Tag Archive for Queens

Kokobo takes home TWO GOLDS and a SILVER at the LINLA awards!!!

On the eve of the Olympics as team USA prepares to win lots of Gold & Silver medals in Sochi… kokobo takes home TWO GOLDS and SILVER at LINLA awards!!!

LINLA, the Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association, is a New York State professional association started in the early 1960’s.

kokobo wins big!

kokobo wins bigOur team happily accepted THREE awards; Two Gold and One Silver! kokobo’s submissions this year were in direct contrast to each other as one was a large rooftop in the financial district, one a suburban property on Long Island; and one a small backyard in Queens.

 

SILVER AWARD

A petite backyard in Queens received a much needed makeover. After weeks of hard work the changes made to this humble backyard made a world of difference, almost unrecognizable from its previous state!

Queens Backyard Renovation

GOLD AWARD

A Massapequa family with a love for traveling, desired renovations to their home influenced by two of their favorite destinations; One of them Thailand and the other Bali. The team worked diligently to make this limiting space a proper fusion of both places.

kokobo wins big

GOLD AWARD

In New York City the newly designed and constructed communal rooftop, has made its way from loud and imposing utility structures to warm and cozy nooks. All of which can be enjoyed by the residents and their guests year round.

rooftop designers nyc

At the Banquet…..

Now, back to our “night out”. The evening was informative as well as fun. During the cocktail hour, we were able to view all the competitive portfolios with all the feedback from judges. As dinner was served, a wonderful slideshow and commentary was provided highlighting all of the winner’s projects with amazing before and after pictures as well as detailed construction pictures showing all of the challenges and intricate steps required to complete the incredible projects.

kokobo wins big

Construction and Production managers Mike Muscatello and Zachary Madarash with Michael Madarash-Principal Designer

“As always, this year’s LINLA awards dinner proved to be an amazing celebration of the top landscape designers and their projects in our region. With design firms, suppliers, vendors and installers present, it was a fantastic evening to review and recognize the different styles, budgets and materials that go into each award winning design. I was very proud to be a part of such projects and look forward to all the future designs that may be recognized as well. Can’t wait for next year!”

– Zach Madarash, Production Manager

kokobo wins big

Kokobo Designers Kaylin Rostron and Irena Romovacek with significant supplier Melissa Daniels

“It was another fun evening at the Milleridge Cottage and so great to see a fresh display of project types! We got to welcome a few new faces and names to the community who provided a different view and practice to the entries and the field of landscape design moving into 2014. It was an honor to be a part of the celebration and to be recognized.”

– Kaylin Rostron Senior Landscape Designer

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading our exciting news and stay tuned for our next newsletter which will highlight new projects as spring time gets closer and closer!!!

Until then….

Thank you for your valued support.

kokobo greenscapes, inc.

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

PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE PROJECT PHOTOS

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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.

kokobo greenscapes’ “BIG Move”

Our New Home

BIG Move

Last fall, kokobo greenscapes moved into a new home in Long Island City, right in the shadow of the 59th Street bridge.

It’s a great convenience and pleasure having all operations under 1 roof just minutes away from our Manhattan clients, and just 2 minutes from major thoroughfares accessing Long Island and Queens.

We occupy a spacious design studio on the 2nd floor of the 2 story building with large windows that face south, offering wonderful natural light. In the near future, 3 different living wall systems will be showcased in the design studio. This mini showcase will display the variety of green wall units that kokobo professionally installs and maintains, giving you, the client a better visual sense for future ideas and applications.

BIG Move

On the ground level, our loading bay, indoor parking, and work area is located with storage and staging space for planting and project preparations.

Our conference room comfortably seats 8-10 and has a large screen for reviewing projects and hosting client meetings is centrally located amongst the design studio and other offices.

BIG Move

And finally, the piece de resistance – the rooftop! Currently it offers incredible views of Manhattan, and for the future we have plans to install a terrace landscape showcase, which will feature choice selections of hardscape materials/applications, an outdoor kitchen, lounge and seating areas accented by green in the form of gardens with unique plantings. This rooftop will display our unbeatable craftsmanship and design talent.

BIG Move

Sincerely,

The entire kokobo family!

