Archive for Outdoor Living Spaces

Rooftop Landscape Design – Featured Project

THE ROOF OF WALL STREET

10 Hanover Square gets a complete rooftop landscape design renovation

Rooftop Landscape - Featured Project 01

The owners of this high-end residential rental building in the Financial District became interested in designing a communal rooftop space and after a recommendation from their interior design firm BG International, contacted Kokobo and the story begins! Upon the first site visit it became clear to the Kokobo design team the improvements this rooftop space required in order to make a warm and friendly area to host the residents and their guests.

The Design Elements

Large, centrally-located electrical rooms and air conditioning units would need to be shielded from view due to their extremely imposing nature in a space walled in with prominent parapet walls. A unique and colorful steel scaffold-like structure circumnavigates the roof which supports the mobile window washing mechanism. kokobo felt the steel structure was out of the way enough and interesting in style that it should be incorporated and even highlighted in the new design. Finally, the entrance to the rooftop would need to be brightened and an imposing air conditioning vent structure overhead hidden from view. With these specific and design parameters kokobo set to work!

Rooftop Landscape - Featured Project 02

Design Process

We chose to conceal and beautify the electrical rooms and air conditioning units with 12′ high IPE ‘Slot Walls’ which are essentially wall structures that enclose continuous slots of living wall panels in a decorative, geometric pattern and utilize minimal footprint space. This created a warm and attractive border enclosing the outdoor rooms and serve to stop the eye from taking in the rooftop utilities. The prominent parapet walls and red steel structure act as divisions of outdoor rooms and spaces with varying uses. The first space you come upon from the entrance is a living room with multiple sofas and comfy lounge chairs surrounding a custom coffee table with built in lighting for nighttime ambiance. Next to the living room is the sunning room filled with chaise lounges for individuals wishing to soak in the rays on those wonderfully sunny NYC days. In the corner of the communal roof top is the second living room with similar outfitting to the first, but on a much larger scale. The fourth space as you turn the corner of the rooftop is the dining area, set with multiple table and chair configurations for rooftop dining of any size or occasion. Finally we come to the last outdoor room next to the dining which is the outdoor kitchen. The large island includes 2 grills, 2 refrigerators, an ice maker, and ample storage space for multiple families or groups to serve and enjoy.

Rooftop Landscape - Featured Project 03
The outdoor rooms are further denoted by overhead trellis and pergola structures in IPE wood which warms the look of the parapet wall and provides an airy ceiling to allow sunlight to penetrate the rooms. A custom IPE and river rock soffit was designed to hide the prominent flashing along the base of the parapet wall and also conceals the electrical and irrigation supply running around the perimeter of the rooftop. The imposing air conditioning vent at the entrance is hidden by an IPE ceiling which stops the eye from seeing the vent but also provides enough air flow in and around the openings.
Rooftop Landscape - Featured Project 04
The darkness of the entrance has been brightened by adding light box planters with rich green ferns along the entrance walls that illuminate your view as soon as you step foot outside. A continuous band of light at the base of the surrounding IPE walls light the ground plane for easy navigation. Freestanding planters are sprinkled throughout the roof space to provide further softening of surrounding architecture and variety of foliage to be enjoyed. Stepping onto the communal rooftop has changed from loud and imposing utility structures, parapet walls, and steel structures to what is now warm and cozy nooks for tenants to enjoy a variety of sitting areas and amenities for any occasion, whether it’s sunning on a hot summer day or having drinks with friends after work, the space and features are amply provided.

Local 11 Forces a Change and a New Design is Created

West Village Rooftop Restoration

After 10 years of enjoying his rooftop overlooking the Hudson River a longtime client of ours found it necessary to sacrifice his terrace for 6 months due to the building’s need for Local 11 work. Local 11 is a law that was passed in 1998 requiring buildings above 6 stories to have regular inspections and repair work to their facades for the safety of pedestrians and owners below.

West Village Rooftop Restoration

Scaffolding, cables, and equipment require a 6 month period of non-use.

Our client’s outdoor space was the actual rooftop for the entire north side of the building and this meant tearing apart many of the built-in planters, removing plants, and key elements to make room for the scaffolding and equipment. What was initially a major inconvenience turned out to be a welcome opportunity for our client to bring the terrace’s design into a more modern, simplified, and clean aesthetic.

