A paving surface design can drastically alter the appearance of a space street to rooftop, 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 that 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.
The highly anticipated 183-key hotel development, Level Hotel, located at 55 Wythe has brought on the team at Gunn Landscape Architecture to design a series of landscaped outdoor venues from the ground level up, including the largest elevated public space in the Williamsburg area.
With the strong architectural gesture of the building, the sloping land forms, native plantings, and leafy canopies made from woven live willow branches are intended create a setting that tempers the journey from a surrounding industrial context and usual play of straight modern lines. Along with the 20,000 sq ft elevated garden, the project also includes a street-level retail plaza designed with a green wall and a scattering of trees, stretching one full city block. In addition the design includes a large outdoor bar and a modern, spill-over reflecting pool on a deck several stories up.
Some settings showcase unique historic beauty. The bygone era of manufacturing placed in the heart of Soho left behind space and historically rich, building details directly in view when one can be perched above the street scape. This unwelcoming rooftop was disengaged from its residence, and it would take more than cosmetic changes to give it a new life. The Gunn team was called upon to design a retreat that brings the serenity of the natural landscape merged with the built; with living quarters extending from the home that mitigate with the surrounding context. The solution would also meet the request for exclusivity – a place that provided a sense of security and privacy for the owners.
Gunn introduced an eye-pleasing look to last year-round in this before and after.The design includes a range of materials to turn an uninspiring rooftop space into one that brings tranquility and utility: slats of oiled hardwood constructed as removable panels in the flooring, screening, planters, and seating; the textured stone of Yangtzee limestone pavers; eco-friendly Synlawn to ease water consumption; and evergreens to keep the space green year round. Juniper hedges were planted in repetition to screen and privatize an exposed corner space.
See more photos of the completed project.
The July issue of Luxe Interiors + Design Magazine gives Landscape Architect Alec Gunn a nod for creating an effective landscaping design that softens the angles and straight lines at this New Canaan, CT home.