KOKOBO GREENSCAPES

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

Green Roofs in Big Cities Bring Relief from Above

Roofs, like coffee, used to be black tar. Now both have gone gourmet: for roofs, the choices are white, green, blue and solar-panel black.

greenroof

Chester Higgins Jr. / The New York Times. A co-op in Manhattan with a roof garden.

All are green in one sense. In different ways, each helps to solve serious environmental problems. One issue is air pollution, which needs no introduction. The second is the urban heat island. Because cities have lots of dark surfaces that absorb heat and relatively little green cover, they tend to be hotter than surrounding areas — the average summer temperature in New York City is more than 7 degrees hotter than in the Westchester suburbs. This leads to heavy air-conditioning use — not good — and makes city dwellers miserable. For a few people every year, the heat is more than a discomfort — it’s fatal.

The other problem is storm water runoff. In New York, as in about a fifth of American cities, there is only one sewer system to conduct both rainwater and wastewater. About every other rainfall in New York, sewers flood and back up, discharging their mix of rainwater and wastewater into the city’s waterways. It doesn’t take much to overload New York’s sewers — it can take only 20 minutes of rainfall to start water from toilets flowing into Brooklyn’s waterways. The water does more than flood streets. It makes us sick — cases of diarrhea spike when sewers overflow. When sewers back up, polluted water runs into our lakes and oceans, closing beaches.

How can a new roof help?

At 1:45 in the afternoon on August 9, 2001, the temperature in Chicago was in the 90s. Eleven stories up, on the roof of City Hall, the surface temperature of the black tar measured 169 degrees. But Mayor Daley, environmental innovator, had done something interesting. The year before, a section of the City Hall roof had been painted white. The surface temperature there was between 126 and 130 degrees. And much of the roof of the building had become a garden — 20,000 plants in 150 varieties, chosen for their abilities to thrive without irrigation and stand up to Chicago’s notorious wind. The surface temperature of the green roof varied between 91 and 119 degrees.

So the difference between a black tar roof and a green roof was at minimum 50 degrees. And the green roof was able to retain 75 percent of a one-inch rainfall. The two tasks go hand in hand — green roofs cool by capturing moisture and evaporating it.

Putting living vegetation on the roof is not a new idea. For thousands of years people have made sod roofs to protect and insulate their houses, keeping them cooler in summer and warmer in winter. The modern movement for green roofs began in the last 50 years in Europe. Germany, where about 10 percent of roofs are green, is the leader; some parts of Germany require green roofs on all new buildings.

Greening a roof is not exactly simple though. Over a black roof — flat is easiest but sloped can work — goes insulation, then a waterproof membrane, then a barrier to keep roots from poking holes in the membrane. On top of that there is a drainage layer, such as gravel or clay, then a mat to prevent erosion. Next is a lightweight soil (Chicago City Hall uses a blend of mulch, compost and spongy stuff) and finally, plants.

An extensive roof — less than 6 inches of soil planted with hardy cover such as sedum — can cost $15 per square foot. An intensive roof — essentially a garden, with deeper soil and plants that require watering and weeding — can double that. But because the vegetation is thicker, it will do a better job of cooling a building and collecting rainwater. Plants reduce sewer discharge in two ways. They retain rainfall, and what does run off is delayed until after the waters have peaked.

A study conducted by Columbia University and City University of New York of three test roofs built by Con Edison in Queens found that the green roof — an extensive roof, planted with sedum — cut the rate of heat gained through the roof in summer by 84 percent, and the rate of heat lost through the roof in winter by 34 percent.

Another study (same researchers, same Con Ed test sites) found that green roofs are a very cost-effective way to reduce storm water runoff. If New York has one billion square feet of possibly greenable roof, planting it all could retain 10 to 15 billion gallons of annual rainfall — which would cut a substantial amount of sewage overflow. “If you add in all the other green infrastructure, such as street trees, permeable pavement and ground collection pits, it might be possible to eliminate the combined sewage overflow without building specialized water detention tanks, which are hugely expensive,” said Stuart Gaffin, a research scientist at Columbia’s Center for Climate Systems Research, who co-authored both studies with colleagues from City College.

