Tag Archive for Urban Landscape Design New York

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.

Making Walls Bloom May Be Key To Sustaining The Renaissance Of America’s Best Cities

The stock market may be booming but the continuation of America’s urban renaissance could well depend, surprisingly, on flowers.

Not just blooming gardens in parks and along boulevards but also in year-round planted walls. In other words, living walls or, as the New York Times headlined the phenomena, “Gardens That Grow On Walls” with products from companies like LiveWall, LLC, located not far from Grand Rapids.

This year the first of the 86-million strong Millennials generation turns thirty. And because they will begin seeking greener and more serene space and an escape from urban noise and air pollution, demographers are predicting a reverse flight to the suburbs of up to twenty-five percent of these highly desirable residents. With them would go a big chunk of these cities’ tax bases.

For more than a decade, America’s best cities have ridden a population boom of young people fueled by hip coffee shops, ubiquitous WiFi, abundant office space, good public transportation, performance centers and a new generation of lofts and other cool living spaces.

The aggregation of all of these factors lured young entrepreneurs into the cities followed by the highly educated and technically astute employees who support them. Owning a car proved unnecessary if you live in downtown Denver, Dallas, Austin, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Boston or Washington, D.C. This savings permits these knowledge workers instead to purchase smart phones, tablets, sophisticated applications and other must-have tools of the tech-savvy.

No surprise that instead of forsaking the intellectual hot houses found in today’s best cities and submitting to time-wasting suburban commutes, some Millennials are addressing their concerns for stress reduction, better breathing, and greener lifestyles by erecting a vertical garden, both inside and outside of their urban residences and offices. In other words, they are making their beloved cities bloom.

“LiveWall makes a vertical garden that may be securely attached to both indoor and outdoor walls,” explains David S. MacKenzie, CEO of the 115-acre greenhouse empire that distributes everything one needs for a thriving, year-round living wall through a national dealer network. LiveWall is a sister company to LiveRoof, LLC, from which MacKenzie helped drive the green roof revolution across the US in the 21st Century.

MacKenzie studied an array of rush-to-market products and the rows of dead flower boxes that some competitors produced. Instead, LiveWall has made today’s best living wall designs easy-to-install, low maintenance, sustainable and durable. MacKenzie’s green wall designs even perform carefully metered self-watering, enabling their owners to travel without fear that their plants will die. A planted wall’s contributions to heating and cooling energy reduction, better breathing, and mental and physical health are heralded monthly across lifestyle, health and medical publications and by television programs like The Today Show.

“With our living wall, you can mix ornamentals for color and patterns and delightful aromas, but you can also grow herbs so that anyone who cooks can boast of a year-round gourmet kitchen,” MacKenzie says, “enabling downtown restaurants and loft dwellers alike to serve savory dishes at every meal.

“It’s the perfect answer for those people who love living and working downtown and don’t want to spend 15 hours a week commuting in a car. One look and people are intrigued,” MacKenzie reports. “What persuades them are LiveWall’s contributions to thermal insulation, noise and stress reduction, and the sheer natural beauty it is possible to create even in a few hundred feet of living space.

“People in technology talk constantly about tech transfer,” MacKenzie observes. “LiveWall is making it possible for these same people to engage in ‘green transfer,’ in other words, bringing the health-giving qualities of natural plants right into their urban homes and offices.

“Of course the low cost of installation and maintenance are compelling, too,” MacKenzie adds.

“And who wouldn’t forgo an expensive and exhausting commute with its plume of carbon emissions for that?” he asks.


Vine Line: Architect Wants to Blanket West Side Highway in Leafy Trellises and Waterfalls

the vine lineLaurence Tamaccio’s tale is one that many New Yorkers will be able to relate to. The architect lives near Riverside Park South, which he feels is a generally aesthetically pleasing area except for the unsightly figure of the West Side Highway slicing between the neighborhood and the Hudson River.

Tamaccio has come up with a novel solution that he feels would turn the eyesore into a source of pride for the whole community. Called the Vine Line, the proposal entails blanketing the side of the highway with leafy vertical ivy gardens and waterfalls to unite it with the adjacent park.

Tamaccio is currently petitioning his neighborhood to get behind his vision. If you would like to see the Vine Line come to fruition, sign the petition here.

(read more here)

Greening Built Environments


Built environments bring with them many detrimental consequences including high energy costs for heating and cooling, hard surfaces that contribute to higher city temperatures, stormwater runoff, degraded air quality and noise. However, emerging technology is turning many buildings green with significant human and environmental benefits.

During the past few years there has been a trend towards greening built environments, transforming office spaces and walls into living vegetation. Referred to as greenwalls, living walls, biowalls and vertical gardens, they are either free-standing or part of a building, that is partially or completely covered with vegetation. Many greenwalls use innovative hydroponics technology. These building adaptations are designed to mimic the growing conditions found where greenwalls occur in nature.

The concept of greenwalls dates back to 600 BC with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. And now they are making a comeback to green city buildings. Interior and exterior greenwalls can now be found in airports, shopping centres, office buildings and homes around the world, including New York, Montreal, Chicago, Mexico City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Australia.

From a practical point of view, greenwalls reduce building temperatures, and help alleviate ‘sick building syndrome’ (SBS), which is related to poor indoor air quality. However, the immediate benefit of a greenwall is its incredible beauty, bringing the outside inside for building occupants. Greenwalls are also said to improve property values!

Internationally, the trend towards ‘greening’ buildings is gaining momentum. Green roofs not only radically reduce stormwater runoff and therefore the cost of disposal, they also provide greater insulation for a building, prolong the life of the roof membrane and reduce noise penetration.

They are also great to look at and use, increasing the worth of the real estate they are on and viewed by.

KOKOBO GREENSCAPES uses award-winning design techniques, passion and expertise in horticulture in residential and commercial projects to bring greenwalls to a new level of integration within the built environment.

(original source)