New Planters and Plants allow for more Furniture:

West Village Rooftop RestorationAll of the built-in Cedar planters were removed and brand new, colorful architectural fiberglass freestanding planters took their place.

Fresh plantings were added of different varieties highlighting the colorful containers as they grow vertically and spill over. Reducing the planted areas on the terrace allowed the incorporation of more furniture and more capability for entertaining, which the client had been longing for.

Simple and low-slung teak sofas, chair and coffee tables create an intimate sitting area while the existing chaise lounges have more room to breathe and a permanent location on the rooftop.

West Village Rooftop Restoration

An Entire Outdoor Living Space is Anchored by the Pergola:

The clear Cedar pergola from the original design was restored to its original honey color and all hardware was sanded and brought back to original finishes. Keeping the pergola was imperative to the client as it allowed the dining area to be kept in the same spot which offers unobstructed views of the Hudson River to the west and the Empire State Building to the north.

West Village Rooftop Restoration

West Village Rooftop RestorationNext to the dining area, custom cabinetry with a serving counter and storage below provides a perfect spot for staging food and cocktails while also providing protection from the elements for the client’s stereo controls and other electronics.

Lighting and Irrigation:

Existing lighting and irrigation systems were removed and replaced with brand new, state-of-the-art landscape lighting and drip irrigation systems. Whipping winds, shady spots, and blazing sun are all elements that are experienced on this rooftop and the new drip system allows for each plant to be watered at different rates and frequencies based on their unique needs throughout the space. A fully customized low-voltage lighting system provides a dramatic effect on the plants and hardscapes as the sun sets and the outdoor space is used into the night.

We look forward to a wonderful spring and thank you for your continued business and support!

– kokobo greenscapes…. Design, Build, Sustain

QUEENS BACKYARD IS DOUBLED IN SIZE AND HOMEOWNERS NOW ENJOY OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING AT ITS FINEST

—Backyard Landscape Renovation in Queens, NY—

THE “BACK” STORY

Queens BackyardA petite backyard in Queens was in dire need of a new look, smarter use of limited space, and more structurally-sound construction. The shared garage had a sagging roof, crumbling walls, and a ugly block facade. While there were some overgrown trees on the property the backyard was very drab and lacking any real greenery. The stoop to the raised porch was lopsided and the canopy covering the porch was in desperate need of updating. The clients were interested in outdoor cooking and entertaining for small groups, using the space at night, and greening and softening the edges of the yard to provide an attractive border and privacy from the alleyway behind and the neighbors.

DEMOLITION BEGINS AND THE MAIN SPACE TAKES SHAPE

Queens BackyardThe garage became a harrowing task to rectify, as asbestos was discovered in the rooftop materials, and it being a shared structure, cooperation with the neighbors was mandatory. Permits were obtained, the asbestos was taken care of by an environmental firm and the garage was demolished and carted away.

The large arborvitae at the rear of the yard had to be removed, due to their encroaching size and the light that they blocked from the space. The Japanese maple was kept however, for it was healthy and its curvy truck provided an interesting effect against the fencing. New plantings were adding into every corner and edge of the backyard – a raised bed against the house hosts an array of perennials and ferns, a small bed opposite the kitchen island has vines which will grow along the new fence and soften that narrow pathway, a second bed along that fence and at the rear of the yard provides evergreen interest and privacy from the alley behind, finally tiny little beds at the base of the 4 iron trellis posts contain ivy which will grow up and over the structure throughout the year to offer shade and seasonal interest.

Queens Backyard Renovation

Queens Backyard RenovationThe stoop, landing, and steps to the basement received all new materials. Stucco risers with blue stone treads create an elegant entry from the garden into the house, along with stucco cheek walls with bluestone cap stones. Step lights were installed into each so they can be easily navigated at night and add to the ambiance of the space. The stoop canopy was replaced with a natural cedar railing and overhead structure covered by an opaque corrugated fiberglass roof that allows light to penetrate the previously dark sitting area on the landing.