Green roofs have other advantages. They scrub the air: one square meter can absorb all the emissions from a car being driven 12,000 miles a year, said Amy Norquist, chief executive of Greensulate, which installs green roofs. And green roofs can provide the plants that animals, birds and bees need where parks are far apart.

White roofs are cheap and don’t require any engineering — just a layer of special paint. New York City is trying to coat a million square feet of roof a year. Building owners can do the work themselves, or they can engage CoolRoofs, a city initiative that promotes white roofs and organizes hundreds of volunteer painters. Since 2010, about 3,000 volunteers have coated 288 buildings.

But less investment buys less return. White roofs don’t catch rainwater, help biodiversity or clean the air. Gaffin’s group found that the white portion of the Con Ed roof averaged 43 degrees cooler than black at noon on summer days. That’s something, but it’s a smaller cooling effect than green roofs offer. Green roofs improve each year as vegetation becomes denser and taller. But after a few months, a white roof tends to look like city snow — covered with soot. As a white roof dirties, it loses a lot of its cooling ability.

Another roof option doesn’t save energy — it creates it. New Jersey has installed 500 megawatts of solar power — enough to run half a million homes. California has installed double that. New York City? So far, just 6.5 megawatts.

How have New Jersey and California done it? Private vendors install and maintain the solar panels, and are paid in future energy savings. Scott Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, argues that New York should use this system to put solar panels on the roof of every public school. Stringer’s report says putting solar roofs on all available public schools would eliminate as much carbon emissions as planting 400,000 trees — eight times the number in Manhattan now.

Public schools have become a testing ground for the new roofs. At the Robert Simon complex in the East Village, which houses three schools (my children attend two of those schools), work is beginning this summer on a farm. A committee at the Earth School was looking for green ideas that would go beyond recycling and create a curriculum. Abbe Futterman, the science teacher, was already growing vegetables and fruit in sawed-off pickle barrels right outside her classroom window, using the garden to teach plant science and nutrition. The kids tend it, and use the produce to cook food from around the world.

The Fifth Street Farm will be a much larger vegetable and fruit garden in planters raised above the roof on steel girders — not a classic green roof. The money has come from various government offices — those of Stringer, State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Council member Rosie Mendez. Douglas Fountain, an architect who is assisting the schools in implementing the construction (and a parent of a Tompkins Square Middle School student) said that it was designed to be easily replicable by other schools.

Is a green roof a good investment for a building owner? Perhaps, but the biggest reason might not be reduced energy costs — lots of factors affect a building’s energy use. More savings come from the fact that temperature swings make a black tar roof expand and contract. The smaller the spread, the longer the roof life. Roanoke, Va., for example, just installed a green roof on its municipal building, at a cost of $123,000, adding anywhere from 20 to 60 years to the life of the current roof membrane. “I personally believe a green roof is the last roof you’ll have to put on,” said Gaffin.

But any changes to a black tar roof are undoubtedly good investments for cities — indeed, interest in green roofs is soaring largely because of the sewage problem and the costs of trying to solve it the old way. New York City decided it was more cost effective to build green infrastructure, including green roofs, than to construct more sewer pipes or storage tanks, and it is spending $1.5 billion over the next 20 years on green projects that will reduce rainfall runoff. The goal is to cut sewer outflows by 40 percent by 2030.

“The good news is that this is a ‘no harm’ intervention,” said Carter Strickland, the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. “People want it; there’s a lot of other benefits. If at the end of the day it doesn’t do the full job, whatever you have to build on top will be much smaller and less expensive.”

To encourage building owners to install green roofs, New York City has a pilot program that will end next year offering a $4.50-per-square-foot tax abatement for green roofs that cover more than half a rooftop. (There are also tax abatements for solar-panel roofs.)

New York City was not one of the first American cities to promote green roofs. “But the city is doing quite well,” said Gaffin. “The green infrastructure plan is very ambitious.” The problem is that the little-by-little approach won’t produce real environmental benefits until they reach a critical mass, and that could take a long time. “We get biodiversity benefits from small scale greening, and individual building owners will get an energy benefit,” said Gaffin. “ But to make a difference to the city’s climate or hydrology we’d have to get up to 30, 40 or 50 percent coverage. What we have now is a drop in the bucket.”

(original post)