The construction of the Level Hotel is underway, and recent renderings give a glimpse of the new streetscape to grace the Williamsburg neighborhood. The Gunn designed plaza and elevated gardens will greet hotel guests and the community with inviting public space and much needed greenery.
Our work often takes us out to coastal areas, where we address new landscape needs: hardscape design that minimally disrupts the terrain and planting schemes to meet erosion control standards. When creating steps for this slope we looked to a solution that would also follow the natural undulations of the landscape.
The geometry of these steps uniquely plays with the rise and run relationship, extending each step in response to the slope’s natural topography, bringing one up gradually to the residence. The designers wisely chose black locust for its durability – viably structural as Ipe, but sustainably sourced, and also resilient to rain and insects. Native beach and prairie grasses are hardy, yet soften the edges, standing up to both drought and wet conditions. Providing the backdrop, woody, dense shrubs were also chosen for their ground stabilizing properties, with deep, binding root systems to help mitigate erosion in a sand dune habitat.
A paving surface design can drastically alter the appearance of a space, street or rooftop locale, designating areas meant for outdoor living and bringing appeal to austere surroundings. From wood and stone to permeable living materials, the design concept of the ground layer can also bring thought to foot-friendly textures and traction. A curation of stone and groundcover, can easily take the least suspecting spot from drab to fab. The above photo, a green roof of moss and stone, is an isolated area off the master bedroom, newly defined as part of a Zen zone on this rooftop terrace located in Tribeca.
We are always on the lookout for landscape inspiration, both vast and intimately-scaled settings (and all in between) to bring fresh enthusiasm to the work. Whether seeking the latest trends from books and magazines, or examining new materials from our vendors, we also need to draw inspiration from in-person experiences. We would turn north of New York City to Storm King, 500 acres of both designed landscape and natural parkland. The expanse of woodlands and fields amassed with grass varieties and native plantings with carefully placed sculptures from well-known contemporary artists throughout the site, gave us both vision and a moment of reflection. With landforms in the background, the group turned to pose for a picture, certainly looking quite happy to have a day out of the office!
From landscape to pool to path to entryway, a lighting scheme done right can find common ground between function and form, capturing the essence of your setting. The placement might meet functional requirements or enhance architectural features, but the effect of the chosen lamp fixture and diffusion of light can create stunning effects through dusk and long after the sunset. Whether simple path lighting is desired or the atmosphere of an ambient setting for outdoor events and gatherings, adding glow to your surroundings brings the opportunity to showcase texture and contrasts that go beyond the charm and color of the daytime.
The use of stone can make a strong statement in any outdoor setting, gracefully accenting plantings, adding variation to a stretch of lawn, and providing a sense of place in a contiguous landscape. Cut with precision or left in its natural form, it requires a carefully placed, thought-out design when integrating within the context of your landscape.
You may choose to counter the bold look of its use in pathways, anchoring either side with robust perennial beds, or embed within an expanse of moss groundcover for a storybook setting. From patio paving and pathways, to retaining walls and garden bed borders, stone’s inherent characteristics and possible forms, make it a staple for almost any garden and landscape setting to incorporate.