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Landscape Design

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Environmental Tuesday: Native Plants at NYU

Becky

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As I perused The Green Issue of Preservation Magazine the other night, one of my favorite features was about George Reis, the supervisor of sustainable landscaping at NYU. He created a garden on campus that features only species indigenous to New York City. You’d be hard-pressed to find a lot of these native plants in the city today, and Mr. Reis is using them as part of his grander plan to maximize the use of the small green spaces at NYU. To learn more, check out this video on YouTube:

Risking sounding like a broken record, I’ll remind you all that Preservation is a great magazine. When you join The National Trust for Historic Preservation, your $20 fee to join includes a subscription. To join or to make a donation, click here. They will put your donation to good use!

Also, if you want to benefit from all of Mr. Reis’s plant research, there is a list of the plants used and where to buy them here.

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Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Retro Playgrounds

Becky

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Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard today when I saw this post over on the fabulous Modern Kiddo. I don’t even have kids but I read that blog because Alex and Dottie are so clever and hilarious – it always gives me a dash of happy. Those darn safety standards and insurance companies have made so many modern playgrounds SO BORING. For any of you old enough to remember the days when there was no such thing as a bike/ski/skateboarding helmet, reading their post will bring back fond (?) memories of burning your bum on a sun-drenched metal slide.

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Monday, June 7th, 2010

Inspiration Monday: The High Line

Becky

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Ah, The High Line. After years of following this project, from the fight to save it to the competition to the completion of part one, I FINALLY got to set foot on it! I’m so happy. This design is so genius, it might just be my favorite landscape architecture project of all time. In fact, at the moment, I can’t even remember what my old favorite was, isn’t that terrible?
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What’s so great about The High Line? Where to begin? I loved looking down on it from the 16th floor of The Standard. I loved seeing it from the street and thinking “I have GOT to get up there pronto!” I loved experiencing the city from that level, at eye-level with billboards, elevated cars, seeing building facades from a different height. I loved that at first glance one might be fooled into thinking the plantings were wild, but then upon seeing them seeing that they were carefully curated and that unseen maintenance was occurring. I loved all the different options for seating – some amphitheater style, some bistro tables, some lovely benches, some in the middle of a small grove.
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I loved the mix of materials and the overall railroad industrial aesthetic, and I especially loved the metal tracks that remained and reminded visitors what the history of this place was all about – better yet, I loved where the tracks veered off on little side exits into brick walls, which reminded me of the entire industrial system that used to exist – the rail cargo having a direct entrance into the factory buildings. When we all try to be greener, we should think of this true door-to-door delivery where a product could go from the source to the destination in one trip.
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Another thing that’s so interesting is that at one point in urban planning, skywalks were installed everywhere. This move was later blamed for the demise of street life in these areas. Conversely, the elevated public space of The High Line has made the neighborhood even more desirable and drawn even more business down at the street level on up. I’m nuts for this project. If you are too, you should become a friend of The High Line.

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Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Inspiration Monday: Gertrude Jekyll Gardens

Becky

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Sorry for the very late start to inspiring you today – I cannot seem to get anything right this morning/afternoon! I’m going to brush that off and get started with a little inspiration. For some of us, spring has been teasing. Here in Atlanta, all of the daffodils and cherry blossoms are in full bloom, but there were teeny tiny snow flurries this morning. Perhaps we could all use “The Secret” and start planning our gardens to speed things up again. O.K. I’m kidding, I think “The Secret” is really cheesy, but I’ll roll with it.

Gertrude Jekyll was a brilliant English garden designer. She was a master at applying color theory to the composition of gardens. I have this book by Richard Bisgrove, where he has combed through thousands of her plans (there are very few remaining Jekyll gardens as she passed away in 1932) and reinterpreted them. Here are just a few examples of how you can plan out beautiful color combinations in your garden. Oh, and here’s a link to the book, The Gardens of Gertrude Jekyll by Richard Bisgrove. If you like to have a few garden tomes to flip through for inspiration around your home, this one is a must-buy for your library.

all images from the above-mentioned book; photography by Andrew Lawson.

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Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Around the Web: The Late Show Garden

Becky

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Photo by: Saxon Holt/PhotoBotanic

I was flipping through the latest issue of Garden Design the other day and The Late Show Gardens jumped off the page at me. It’s a garden show in Sonoma that starts with sustainable design as a no-brainer base and creates art from it. For example, plants that cleanse contaminated water and soil help shape thoughtful spaces. Peruse the whole shebang over at gardendesign.com, if you are not convinced, here’s a little teaser!

Photo by Mitch Maher

all photos via gardendesign.com

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