 

OUTDOOR COOKING AND ENTERTAINING

While entertaining, the clients can utilize the outdoor kitchen island which was designed to host a grill, refrigerator, storage, and bar seating, as well as provide ample serving space. It was important to the clients that the “grillmaster” be allowed to share in the occasion, so the dining area was placed next to the island and they are able to converse with those seated at the dining table and at the bar seamlessly. The dining area is demarcated by a prefabricated iron trellis in which custom lighting has been hung to illuminate the table well into the evening.

Queens Backyard Renovation

AN “AWARD-WINNING” FINAL RESULT

Drastic changes to the small backyard have made a world of difference and the space is almost unrecognizable from what it used to be! One of the interesting facts about this project is that eco-friendly materials were used on many elements…the pavers in the dining area are permeable to reduce surface run-off, the concrete used for foundations and walkways was a special eco-friendly mix, and all of the landscape lighting is low-voltage and LED which will consume very little energy.

In the end, the project provided the homeowners with exactly what they envisioned…a larger space with all the amenities they hoped to include in their outdoor “lounge”. This project recently was awarded a SILVER design award in the MINISCAPE division (spaces <2,000 sf) at the LINLA 2013 Landscape Design/Build Environmental Enhancement Awards.

Queens Backyard Renovation

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THE ROOF OF WALL STREET

10 Hanover Square gets a complete rooftop renovation.

rooftop space nycThe owners of this high-end residential rental building in the Financial District became interested in designing a communal rooftop space and after a recommendation from their interior design firm BG International, contacted kokobo and the story begins! Upon the first site visit it became clear to the kokobo design team the improvements this rooftop space required in order to make a warm and friendly area to host the residents and their guests.

The Design Elements

Large, centrally-located electrical rooms and air conditioning units would need to be shielded from view due to their extremely imposing nature in a space walled in with prominent parapet walls. A unique and colorful steel scaffold-like structure circumnavigates the roof which supports the mobile window washing mechanism. kokobo felt the steel structure was out of the way enough and interesting in style that it should be incorporated and even highlighted in the new design. Finally, the entrance to the rooftop would need to be brightened and an imposing air conditioning vent structure overhead hidden from view. With these specific and design parameters kokobo set to work!

rooftop space nyc

Design Process

We chose to conceal and beautify the electrical rooms and air conditioning units with 12′ high IPE ‘Slot Walls’ which are essentially wall structures that enclose continuous slots of living wall panels in a decorative, geometric pattern and utilize minimal footprint space. This created a warm and attractive border enclosing the outdoor rooms and serve to stop the eye from taking in the rooftop utilities. The prominent parapet walls and red steel structure act as divisions of outdoor rooms and spaces with varying uses. The first space you come upon from the entrance is a living room with multiple sofas and comfy lounge chairs surrounding a custom coffee table with built in lighting for nighttime ambiance. Next to the living room is the sunning room filled with chaise lounges for individuals wishing to soak in the rays on those wonderfully sunny NYC days. In the corner of the communal roof top is the second living room with similar outfitting to the first, but on a much larger scale. The fourth space as you turn the corner of the rooftop is the dining area, set with multiple table and chair configurations for rooftop dining of any size or occasion. Finally we come to the last outdoor room next to the dining which is the outdoor kitchen. The large island includes 2 grills, 2 refrigerators, an ice maker, and ample storage space for multiple families or groups to serve and enjoy.

rooftop designers nyc

The outdoor rooms are further denoted by overhead trellis and pergola structures in IPE wood which warms the look of the parapet wall and provides an airy ceiling to allow sunlight to penetrate the rooms. A custom IPE and river rock soffit was designed to hide the prominent flashing along the base of the parapet wall and also conceals the electrical and irrigation supply running around the perimeter of the rooftop. The imposing air conditioning vent at the entrance is hidden by an IPE ceiling which stops the eye from seeing the vent but also provides enough air flow in and around the openings.

