11,000 square foot roof deck !

 

 

Blondie’s Treehouse is proud to present the newly completed, 11,000 square foot roof deck at 50 West 23rd Street, a conversion project by developer Two Trees Management. Sitting atop the 11th floor, this space is perhaps the most complex and amenity-rich rooftop spaces anywhere in the Flatiron district.

Budgeted at $2MM and designed by James Corner Field Operations, the landscape architect responsible for the High Line, Blondie’s Treehouse’s team of 35 gardeners and tradespeople built this treasure on budget and ahead of schedule. Led by the team of Tina Dituri, Director of Design and Construction, and Charles Casanova, Director of Sales, the scope included translating the Design Development set of drawings and specifications into a complete and realized piece of architecture.

By controlling the entire project from the bid through the shop process, Blondie’s utilized their in-house team and extensive network of local fabricators. Highlights include a stacked ipe deck detail, custom CorTen steel edging, a made-to-order laser cut CorTen screen, pavers, lounges, and a tech bar.

Thermally modified wood is even better than ipe? – Here’s why

We’re really impressed with the thermally modified ash pavers we just installed at the Durst Organization’s 4 Times Square and 1133 Avenue of the Americas.

Thermal modification relies on super heating wood, like ash, in a low oxygen environment to transform the wood into a much tougher, more durable product. Perfect for decking, outdoor furniture and pavers, the treated wood outperforms untreated ash, with a much longer life (25 years), better fire safety rating, and is far more resistant to decay, warping and splintering.

It’s a very eco-friendly product- Sustainably harvested from North American forests, some of the material being used today is reclaimed and repurposed timber felled to help combat blight endangering ash trees.

Heated to temperatures in excess of 180 C, moisture, resins and other extractives are removed from the wood. A low oxygen environment prevents combustion, and the finished product is stronger, better suited to exterior applications and will develop a lustrous, rich patina.

Thermally modified decking and pavers perform as exotic hardwoods, but are ecologically sound, sustainably grown, and a great alternative to depleted stocks of hardwoods like ipe. Available in a variety of sizes as pavers and decking in dimensional lumber sizes.

 

Pergola Design

Serving as a transition between interior space and outdoor landscape, a freestanding pergola serves as a focal point, centering the space and drawing attention to the best features the garden has to offer. When properly implemented, a pergola performs double duty, extending the living space while defining a distinct outdoor space.

The overhead framing also provides welcome shade. The design of the overhead slatted wood can be simple framing or set at a slant to create the dappled sunlight of a more shaded environment. Solid roofs, retractable fabric awnings and climbing plants can also be incorporated into the design and all contribute to the final look and feel of the space.

Blondie’s specializes in custom pergolas made from Ipe, Cedar, Teak, Aluminum, and Fiberglass. By incorporating a pergola into your landscape’s design you are creating a destination to relax, entertain, or dine as well as providing your garden with a dramatic focal point.  Offering privacy, shade and a beautiful space to gather, read or relax, a pergola is a sure way to bring style and substance to any garden space.

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.