The Merz House garden is a retreat for a young family newly inhabiting this concrete-clad jewel box home designed by architects Joseph and Mary Merz in the late modernist era in Brooklyn Heights on a rare double-wide lot.The garden's reimagining was designed to reorient the home and the exterior deck towards a central verdant courtyard, unlocking new views and connections between the two. The new design updates the rear deck with an outdoor living and dining area and situates new programs such as fire pit, cedar hot tub, and cold plunge nestled amongst new trees and planting in the reopened center. The new courtyard features a central patio made up of square basalt cobbles, selected to evoke the repeating concept of the square found in the house’s design. The scattered paver pathways have an ephemeral quality through the courtyard, intentionally breaking the rigidity of the grid.
The planting design reinforces the idea of reorientation to the center. Denser and darker trees and shrubs, such as Hollywood Junipers and Winterberry Holly, line the perimeter of the space and define the more open center. Lower shrubs, grasses and perennials, such as Autumn Moor Grass, Prairie Dropseed, Foxgloves, Anemones, Actaea, Echinacea, and Pee Wee Hydrangea Pee amongst other dappled sun-loving selections, are paired with the open form of Multi-stem Grey Birches, guaranteeing continuous views from the deck to the home.
Photo: Adrian Gaut
Photo by Nishiel Patel
Photo by Nishiel Patel
A garden for intergenerational living (shared by a designer / architect and many families)in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. This garden was designed to be a a backbone for constant change and stewardship by the owners over time. A garden meant to feel endless with spaces to discover. The light of a frothy palette (anemone, fennel, meadow rue, hibiscus, rose, with shade tolerant sedges and bugloss) dances on reflective metal. The serrated edges of the limestone pavers disappear over time.
Completed in 2021
Architecture by soft-firm
A brownstone garden for a textile designer’s family and tenants in Park Slope. The checkerboard paving, made of alternating thermaled bluestone and limestone, was selected to achieve a playful pattern while maintaining order and manageability. Specimen and evergreen planting is selected to maintain fanciful seasonal interest, even in the depths of winter, and a visual tableau from the deck above. Year round programming for dining, cooking, reading, and sitting by a fire was accommodated within distinct held spaces.
Photo: Reed Young
Completed in 2023
Installed by Brooklyn Grange