The darkness of the entrance has been brightened by adding light box planters with rich green ferns along the entrance walls that illuminate your view as soon as you step foot outside. A continuous band of light at the base of the surrounding IPE walls light the ground plane for easy navigation. Freestanding planters are sprinkled throughout the roof space to provide further softening of surrounding architecture and variety of foliage to be enjoyed. Stepping onto the communal rooftop has changed from loud and imposing utility structures, parapet walls, and steel structures to what is now warm and cozy nooks for tenants to enjoy a variety of sitting areas and amenities for any occasion, whether it’s sunning on a hot summer day or having drinks with friends after work, the space and features are amply provided.

rooftop designers nyc

Happy New Year and wishing you the absolute best for a wonderful 2014, from all of us at kokobo greenscapes!

 

Roosevelt Island Rooftop Terrace

We wanted to take the opportunity to share a unique project that we are especially proud of. It really shows the breadth of design elements and options that are available even in a confined space with strict parameters. This rooftop terrace shines with some of our strongest work yet. We hope you enjoy!

Oasis in the Sky

Roosevelt Island Rooftop TerraceThis 10th floor condominium sits in middle of the East River and has tremendous views of both Manhattan and Queens, but is also quite exposed to neighbors and natural elements. The 10th floor is not the top floor of this building and therefore the young couple who owns the unit is exposed to neighbor’s prying eyes from the tenants located in the upper stories as well as the building directly opposite on Roosevelt Island’s main drag. While east and west viewpoints offer incredible cityscapes, the clients required some privacy from the northern neighbors as well as those above them. The clients enjoy hosting family and friends, and purchased the unit with a terrace in one of Roosevelt Island’s new constructions with the purpose of creating a beautiful, usable, and intimate outdoor space that would enhance their interiors and add great value to their home.

Roosevelt Island Rooftop Terrace

To establish the intimate space they required the designer looked to create privacy through planting. This was achieved by incorporating custom built-in planters along the perimeter of the space, placing larger plants in key locations and maintaining those east and west views of the cities beyond. Allowing a larger tree such as the Himalayan Birch ample room to grow and thrive 6′ x 6′ planting areas were incorporated in 3 points of the terrace; creating balance and variation with the landscape. Incorporating significant planting areas and therefore saturated soil the building required investigation of the weight loads that would go into these areas. Spreading the planted areas around the perimeter of the space really evened out those heavier loads however and there were no points of extreme weight that would have caused an issue. One area was left free of the custom planter however in order to allow for sunbathing and reaching the parapet wall to offer maximum views of the surrounding vistas. Another element of privacy was incorporated through the use of the pergola over the dining area. Creating a ceiling over the diners that would conceal them from the onlookers in the units above the terrace. Incorporating a built structure of this height caused concern for the building and an engineer and special permit was required in order to attach the structure to the building itself. This requirement proved an enormous logistical challenge, but ultimately was well worth the efforts and cost. The aluminum posts that are visible above the IPE deck have custom feet that sit on the roof membrane and are attached to the concrete roof slab with stainless steel wedge bolts in order to secure the structure against high winds. The addition of the metal material to the roof top provides variations and enriches the overall look of the space.

Roosevelt Island Rooftop Terrace

To make the terrace a usable extension of the interiors, rooms were created with specific programs and features. As you enter the terrace from the interior living room you step out onto the original concrete pavers issued to all exteriors of new constructions in the area. To your left is a small sitting area where a morning coffee and reading of the paper might be enjoyed. Moving forward into the space you step up onto an IPE deck which houses the kitchen and dining areas for the outdoors. The 8-person dining table sits below the custom aluminum and cedar pergola built into the deck and rooftop, and to your left is an ‘L’ shaped outdoor kitchen with an electric grill (gas and propane were restricted by building and city codes), bar sink and ice chest, refrigerator, and stainless steel cabinetry. The kitchen is veneered in a natural, stacked-stone and the counter is a custom poured and tinted concrete. The counter extends over the northern side of the kitchen to create a bar with ample space for seating and entertaining while grilling is taking place. As you continue north through the space you step down again onto the original concrete pavers – the deck was maintained in the central area of the terrace in order to keep it from the reaching the parapet and exceeding the minimum 42″ height requirement. To your right is an open, sun-filled space for sunbathing and experiencing the surrounding views. To the left is the living area of the terrace with cushy, sectional seating and a custom built-in bench with shading pergola overhead. In time the posts and beams of the bench pergola will be covered in Trumpet Vines offering shade and additional privacy during the warmer seasons.

