55,000 sq ft green roof

This  55ksf  extensive  green  roof  serves  multiple  functions.  While  the  local  environment  benefits from  a  reduction  of  the  heat  island  effect,  minimized  storm  runoff  and  added  protection  to  the roof  membrane,  this  sedum  green  roof  transforms  a  series  of  bare,  unattractive  spaces  into  a vibrant,  lush  amenity  for  the  residents  of  this  new  development.  The  green  roof  is  perhaps  the most  visible  element  of  the  suite  of  high  end  amenities  and  finishes  envisioned  by  the  developer,  and  emblematic  of  the  continuing  evolution  of  this  historic  neighborhood.

Aesthetic Values (Beauty and Visibility)  One of the most visible exterior elements of the brand new Skyview Parc development, the multi-level green roof melds seamlessly with the ground level park and amenity directly to the East. This harmony is one of the key functions of the green roof, achieving a cohesion with the surrounding area and transforming a series of bare rooftops into a broad, cascading waterfall of vibrant green.

The  green  roof,  perhaps  the  most  visible  exterior  feature  of  this  gleaming  new  luxury  development,  is  symbolic  of  the  improvements  to  the  neighborhood.  The  success  of  this  project  has  already  led  to  further  investment  in  the  surrounding  area,  with  new  construction  and  infrastructure  plans  pointing  toward  a  bright  new  future  for Flushing.  The  relationship  between  the  glitzy,  upscale  amenities  like  the  green  roof  and  the  records  in  sales  is  impossible  to  miss-  the  green  roof  is  a  benefit  not  only  to  the  residents  and  the  environment  at  large,  but  as  an  effective  sales  tool  for  developers  and  marketers  as  well.

Plant Selection + Terrace Gardens

 

The climate in the northeastern United States has always challenged residential gardeners and professional landscapers alike. For most people the chill of fall means pulling out fun collections of sweaters and coats.  For the gardener it’s time to shut down the garden. Pulling weeds, shutting down irrigation and covering furnishings are all part and parcel of landscape maintenance.  However, a temperature and weather shift associated with climate change has really changed the timetable for many.

While many people still debate climate change and it’s impact, surely we have noticed the effects.  A white Christmas is becoming harder and harder to come across. February is dipping lower and lower on the thermometer.  We’ve noticed a lot of loss amongst shrubs and perennials that used to be quite hardy and resistant to cold snaps.  Colder winters are also compounded when your garden might be on a 22nd story roof deck.  Strong winds wick away ambient moisture and temperatures dip even lower than they do at ground level. So your hardiness zone might not be what you think.

Our general rule at J. Mendoza Gardens (a division of blondies treehouse), after the first ten stories, for every ten stories you ascend, your garden steps back a hardiness zone. New York City is considered to be zone 7 city-wide,  but when we design for terraces that are 15 or 20 stories high, we’ll pick plants that are more common to a zone 5 to ensure hardiness.  One commercial client of ours has their office on the 34th floor.  We went with plants that could handle zone 4 hardiness.

For the urban gardener, a Property Manager responsible for a large common roof deck or a hobbyist with a few planters on a terrace, the lesson we’d like to share is that if you’ve lost some perennials, do not replace in kind.  Our recommendation is to transition to plants with higher tolerance to the cold.

Suggested Plants (by Genera)

  • Amsonia
  • Aster
  • Actaea
  • Brunnera
  • Coreopsis
  • Calamagrostis
  • Carex
  • Chasmanthium
  • Dryopteris
  • Echinacea
  • Eryngium (select species)
  • Euphorbia
  • Festuca
  • Gaillardia
  • Hakonechloa
  • Heuchera
  • Helleborus
  • Hemerocallis
  • Hylotelephium
  • Ligularia (select species)
  • Lobelia
  • Monarda
  • Phlox (select species)
  • Schizachyrium
  • Sedum
  • Sporobolus
  • Tiarella
  • Yarrow
  • Yucca

 Additional Resources:

 Good place to search for plants – “MBG – Plant Finder”

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/plantfinder/plantfindersearch.aspx

 University of Minnesota – “The best plants for 30 tough sites”

http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/landscaping/best-plants-for-tough-sites/

