Lady Beetle. Picture by Nick OnestoSevere harm can be done before you even know what hit your plants. Pest larvae feed on a plant's roots beneath the soil surface. Beneficial nematodes work underground to eat soil pests like grubs (beetle larvae), flea larvae and maggots (fly larvae), but they don't eat pest nematodes. Grubs (larvae form of beetles) eat the roots of your lawn. When applying, mix the nematodes with water and apply either early in the morning or around dusk as they're sensitive to light. Make sure soil is moist before applying so they can move through the soil and water again after applying. It can take anywhere from 2-30 days to see results, so be patient. There are different types of nematodes that will attack different pests so make sure you choose the correct one for your pest problem.

Mosquitoes, well, I believe we are all familiar with these pesky insects. Itchy bites, West Nile, Malaria, the list goes on. I could write a whole entry on these annoying insects alone. If you're lucky enough to have some dragonflies hanging around, don't chase them away! Dragonflies like to linger close to water and they eat insects like gnats and mosquitoes.

Lightning bugs are a beetle I can get behind. Their larvae like to nosh on slugs and snails. If you've come upon hostas ravaged with holes through the leaves, the likely culprit is slugs. There are many kinds of slugs that will eat a variety of plants, vegetables, flowers, earthworms (which are a garden's friends), and more. They are truly one of the garden's most prolific pests. They can also carry parasites, so make sure you wash your garden edibles carefully before you eat them lest you accidentally ingest a slug.

Tree Care Long Island offers beneficial insect applications. Check with our Plant Healthcare expert, Gary Carbocci, to learn about our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) services to protect your landscape investment. Talk to one of our experienced designers if you need to replace or repair a portion of your landscape damaged by pests.

Thursday
Jul032014

Natural Privacy Screens

Green Giant Arborvitae with a mix of Annabelle Hydrangea and daylily in front.There is a certain serenity and security to enjoying your garden without the feeling that your being watched.  Privacy is very important to most of us and creating a beautiful natural privacy screen for your property and outdoor living room with plants is great way to introduce color, texture and fragrance into the landscape, and it can be a much more attractive solution than a fence.

Tall evergreen trees like Nellie Stevens Holly, Blue Spruce and Great Western Arborvitae are an effective way to give you privacy screening.  These provide dense evergreen foliage all year round and are low maintenance plants. Some evergreens can be sheared to form a dense privacy wall with the effective height being maintained taller than building codes allow for fencing.

A dense holly hedge in front of blue Spruce creates a double layer of privacy.In addition to trees many shrubs come in upright form.  Privet, Yew and Japanese Holly have dense branching patterns and they create a natural visual barrier. Shearing these regularly will lend a more formal look to your landscape.  These shrubs also provide an excellent background for flowering shrubs and perennials planted in front. This creates a multi-tiered privacy planting with 4 season interest.

To provide additional seasonal interest to any evergreen privacy planting, mix in a variety of flowering plants like fragrant Viburnum, Lilac and Butterfly Bush.  The next layer of interest comes from long blooming perennials like Nepeta, Rudbeckia and Echinacea. These plants will attract birds and butterflies and add colorful splashes providing spring, summer and fall interest to your yard.

If your yard requires plants that will tolerate more shade than sun and also provide the privacy you desire, plant varieties like Skip Laurel, American Holly and Rhododendron along the property line and supplement that planting with perennials like Hosta, Astilbe and Fern.

Another screening option is to use lattice panels with vines planted either in the ground or in decorative containers placed around the edges of your patio creating a private outdoor room. Vines such as Clematis, Wisteria, Trumpet Vine and climbing Hydrangea will give you a lush vertical carpet of foliage and flowers.

As you can see, there are many ways besides fencing that can screen out your neighbors and help create a quiet intimate space within your garden.  Do it the natural way by using plants! Let Goldberg and Rodler's team of professionals design and install a natural privacy screen to privatize your personal garden oasis.

Written by Rich Lambert

Monday
Jun232014

Container Gardens and Hanging Baskets

 

Decorative urns are perfect container gardens.

A large and grand garden is a desirable amenity for your home, but not everyone has the time or energy to care for a large garden.  That doesn’t mean your property can’t shine with color this season.  Flower pots and hanging baskets are a great way to add a splash of color and accent your existing landscape.  Container gardens and hanging baskets create a lush contrast at entrances, patios, decks and pools.  You can buy precast stone, concrete, iron, glazed ceramic or composite planters.  Another option is to get creative and repurpose old wheelbarrows, cauldrons, or whatever you envision to hold enough soil for your flowers. 

Once you have chosen containers and baskets suitable to your unique style, place them in areas where they will be focal points.  It is important to have them in place before filling them with potting soil and plants, otherwise they will become too heavy to move.  If your container is very large it is smart to cut down on the amount of potting soil you put in.  The most efficient way to cut down on wasted soil is to fill half the container with packing peanuts, mulch or bubble wrap underneath a layer of permeable landscape fabric to keep the soil medium separated.  This will also help with drainage.  If your container lacks holes in the bottom, it is a good idea to provide a generous amount of course material in the bottom to prevent root rot.

Now it is time to decide what plants to put in your container.  Your plant palette can range from tropical to woodland depending on the microclimate conditions of your property.  Avoid crowding your container with too many plants because they will grow throughout the season, and you will avoid too much plant competition and die off.  When it comes to design, choose plants that follow these guidelines and you will be left with a stunning display year round. 

  • Container with Canna lily, Croton, Angelonia, and Sweet Potato VineTHRILLER: Start with a tall specimen that will extend above the other plants.         24+ inches. (Purple Fountain Grass, Dracaena, Canna Lily, Banana, Hibiscus or other standards)
  • FILLER: Plants that will establish a full and lush appearance of color on the ground plane.  6-18 inches. (Lantana, New Guinea Impatiens, Begonias, Coleus, etc.)
  • SPILLER: Plants the will creep down the side of the pot and create a flow of texture. (Licorice Plant, Scaevola, Verbena, Sweet Potato Vine, Vinca)

As the growing season continues, keep an eye on your containers and make sure that they get ample water in full sun.  They should be watered everyday and sometimes twice a day during extreme heat in the summer. If your planter is in a shady spot, it may require less watering such as every 2 days.   Apply fertilizer throughout the summer to promote healthy blooms.  Container gardens are a great way to provide quick and easy seasonal color changes in your landscape.  They require less maintenance than a large garden, but keep in mind, leaves naturally yellow and die, so remove them to promote new healthy growth.  For example, pinch Coleus flowers to prevent the plant from stretching and will result in a fuller plant.  Express your unique self through container gardens and hanging baskets this summer.  Goldberg and Rodler has professional landscape designers that can help you find the perfect plants for your containers and are more than willing to offer our expertise this season.

Written by Nick Onesto