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Entries in planting (8)

Friday
Apr172015

BEACH RESTORATION: Where did all of the sand go?

Here on Long Island, our precious coastline is a big part of our pride and recreation, weather it’s the scenic beauty of the North Shore bluffs or the pristine sand coast of the South Shore beaches and bays. We've got it all. However, our shores are constantly under attack with Nor’easters, hurricanes, tidal surges or even bad wind storms. During these storms, immense power rips away at the bluffs, sand dunes and beaches, compromising our land and homes.

Beach restoration has been a hot topic for many of our communities close to the water. I will address two properties, one on the North Fork and one on a South Shore Bay. Both had been battered with hurricane Sandy, with pre and post Nor’easters.

NORTH SHORE BLUFF:

This property sits high on a bluff which has previously suffered from numerous storms and erosion. Past attempts were made to stabilize the bluff without success. For this property the DEC approved a boulder embankment to stabilize the bottom of the bluff but the slope was still eroding from the top down. We were brought in to stabilize the slope with a network of jute netting and native vegetation, consisting of American Beach Grass, Rugosa Rose, Beach Plum and Bayberry to reflect the existing plants on the adjoining embankment. Within one year the roots took hold, the natural indigenous habitat was restored and the slope is on its way to a full recovery. This has held up well in the past two Nor’easters with no erosion or slippage of the slope.

North Shore Bluff before and after restoration.

 

 

SOUTH SHORE BAY:

On this property we have a different scenario with the lower elevation and less slope to the shoreline. This south shore property was hit hard with tidal surges from past storms. A previous homeowner had cleared and planted a lawn along the shoreline which did not hold up well in the aftermath of these storms. To restore this eroded area we added a sand and soil mix with jute matting and some boulders to strengthen the area. The DEC does not permit a retaining wall of any sort so we had to slope the area gently and re vegetate. We added American Beach Grass, Bayberry and White Potentilla which fare well with this deer inundated area. The existing vegetation on either side of the eroded area was kept in a natural vegetated state with native grasses and shrubs which absorbed the tidal surges from Hurricane Sandy. Very little erosion was present in the adjacent area that was left natural while the cleared area with lawn was carved away by the storms. This made for a good case study on the effects of removing native vegetation and over development of a shoreline. Two years later the shoreline is stable and the plantings have spread their root system throughout the sandy mix to strengthen the shoreline and blend seamlessly with the adjoining natural habitat.

South Bay Beach before and after restoration.

 

With a professional plan to restore Mother Nature we can revive and care for our waterfronts so we can retain the soil, sand, and vegetation. This protects our parks, beaches, property values and the overall beauty of this magnificent island we call home.

If you want advice or guidance on restoring your waterfront property please contact Goldberg and Rodler and we will connect you with one of our designers to schedule a consultation.

 

Written by Rick Schneider

 

Friday
Apr172015

Landscape Design Principles and Elements of Composition: Texture

Feathery plumes of Dwarf Fountain Grass alongside Bluestone Stepping Stones and crushed Long Island gravel.This is the second in a series of articles on Landscape Design Principles and Elements of Composition (click here for the first entry on Color). Today we want to talk about texture in the landscape. There are many ways to achieve different textures with plants, but utilizing natural materials in a garden such as bark and foliage can work well in combination with other elements like gravel, stone, and wood that contribute to a garden’s sensory experience.

Groundcovers, especially between stepping stones, can lend to a variety of ground plane textures. Imagine the feel of soft, cool grass or gatherings of moss under bare feet on a spring morning. Soft, fuzzy perennial Lamb’s Ear in the garden is wonderful to rub between your fingers, as are the leaves of a sage plant. Showy grasses like Hakonechloa or Dwarf Fountain Grass blades are anything but sharp. Get up close and touch the ethereally light, delicate plumes on an ornamental grass when it flowers in the late summer. A mass in the distance is a beautiful visual but there’s nothing like sitting amongst them. Enjoy the grasses from the weathered wood of a favorite garden bench, or planted with a piece of bleached driftwood as a sculptural element to contrast the wispy blades.

Textural contrast of ferns and a Weeping White Pine.We can’t talk about foliage textures without mentioning ferns. There are so many varieties hardy in our area, all of them a textural delight to use in the garden. The fronds of a fern are what we notice first, but get up close and see the curled up fiddleheads (before the frond opens). Even the underside of the fern has something to offer with the clusters of sporangia, usually a contrasting red or brown, especially showy on the evergreen Christmas Fern.