Project | Brooklyn Rooftop

As Brooklyn continues to reach upward, its newest denizens demand an aesthetic which marries the past with the present. For the latest buildings, rooftop spaces are not an after-thought but are carefully engineered and planned early in the design phase, often long before there is a semblance of a space to survey.
The primary challenge with common spaces for residential buildings is to provide some level of individual privacy while developing an overall spatial design which will also foster social interaction between users. In order to achieve this balance, smaller conversational spaces which are defined through the rigid face of the wood-clad planters and accented by hearty plantings and provide a diverse mix of seating types from long benches attached to the face of the planters to moveable chairs and tables allowing for maximum flexibility. The smaller conversational spaces take advantage of the views from the outside edges of the roof while the larger common spaces are defined by plant-softened wood fences.
The materials of the space borrow from the buildings context, reclaiming many of the materials which permeated Brooklyn’s industrial heritage. Concrete, steel, aluminum and various fabrics are some of the elements which help to unite the past with the present. Transferring the feel of the sidewalk planting bed to the rooftop is achieved through the raw steel-edged green-roof garden areas which help define the spaces.

Trump Tower Transformation

The Trump Tower New York, located at 725 5th Avenue, is a 58-story mixed-use skyscraper in the heart of midtown Manhattan. As part of its public space atrium, Blondie’s renovated the exterior gardens on the 4th floor brick terrace to include additional Japanese Maples and entirely new planting beds. Located primarily in shadow, a plant palette was assembled that best suites the site conditions to provide color and texture. A layering of Japanese Maples, Ilex and Hydrangea provide the back drop for perennials of heuchera, astilbe and variegated hostas. Annual seasonal color was added to the summertime palette to provide additional color. While renovating the garden beds, particular care was given to reconstructing a healthy soil body. The key restoration features that will enable these planting beds to thrive are, amended soil with topdressing, a monitored irrigation system, appropriate plant material and an on-going, routine maintenance program. When taking on a landscape renovation, these factors are the major considerations that will determine the success of your garden project.

Plants in the Healthcare System: The Plantscapers Solution

As professional horticulturalists, Blondie’s Treehouse Inc. has worked closely with healthcare professionals to establish industry standards that maximize the benefits of having green plants within the healthcare system while minimizing the potential risks of soil borne pathogens.

Benefits of including plants in the healthcare system:

  • Levels of dust and other air-borne particles can be reduced by as much as 20% by the addition of foliage plants
  • Live indoor plants convert harmful VOC into carbon-based materials that they then use in the photosynthesis process to make their own food. The resulting byproduct is oxygen.
  • Plants are a beneficial and cost-effective addition that softens the look of a harsh, clinical environment.
  • Horticultural Therapy is a time-tested practice of using plants and gardening tasks to support the recovery of patients of all ages. Research shows that therapeutic gardens actually improve clinical outcomes, often helping patients to leave the hospital faster, take less pain medication, and suffer fewer complications.
  • The tranquility of a garden or interior greenscape is beneficial not just to patients, but to their families and the health care workers as well.

Below are the standard procedures for responsibly introducing plant life into the healthcare system:

 

  • Location.
    • Strategically placed plants in less sensitive areas.
    • Look but don’t touch. Plants placed in hard to reach areas or in extra tall planters.
    • Research has shown that a window view helps alleviate patient stress and improve recovery. This means that plants can be placed in visible areas without having to directly share the patients physical environment.
  • Top Dressing
    • Because all of the pathogens of concern are only active and harmful once air born, a top dressing of stone, pebbles, decorative glass, etc. can provide the needed separation between the air and the soil.
  • Green Walls
    • Installation of a strategically placed living wall can prevent people from approaching the wall and touching the plant material.
    • In a modular Green Wall system a landscape fabric can potentially cover the soil as the young plants are inserted into small incisions made into the fabric.
    • Green Walls can be highly visible to all windows that look upon it, maximizing their benefit.
  • Maintenance
    • It is of upmost importance to have a dedicated maintenance program for every new plant installation. It is through consist monitoring that plants maximize their benefits to the environment. Several key points to having a maintenance program are:
      • Consistency in watering. Plants thrive with consist watering. It prevents them from being stressed out and defoliating and attracting gnats and the like.
      • Dusting. Plants must be dusted and cleaned regularly for the health of the plant and maximize the health benefits to the surrounding environment.
      • For mold to form in soil it requires bacteria from a decaying source such as rotting leaves, consistently damp soil, and little or no light. Properly maintained plants such as those that are cared for by an interior landscape professional will not have the opportunity to produce mold.
      • Proactive care. A trained technician will be able to make the necessary adjustments to the treatment of the plants in order to prevent concerns from developing into a problem.