This quiet courtyard is a relaxing green space nestled in the heart of midtown Manhattan.
The streetside sanctuary has unique maintenance needs, which are provided by John Mini Distinctive Landscapes. The company inherited the project in 2013 when the firm was tapped to take over maintaining the space. “There’s nothing too fancy with the irrigation system,” says Andrew Sliwa, director of outdoor. “It’s simply four zones of drip tubing that lie horizontally on top of each panel.”
The biggest challenge is the hydrophobic soil. To combat this problem and ensure water is evenly distributed, the company injects surfactants into the system with a Dosatron. Despite cold winter temperatures and a chilling wind-tunnel effect, the system is not winterized. The wall dries out quickly in the winter months, so the system must be kept active to keep the plants healthy.
The system’s copper and PVC piping components are located in a heated room. Only flexible pipe is exposed to the elements. If temperatures stay above 50 degrees F for several days in the winter, the company will soak the plant material.
The project earned John Mini Distinctive Landscapes a 2018 Gold Award from the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Awards of Excellence program.
Minimalist design requires precision and discipline to ensure a cohesive Zen-like experience. More naturalistic designs can conceal or even feature plants with flaws, but here the team must analyze and assess each plant from multiple angels to ensure no leave has been left behind that might distract the eye.
The skeleton of the wall during installation. The system’s irrigation is provided by four zones of drip tubing that lie horizontally on top of each panel.
Once the system’s skeleton was complete, the team installed plant material into each panel, using alternating colors and textures.
The biggest challenge is the hydrophobic soil.
Despite cold winter temperatures and a chilling wind-tunnel effect, the system is not winterized.
Public spaces require unique maintenance demands, including caution when inspecting beds for potentially hazardous refuse.
Reflection and subtle combination of foliage design demands flawless maintenance for dynamic, but clean, presentation that reveals detail upon exploration while not overpowering other design components.
Water adds marvelous motion, sound and integration to the design, as well as added maintenance challenges for accessing the fountain planters.
Color blocking achieves a contemporary organization of plants for a fascinating, but not over stimulating garden experience. The specific variety requirements are attended by horticulturalists to ensure the edges read cleanly and celebrate the design’s successful combination of foliage color, size and textures.
The linear configuration of the park provides a variety of experiences, but also channels the wind in the winter, which strains even the hardiest of plants.
The site’s pervasive shade conditions provide a maintenance challenge even from one end of the green wall to the other, where fluctuations of reflective light can alter growing conditions.