Spiky variegated Agave nestled softly among Scaevola, Lantana and Alyssum.On the opposite side of soft vegetation are the bristly, sharp plants like Agave and Prickly Pear Cactus. Agave is mainly used as an annual or indoor plant here but Yucca is another spiky plant that you can use in the garden and there are many varieties hardy to Long Island.  Prickly Pear Cactus is considered hardy but may take a hit in harsh winters. It is best to plant them in a protected, well-drained area if you want them outside. The needles of many conifers also fall into the sharp category such as Blue Spruce. Not only is the color striking but the coarse surface makes these evergreens stand out from softer White Pine and the many textures of arborvitae.

The coppery, exfoliating trunk of a Paperbark Maple at Planting Fields Arboretum.Exfoliating bark on a Crape Myrtle, Paperbark Maple or River Birch adds almost an architectural texture during all seasons. Though they may look very rough to some, they can all seem quite wispy at times. A Japanese Dogwood, Hinoki Cypress or Alaskan Cedar on the other hand, offers a very firm exfoliating bark - not ones you’d want to touch. They are definitely a stronger visual presence in the garden. Then you have the smooth gray bark of a stately Beech tree that resembles a column holding up a canopy.

A garden needs rough and rigid objects to balance the smooth and soft offerings. The obvious rigidity in a landscape is the paved surfaces, but we will go beyond that. Stone walls are classic in a garden as are brick and stone paving. These materials also last a long time in the garden, weathering over the years. Weathering can add to the character of the stone and brick and lend a softer feeling to the aged hardscape. Cast stone and terra cotta planters are another way to bring solid forms into the landscape. Whether a rounded shape or squared off trough, planters provide a solid visual anchor for specialty plantings like summer annuals or winter displays.

Visually and physically speaking, textures in the garden are one of the greatest ways we experience outdoor space. Another major influence is lighting and its counterpart shadows. 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. Stay tuned for our next piece on light and shadow in the garden!

 

Written by Ashley Palko Haugsjaa

Thursday
Mar122015

Getting the Most from a Small Scale Garden

Improving your outdoor living space doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. Goldberg and Rodler specializes in landscape projects of all sizes. Small scale projects can enhance an existing landscape aesthetic, create a comfortable atmosphere, and increase functionality of your garden. Site design can create private space in a large landscape, or maximize usability on smaller properties. Small scale projects are great opportunities to add seating or overhead elements to existing patios and decks as well as highlighting specimen plants. If you don’t want a total landscape makeover, we can work within your budget to meet your goals with a small space garden design.

A small garden and patio space for relaxing with friends and family.

The ideal outdoor space enhances the overall perception of your landscape. You can create specific moods using planting strategies and sensitivity to the creation of microclimates. Microclimates are isolated pockets of the environment that are different from the surrounding climates. They can be hotter or colder depending on the degree of screening provided by plant massing and sun/shade exposure. It doesn’t take much time for initial plantings to fill in and start creating the intimacy that define small space gardens. Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) is a great evergreen tree for screening larger spaces while Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata) can provide excellent screening in smaller spaces.  Skip Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus "Schipkaensis') is a relatively fast growing shrub you could use in smaller shady areas to screen neighbors or unsightly utilities.  Take advantage of the opportunity to highlight a specimen plant.  Small trees and large shrubs like Weeping Norway Spruce (Picea pendula) and Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) can act as the centerpiece of your intimate space.  This area can become a unique destination, not only for yourself but for family and friends as well.

A narrow backyard that seemed unusable, has been transformed into an intimate gathering space.

Overhead structures like pergolas or arbors can be a tasteful addition to your existing outdoor space. They are custom wood or PVC structures that can be a free standing entity or an extension of your house. They invite opportunities for seating and entertaining. Depending on the spacing of the rafters, you can control the amount of filtered light as well as shadow patterns. An organic addition attached to these pergolas and arbors can be trained vines that add seasonal color and filtered summer shade.

A pergola trained with wisteria will create a comfortable microclimate over time.Small scale site design in your landscape is an opportunity to introduce intimate landscape details and can offer you privacy and improved aesthetics at a price fit for your budget. These designs can provide your landscape with a suggested destination and focal point while utilizing perspective to frame and showcase views. These techniques are also perfect for making small spaces seem larger and opening up tight spaces that feel cramped and uncomfortable. Consult with the experienced staff at Goldberg and Rodler to bring your small scale site design to life. 