Roosevelt Island Rooftop TerraceIn addition to the requirements associated with the pergola, deck, and kitchen appliances the designer also had to consider and plan for window washing operations that take place biannually on the terrace. Access to nearly every point along the perimeter had to be maintained in order for 1 man and a window washing basket with rope and pulley system to have room to work and move along. Therefore every landscape/built feature was brought inward 15″ from the railing. Unfortunately this decreased the usable footprint of the space for the homeowners, but ultimately was minimal in what it took away from the overall design goals. Privacy from the northern neighbors and the eyes overhead were still achieved. Various rooms were implemented allowing for an extension of the indoors and maximum use of the space. Views of Manhattan and Queens were maintained to the east and west providing a unique and awesome experience of the city surrounding this Roosevelt Island Oasis.

A Queens back yard is transformed into a secluded Oriental oasis:

Oriental Respite

Oriental Respite

In the newly created backyard custom cedar trellises reflect the textures and patterns found in a Japanese garden. Fine latticework replicates the framework of Oriental screens. The entrance to the backyard was formerly a driveway, which was replaced with stained concrete to match the subdued tones of the landscape. This area still allows for access to the existing garage/shed and doubles as an entertaining space.

Oriental RespiteA Japanese style entry arbor frames a stunning view of the garden and invites the user in. Stepping stones set in Irish moss lead to a representational “sea” of gravel replete with decorative boulders. The focal point of the gravel bed is a boulder waterfall framed with finely textured plantings and located over a pond-less waterfall system. The sound of trickling water not only soothes but also helps to drown out any unwelcome neighborhood noise.

Using a stone mixture of 70% crushed granite, 10% coarse sand and 20% crushed bluestone dust the ‘sea’ of gravel can be raked and hold designs as in a traditional Japanese rock garden. Within the garden a small pergola, complete with low chairs was designed for sitting and contemplation. A stone bench positioned at the terminal point of the stepping stone path permits views of the garden from the opposite direction.

Oriental Respite

The restored and elevated deck is outfitted with vertical trellises that screen the deck from the outside and afford overall views of the garden. Upon completion, it was, as Japanese sculptor Isamu Noguchi has said “an immaculate universe, swept clean.”

“One of the luxuries afforded to the landscape designer (when we succeed) is to sit back in the space we have created and bask (momentarily, before the next job) in the environment we have wrought into existence. If synergistic energies have truly been brought into play, the finished environment will be more than the sum of its parts. Our clients were able continue their close ties and associations in the neighborhood yet step into their backyard and remove themselves to an oasis of contemplation a culture and a world away.

We are looking forward to another award winning year. Please let us know if we can be of any assistance with your landscape needs!!”

Remember….it’s “EASY” being GREEN!!

Michael J. Madarash
Principal Designer-kokobo greenscapes, inc.
212.396.9166

Urban Rooftop Garden

An urban terrace becomes an outdoor living and entertainment area.

Urban Rooftop Garden

Urban Rooftop GardenMirroring the urban geometry that surrounds the terrace, the design implements colors and shapes that appear repeatedly in the urban environment. To further define these areas the central living area and small seating area were raised on synthetic wood decking to break the space up into rooms. It included a large sectional sofa and a remotely operated fire pit. A weather proofed entertainment area houses a flat screen TV on a remote lift system. The dining area shares the small kitchen with a built-in grill and bar, which is adjacent to the raised seating area at the west end of the terrace.

The plantings provide separation from the city and define the entertainment areas. Chosen for their color, shape and textures the plantings accent, soften, and harmonize with the modern furnishings.

Urban Rooftop Garden

Tall arborvitaes on the east side of the terrace were chosen for their height and immediate screening from the neighboring buildings. The neutral tones of pavers, synthetic wood decking and planters were well served by employing plants of decidedly red and green hues to provide a counterpoint in this most contemporary of open spaces. The selection and location of the plants enabled the space to “serve two masters” by providing lines of sight to the surrounding cityscape, and afford an intimacy of scale that balances the macrocosm against the microcosm.