On the Brooklyn waterfront nestled between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges is 45 Main Street, a 475,000 square-foot office building and one of the signature properties of the neighborhood known as DUMBO. Here, developer Two Trees Management has converted the former factory building to create a mix of private and co-working spaces with incredible views a short walk to the waterfront. With the ground floor dedicated to retailers and the arts, the rooftop is a 9,500 square-foot shared space designed by Landscape Architect James Corner Field Operations and built by Blondie’s Treehouse Inc. We retrofitted the rooftop on this historic building with a mix of stone and wood surfaces. A herringbone pattern of grey and white granite creates a distinct area for blue bistro tables. In the south section of the rooftop an elevated ipe platform introduces an additional level for more casual lounging. Large planters of weathered Corten Steel feature Gleditsia, Amalenchier, Dogwood and Witchhazel as well as perennials and grasses. Custom ipe benches create privacy seating and serve as space dividers along the north and east walls. To install this project on time, Blondie’s brought in a 140-ton crane and secured permits allowing the closure of Washington Street. In a single morning, we lifted 250 cubic yards of soil and drainage stone, twenty-five 15’ trees, each with 30” root balls, 1,600 one gallon perennials as well as pavers and a variety of construction materials. Without the crane, this material would have required the freight elevators for a solid week, a difficult prospect in a busy building at full occupancy. Over a period of nearly four weeks, Blondie’s craftsmen and gardeners fabricated custom woodwork and planters and carefully planted thousands of perennials, shrubs and trees, transforming this rooftop from an empty and unutilized space into a fully realized, functional and quite gorgeous urban landscape.
Sempergreen® Vertical Systems is the creator and supplier of SemperGreenwalls, a unique vertical garden system. With a global reach and a mission to improve the quality of life through innovations in sustainable design, Sempergreen is the leading source of green living wall systems for indoor and outdoor use. Blondie’s Treehouse Inc. is a Preferred SemperGreenwall Installer. Companies with this distinction are recognized by Sempergreen for their proven installation skills and deep knowledge of the product, with an emphasis on quality, execution and client happiness. The SemperGreenwall is composed of modular Flexipanels, which arrive fully planted with lush, fully-grown plants. Flexipanels employ a generous 2” thick mineral wool based profile designed to nourish the plants by promoting and protecting robust, healthy root systems. The SemperGreenwall is truly a modular system, in that neighboring Flexipanels allow each plant’s roots to roam freely between panels, keeping plants healthier and creating a 3-dimensional vertical garden. A key innovation is the electronic sensory system that monitors the irrigation and distribution of fertilizer and nutrients. This cutting edge technology allows for remote monitoring and pinpoint accuracy, creating a highly efficient maintenance program with unmatched results.
Our designers and technicians have years of experience providing a complete range of irrigation services, including:
– Mapping and installing irrigation systems
– Seasonal monitoring and maintenance
– Repairs and replacements
– System start up and year end winterization
– Retrofits and upgrades of existing irrigation systems
Our clients range from residential rooftops to large scale commercial gardens; freestanding containers on 30sf terraces to 20,000 sf green roofs; from single zone to multi, wireless sensor systems, drip, fixed spray sprinklers, in-ground rotors and pop-ups… you name it, Blondie’s is your full service irrigation provider.
All lighting design projects begin with a dark palette. We start by integrating safety lighting for basic elements, illuminating pathways, stairwells and entrances … but we don’t stop there. Like magicians, we begin to pull out design features from the shadows. Highlighting planters, pergolas and architectural structures, showcasing feature elements and objects of beauty, and creating new shapes and patterns through the interplay of light and dark. Uplighting, silhouetting and accenting are just a few techniques we use to recreate the outdoors as a nighttime environment. By purposefully incorporating exterior lighting into your design you will appreciate your space in a whole new light.
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)
- Eryngium (select species)
- Ligularia (select species)
- Phlox (select species)
Good place to search for plants – “MBG – Plant Finder”
University of Minnesota – “The best plants for 30 tough sites”