Written by Nick Onesto

Friday
Jan302015

Designing an Old Fashioned Garden

A week after Super Storm Sandy, my husband and I purchased a 120 year old Victorian house on a secluded ½ acre of property in Northport.  Restoring the house was my husband’s priority.  My focus was to create an old world setting that lent itself to the historical architecture of the late 19th century without the formality, elegance and maintenance associated with the ‘Victorian Garden’.

A view from the porch into an old-world garden, featuring a fragrant lilac.

Before getting into the process of designing the garden, we needed to consider the plants appropriate for an old fashioned garden.  We considered several ornamental trees including dogwoods, Japanese styrax, magnolia and cherries.  Lilac, hydrangea, boxwood, viburnum, holly and roses were on the short list of shrubs.  Old fashioned perennials would include bleeding hearts, phlox, peony, bearded iris, lady’s mantle, balloon flower, perennial geraniums, daylily, baptista and lily of the valley just to name a few.  When considering an annual list, you would have a hard time coming up with flowers that are not considered old fashioned.  It is safe to say most any annual would work so long as you plant in large masses of one color.  Take creative license when including newer varieties of old fashioned plants, especially shrubs like hydrangea and roses.  Newer varieties of hydrangea come in a multitude of colors and most rebloom throughout the summer and early fall, especially when deadheaded regularly.  Knock out roses and carpet roses come in incredible colors also re blooming from mid spring to late fall.  Personally I love the double flowering and the blush pink varieties of knock out roses and the coral and amber carpet roses.  There is a carpet rose called ‘Scarlet’, and if you’re a fan of red flowers, this one is a must have.  The combination is breathtaking when planted next to Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’. 

Border of purple hydrangea

The first stage of this project was to evaluate the existing plants and decide what to remove, transplant or leave alone.  We kept several old hydrangea along a fence that bloom the most incredible shade of deep purple.  They took my breath away!  An old lilac, a weeping cherry, Japanese maple and all the healthy mature trees also remained.  Other plants that did not fit into the ‘old fashioned’ theme like euonymus, pachysandra and Alberta spruce, were removed and donated to friends and neighbors.

The next stage involved redesigning the brick driveway. Then we added a serpentine irregular bluestone walk to open the view of the wraparound porch and an irregular bluestone terrace to give the appearance of agelessness.  Once the masonry was complete, the garden beds were defined, amended with compost and rototilled.  Now the fun began…planting!!!   

Screening an ugly stockade fence along one side of the property was the first priority.  A mixed border of Nellie Stevens Hollies, English laurels, Ilex crenata and varieties of Viburnum were chosen, all having an old fashioned aspect and lots of texture, with the bonus of berries for winter interest.  The foreground plantings included Hydrangea varieties ‘Endless Summer’, ‘Teller’s Blue’ and ‘Annabelle’,  a tree form Hydrangea ‘Pee Gee’, Abelia ‘Rose Creek’, Platycodon grandiflora, lots of Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and coral carpet roses with an old bird house as a focal point in the garden.

A planting composition of Pee Gee Hydrangea, Platycodon and coral carpet rose.

The foundation planting included Ilex ‘Dragon Lady’ and several varieties of boxwood as hedges, groupings and single specimens for evergreen structure.  For color, groupings of Hydrangea ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Endless Summer’ were planted with a mass of Hydrangea ‘Mini Penny’ surrounding an old dwarf lilac adding a wonderful fragrance along the porch for several weeks in the early spring! 

Spring in Northport is just weeks away and I can hardly wait!

Written by Maria Morrison-Ferrero

 

If you would like to get in touch with Maria please contact her via email: maria@goldbergandrodler.net

Friday
Jan232015

Project of the Month: Seaside Sustainability

LINLA Gold Award Winner 2014: Seaside Sustainability

 

We are proud to showcase our Gold Award winning project Seaside Sustainability, recognized by an esteemed panel of Long Island judges, for its unique environmentally sensitive solution in combination with a dynamic seaside aesthetic.
 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.  


Here is where you can watch the tides go by in a secluded seating area that is encapsulated by an aesthetically pleasing and functional design.

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.

The waterfront perspective has been completely re-imagined into a passive use garden. A Hollywood juniper survived the storm and stands strong in the background.

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.  

The backyard has now become a series of interconnected spaces with an emphasis on planting.A revitalized waterfront landscape with an organic vegetable garden and gravel walkways.

 

 

A revived natural landscape shines through with a lush plantscape and ornamental birdhouse.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 final overview of a resilient landscape design that combines both form and function to create a lush and entertaining waterfront lifestyle.

Written by Nick Onesto

Pictures by Susan Sotera