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Entries in landscape design (10)

Thursday
Jun202013

Introducing: Nick Onesto

Continuing our year of expansion at Goldberg & Rodler: Newest hire Nick Onesto interned for us in the summer of 2012 and recently graduated from SUNY ESF (State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry) with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. He spent his second to last semester in Santiago, Chile and expanded his professional interests in  ecology and sustainability and developing an urban design thesis analyzing existing public spaces in Santiago and making recommendations to serve as models of greenways, native plantings and green infrastructure for the city's future development. Nick is an amiable person and always ready to lend a hand, whether it's installing annuals on a hospital campus or archiving Goldberg & Rodler's 55 years of photographs piled high in the barn out back.

In his free time, Nick likes to hike and listen to and make music. He's currently studying to become a licensed landscape architect in New York State. If you'd like to contact him, email us here.

Thursday
Oct042012

Bulbs, Bulbs, Bulbs!

I got a great question today about bulbs: "What is a bulb's life span? How many years before I have to replant?"

Red Tulips & Mixed DaffodilsIt depends on the type of bulb. Daffodils should multiply and come back every year, tulips you might get a few years out of but they will never be as nice as the first year. Bulb growers cut the flowers off and ship the bulbs the next year with all that extra energy stored inside. Daffodils are the only critter resistant bulb, so if you have a ton of squirrels or deer, stick with them or plant your tulips under chicken wire so they can't dig them up.

I'm crazy about bulbs, they're one of my favorite plants because I like to make arrangements with them all over my house. I add something to my yard every year! There are so many different varieties out there. Make sure you plant them at the right depth and water thoroughly after. A nice deep fertilization after they're done blooming can help them store up energy for the next season.

Tulips, Pansies, DaffodilsAs far as designs go, I love to mix and match and plant big masses. Use light and dark combinations of tulips to play off each other, such as light and dark pink. Daffodils come in so many colors, sizes and bloom periods now you can have a garden of just daffodils for months! Fragrant daffodils make great cut flowers.

Snowdrops bloom quite possibly when snow is still on the ground. Crocus come up next and let us know spring is here. Hyacinths show up around Easter & Passover. After that comes the riot of color from daffodils and tulips, then alliums to usher in the summer. The giant globe shape of some of the alliums make a statement in a bed of liriope or other groundcover. They also make for great cut flowers and you can let them dry out and have an arrangement all year.

Hyacinth & Early, Mini Daffodils (Tete a Tete)

Bulbs don't need to be divided like perennials do for rejuvenation, but some bulbs will dig themselves deeper or into an awkward position which can inhibit growth and/or blooming. I turned over a bed of wood scilla (by happy accident when I was putting in new perennials and shrubs) that had been planted at least 15 years ago and it revived them and they're blooming great now.

The key to a show stopping bulb display is massing. If there weren't enough one year, add more for the next season. You can never have too many bulbs! They are probably the most cost efficient plant you can put in your garden, especially if you get a naturalizing variety which will multiply and bloom for many years.

Feel free to ask me any questions and get those bulbs in before the ground freezes! 


Wednesday
Oct032012

Zucker Hillside Hospital: Commercial Landscape Overhaul

Robert Rodler started working at Hillside Hospital before Goldberg & Rodler even existed with J. J. Levison. Levison handed it over to Goldberg & Rodler in the early sixties and we did a ton of work there. Then we did bits and pieces here and there, sprays, tree work, etc. until 2009. The new facilities manager wanted the campus renovated and he contacted us. Maintenance had been getting progressively worse, to the point where the campus was covered in poison ivy, the original design was almost impossible to discern. You can still see the cherry trees, dogwoods and sycamores on the campus that we planted back in the 60's but they were in desperate need of pruning. Limbs wider than a person's leg were dropping dangerously to the ground. The baseball field, apple orchard and formal rose garden had been razed for additional parking as the facility grew. Increased paving was causing massive drainage issues. People would park anywhere they could find a spot, including on the grass, off the road in the woods, there were no curbs or barriers to prevent it. 

BeforeAfterIt was unrecognizable and a perfect example of how maintenance issues can affect more than the landscape. Employees and family member's of patients were extremely unhappy. There was no place to eat or take a break, no place for people to sit, the gazebo was unsafely enclosed by overgrown plants, and one building was hidden behind overgrown yews. 

Gravel for DrainageSandbag DrainageOur first job was the poison ivy removal and pruning and removing hazards in the trees. People had been dumping garbage in the woods so our next task was to clean that up. We redesigned several areas, focusing on the core and most visible parts of the campus first.

 

Gazebo BeforeGazebo AfterWe fixed the drainage issues so they no longer had to pile sandbags in front of the doors (it isn't recommended by health professionals to block hospital doors, in case of emergencies) or deal with a mosquito farm in a swampy lawn area. Many overgrown plantings needed pruning for security reasons, who wants to eat lunch completely enclosed on all sides so you can't see who is approaching? We added curbs and boulders to the areas people were driving and parking in that were unpaved. We made elegant gravel shapes and used water tolerant plantings in areas where runoff collected. 

