After Hurricane Sandy

This was my first really bad hurricane. We’re still without power, both at my home and the office. We have generators running at the office in Huntington to power our phones and computers so we can serve our customers. We’re mobile throughout Long Island working on tree estimates. The damage I’ve seen is extensive. There are trees on houses, on cars, and in pools. Unsecured outdoor furniture was thrown through windows. The fires that raged through Breezy Point made it look like a war zone. Though most of us are still without power and a few of us have downed trees, everyone at Goldberg & Rodler, Inc. is safe and our homes are mostly intact. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Now the cleanup begins. New Yorkers are a resilient bunch of people. We’ve been through the ringer more times than I can count. We always rally and come back stronger than ever. What makes us great is our ability to survive and thrive when life takes an unexpected detour into chaos. People with power are sharing their hot water and electric. They are car pooling with strangers into Manhattan because of the destruction to our transportation infrastructure. This is what I love about my fellow New Yorkers.

If you have downed trees, call us at (631) 271-6460 or (516) 692-8549. You can also email us at customerrelations@goldbergandrodler.net. We will come out as soon as possible to assess the damage. We have the certified arborists, equipment and skills to perform the most delicate removals. A tree on your neighbor’s house? A tree leaning on another tree? If the tree and/or debris is on or next to power lines, you MUST call LIPA first at 800-490-0075. DO NOT try to move any wires or cables. Please assume all wires are live. Your safety is paramount to us. LIPA must remove the debris before we or any other tree company can work in that area.

Be safe, be smart, stay warm. We’ll get through this.

MADD Garden of Hope: Two Year Anniversary

On October 16th, 2010 the MADD Garden of Hope was dedicated at Eisenhower Park. The object of the design is to expose to people the horrors of driving under the influence and to provide hope.
When MADD Long Island asked Goldberg and Rodler to design another garden for them, we jumped at the chance (the MADD Garden of Awareness at SUNY Farmingdale was completed a few years ago and was designed and installed by Goldberg & Rodler).
The Kiwanis Club of East Meadow installed our planting and lighting design as a part of their “President’s Project.” Nassau County Legislator Norma Gonsalves was instrumental in getting the project funded and accomplished in a timely manner and the Nassau County Parks Department’s masons did a wonderful job on our paving design.
Sculptor Michael Alfano finally has a permanent home for his piece, “Stand Up, Speak Out,” which expresses the emotions he felt after losing a loved one to a drunk driver 20 years ago. If one person walks away vowing never to drive under the influence again, we have made a difference.

Goldberg & Rodler Wins National Maintenance Award!

Goldberg & Rodler has won a national PLANET award for maintenance. Goldberg & Rodler has recently expanded our services in the past few years (the original G&R Gardeners would be proud) and now offers a multitude of property maintenance services. Read on to find out more!

Our client loves living in the woods but she wants a woodland feel without a woodland mess. She is the CEO of a large corporation and has a demanding workload. When she comes home to her 2-acre estate, she wants to spend time with her family and enjoy her property. She prefers a natural look and feel, (everything is hand-pruned) and she wants ease of access to her entire property keeping it a safe environment for her children and grandchildren to explore.

On a weekly basis we mow the lawn, pick up the pet-waste, weed the beds and play area, police the property for deer and mole problems, and check on the drains, gutters, downspouts and drainage paths.  The plants are inspected for damage from disease, insects or water issues. Our crew maintains a service access path on the side of the property to get to the rear yard. This prevents us from damaging the lawn, plants, and patios with repetitive traffic. We make sure the 2-story tall evergreen screening is maintained, pruning throughout the seasons after plants flower. We avoid a massive seasonal pruning job by pruning a little each visit, keeping the maintenance costs down for our client and adding to the natural look of the property.

Bed edging is kept to a minimum to balance neatness with the woodland aesthetic throughout the property.

Every spring we power wash all paving, the roof and walls of the house, and the furniture and pots that we wrapped and stored for the winter. We plant the evergreen shrubs from the pots in the landscape. We start up the irrigation system and inspect pool equipment. We install annuals and tropical plants for the summer months, concentrating a huge display of color in the pool area.  Our client looks forward to seeing something different and unique each year. She has no window treatments in the residence to maintain open views of her property.

We install fall annuals such as kale and mums around entryways. Our crews divide and transplant perennials and make sure all the light fixtures are clear and working during a nighttime test. Before winter starts we apply organic compost around the major trees and shrubs to prevent soil heaving and apply an anti-transpirant to the broadleaf evergreens to guard against moisture loss and desiccation of the foliage. We pre-treat the pavements before snowstorms and plow and shovel during and after the snow falls. Our client has knee problems so we take extra care to ensure those surfaces are as clean and dry as possible. After a heavy storm two years ago we even went up on the roof and removed the snow deposits to make certain that ice dams would not form and cause leaks.

We maintain a gravel strip along the road with a short decorative iron fence to delineate the property in a neighborhood without curbs.  This also prevents the neighborhood dogs from using it as a bathroom. In the back of the property, a section of woods remains untouched. If a tree fails in the wooded area we take it down and leave it to decompose naturally and provide wildlife habitats away from the main living areas.

After redoing the pool a few years ago, we rototilled the lawn area and added compost and topsoil. However, after failing to get a thriving lawn even with the amendments, during a maintenance visit we took a shovel and dug a test pit. We discovered that the pool company had backfilled with very poor soil and a 3-foot layer of clay was preventing the water from draining. Using a backhoe, we broke through the compacted clay layer and got the drainage flowing properly. Thanks to our weekly visits we were able to nip the issue in the bud and avoid replacing the lawn every year.

The homeowner likes to entertain at her residence and we organize the events for her from planning and setup to post-party cleanup. She likes having a garden theme and we create seasonal cut flower arrangements. We add tropical foliage plants and after the party take them to her corporate office to decorate the lobby. We also do the maintenance at her office building as it is very important to her that her employees enjoy their work atmosphere. The office building and grounds has a more manicured look to offer a pleasant but corporate feel to the property.

Photos by Susan Sotera

Goldberg & Rodler Wins National Landscape Award!

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.

We 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.

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.

A 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.

All 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

Green Roof = Sustainable Design

A green roof is just one of many steps toward more sustainable and environmentally friendly landscapes. We installed a green roof in Eaton’s Neck using the LiveRoof System. The residence is designed specifically for several green roofs; not just for aesthetic value but environmental as well.
Advantages:
– Soil and plant matter provides insulation for temperature & sound
– Reduces stormwater runoff by absorbing water
– Reduces air pollution & lowers the heat island effect with sedums that evapotranspirate at night
Pre-grown modular system:
– Minimal irrigation needs, especially once it is established
– Uses fire resistant succulent planting; plants retain moisture and are fit for arid conditions
– 25-50% energy savings
– Lightweight modules decrease load on roof
– Repair requires minimal disruption of system; trays can removed and replaced individually
– Plant choices offer visual interest all year round

A Little History Lesson

In 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.

After 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.

One 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.