We sited a lot of trees as part of the Million Trees Project in NYC's boroughs. We redesigned outdoor recreation areas for the patients. We transplanted and relocated plants for the construction happening on the campus. We even installed fountains in the lobby with interior plants. Right now we're working on designs for patients' roof gardens and a parking lot to add more parking. It's in Queens, there's never any parking! 

Tuesday
Sep252012

Goldberg & Rodler Wins National Landscape Award!

Plan: Click to enlarge

Goldberg & Rodler has won another national award (from PLANET) for one of our projects.We're so pleased that the judges recognized our team's hard work on the design and the installation of this residence. Read on to discover exactly what we did and to see pictures, before and after, of the project.

When our clients bought this waterfront residence it was virtually un-maintained for several years and needed a complete overhaul. Their wish list included making the steep and narrow driveway easier to navigate, creating inviting entertaining spaces, a putting green, a BBQ, removals of invasive plants, renovating the leaking gunite pool, extensive outdoor lighting, better dock access and storage space for recreation items.

Overgrown, dead and invasive plantings were the first big challenge with the site. Removing hemlocks infested with wooly adelgid, controlling invasive English Ivy, removing Poison Ivy and essential pruning for the property's shade trees. Most existing retaining walls on site were failing and had to be replaced or repaired. The leaking gunite pool needed extensive renovation. Raccoons had made the dock their personal bathroom. The current drainage pattern was down the driveway (about 20 feet higher than the house at the street), straight to the house.

Before: Click to enlarge

After: Click to enlargeWe re-graded the driveway changing a 17% slope to a 15% slope and built boulder walls at the road and below for guest parking. A custom Belgian Block Cobble culvert, strip drain and surface drains catch runoff coming down the driveway and direct it into 3 new drywells. A shed off the parking stall holds family bikes and there's space for one-on-one basketball.

Green: Click to enlarge

Waterfall: Click to enlarge

A cozy putting green sits below the pool area. A large brick and bluestone patio surrounds the renovated gunite pool, complete with a new bluestone coping. We added a swim out to the deep end and converted the existing pond to a reservoir that spills into the pool, circulating the water. Random bricks break up the sheet of water into tranquil white noise.

Pool Area: Click to enlargeLighting: Click to enlargeA new composite deck with glass paneled railings keeps the view unobstructed. The steps lead to irregular bluestone with lawn joints out to open lawn. A custom railing and gate keeps raccoons from wreaking havoc on the dock. We designed an extensive lighting plan to highlight the landscape and make the property usable all day.

BBQ: Click to enlargeWater View: Click to enlargeAll of the bluff planting was retained to ensure slope stability and we selectively pruned along the bluff to maintain a dramatic view to the water. As part of our philosophy, we try to reuse as much of the existing vegetation and materials as possible. Existing daylilies were transplanted along the top of the slope to help prevent washout erosion and we rehabilitated and transplanted rhododendrons from the pool area to a woodland setting where they could thrive.

The property had many dilapidated boulder structures scattered about, built years ago by a monk, and had sentimental value to our clients. We salvaged and repurposed every boulder for new boulder and gabion walls and also for rip rap in various places to retain slopes.

Difficulties during construction included a massive rainstorm in the middle of the driveway construction. The basement flooded and we discovered the previous owners had concealed a major issue: they had built a false wall in the basement to hide the fact that there was no waterproofing on the foundation. We worked through the night with the family to empty the basement of water and came back the next day to waterproof the foundation. Also, gutters were pitched incorrectly and downspouts were broken or clogged. We replaced all leaders and gutters and calculated drainage capacity for the new drywells. Other discoveries included rotten wood and a leaking roof which were both replaced with high tech, low-maintenance materials (a slate substitute and Azek columns) to maintain the historic look of the house.

 

Photos by Susan Sotera

Tuesday
Apr011958

A Little History Lesson

Flyer: G&R GardenersSUNY FarmingdaleIn 1949 Leon Goldberg persuaded Robert Rodler to start a landscape maintenance business with him, "G&R Gardeners: Your landscape kept beautiful by competent gardeners." It was their senior year at Hempstead High School and they didn't know a thing about landscaping, but they quickly decided that this was the business for them. They were accepted to Farmingdale State University and Robert continued on to Cornell while Leon furthered his education at University of Connecticut.

Business Card 1958After college, Robert served in the Army and Leon served in the Navy. In 1956, Robert went to work for J.J. Levison, a prestigious landscape design-build firm in Sea Cliff, Long Island. J.J. Levison's pedigree included working on Long Island's greatest estates such as Oheka Castle's gardens with the Olmsted Brothers and Beatrix Farrand, Panfield, the Milbank estate in Lloyd Harbor, the Chrysler estate in King's Point  and the Marshall Field III estate in Lloyd Neck. Robert was fortunate to have worked on several of these projects during his tenure at J.J. Levison. Leon went to work for Donald Pollitt, a landscape architect involved in Old Westbury Gardens and the C.W. Post campus.

Ad: New OfficeOne of Many Awards Won Throughout the YearsIn 1958, Leon and Robert formed Goldberg & Rodler in Hempstead, NY. In 1962 they moved to our current location in Huntington. They handed the reins to their sons Neal Goldberg and Thomas and Steven Rodler when they retired. Many things have changed through the years but the core values of diligence, hard work and meticulous supervision remain.

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