Landscape Design Award Winner
Green Island Design Receives 2015 Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association Award (LINLA) for Best In Landscape Design & Build
GOLD AWARD: Active Use Area Greater than 100k
From Manhasset to Infinity
The client requested a rectangular pool and spa with an automatic cover along with a cabana with an outdoor kitchen and bar, full bathroom with a shower, changing room, washer dryer and outdoor shower, all with the ability to operate the entire property from their smartphone. Before contacting our group, the client was unhappy with the initial design consultations they had received by others, as they had not addressed the grade changes on the property that our designers pointed out. This potential problem ended up having a dramatic effect on the scope of the project.
Some of the challenges we encountered were a 10 foot rear setback, a 20 foot side yard setback, an existing bluestone patio underneath an existing deck as well as a 3 foot height differential in the grade to an existing drywell. These conditions actually became the creative spark necessary to come up with the concept of using a full length 40 foot infinity edge pool to retain the sloping grade and allow for a multilevel viewing experience from every part of the yard.
The decision was made to transplant the existing arborvitae trees along the rear property line thereby allowing the site line and infinity edge to continue unending into the adjoining nature preserve’s woodlands and create the illusion of a much larger property.
Since the pool had to be fenced in as per code, we did not want the fence to define the property line as the arborvitaes had. Therefore, we located the fence at the lowest elevation possible and used indigenous plant material to buffer the transition between the property and woodland edge allowing the fence to virtually “disappear.”
The 24.5’ x 40’ gunite pool contains a unique 8’x 8’ custom spa with a handcrafted radial bullnose coping allowing for maximum comfort when leaning back and enjoying the powerful jets. A 32 foot long bench was installed inside the pool, letting swimmers rest and lounge in the sun while functioning as a safety buffer for small children. A major challenge was installing the automatic pool cover along the 40’ infinity edge. The cover is housed in the deep end of the pool under 24 inch wide Bluestone treads. The track for the cover needed to be installed precisely 3 inches below the infinity edge along the 40’ run to conceal it from view.
The pool, spa, and spill over trough sport five color changing LED lights as well as a salt water system.
Complimenting the pool’s 40 foot long infinity edge with imported mosaic glass tile, we placed an 8’ fire trough in a location so as to take advantage of the water cascading over the weir wall. The 96 inch ‘line of fire’ allowed for a larger area to gather around while keeping the scale in tune with the scale of the long water’s edge and sending a warm glow dancing off the glass tile. A radial Cast Stone patio was installed around the weir wall and fire trough allowing for a spectacular view from the surrounding Adirondack chairs.
Another element that helped define the expansive view was to elevate the hand-cut stacked bluestone retaining walls 3 feet higher than the pool and compliment this wall with pillars in order to provide a safe barrier from the sloping grade, as well as, frame the view from the walk-out basement. A low profile evergreen hedge and decorative glazed pottery softens the stone work and provides seasonal color.
The client requested a formal bluestone patio but was concerned with the heat from the full sun. We chose a Cast Stone paver which stays cool on the feet while preserving the formal look. The expansive patio provides ample room for multiple sets of chaise lounges and dining areas, along with a gas fire table positioned around a comfortable outdoor living room.
The custom cabana is outfitted with a wall-mounted flat screen TV, professional-grade Viking grill and exhaust hood, sink, ice machine and refrigerator — all highlighted with under counter LED tape lighting. The ceiling is tongue-in-groove Spanish Cedar and matches some of the exterior architectural features of the house. We used maintenance-free Azek material for all of the trim and posts, and carried the glass mosaic tile from the pool to the large backsplash. The outdoor shower and full indoor bathroom required heavy machinery in order to install the septic system into and already tight area deep into the woods.
Amongst the pool construction, drainage preparations and electrical work, we needed to route 250 linear feet of independent gas line to accommodate for the gas grill in the outdoor kitchen, the fire table at the patio level, the 8’ linear fire trough at the pool level, and the utilities in the bathroom.
We carefully planned the lighting scheme to allow the eye to fade into the distance of the nature preserve while actively lighting the pool and patio areas. Soft up-lighting highlights various specimens such as the Crape Myrtles ‘Muskogee’ and Clump River Birch.
A 10’ change of grade from the entrance of the backyard to the patio was one final challenge to be conquered as construction neared completion. We were forced to build a ramp out of the property and remove all heavy equipment and materials before we could build the entrance into the backyard. We then lowered 16 Cast Stone steps, by hand, into the back yard to build the staircase as well as all the plant material and growing medium. The result is an intimate entrance complimented with mixed perennials, evergreens, low-voltage path lighting, culminating into a custom grand arbor and gate.
This backyard is now a gathering spot for large functions as well as intimate time with the family, all while operating the entire property with the touch of a few buttons on their phone.
Green Island Design Receives 2015 Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association Award (LINLA)
GOLD AWARD: Front Entry Greater than 100k
A Water’s Welcome
As this was a new home built in a newer development where the overall majority of the properties were of a simpler landscape design, we were very excited to have the opportunity to create something for our clients that was unique and would stand out from the rest.
Initially, these homeowners requested a circular driveway for their front entrance. Due to onsite dimensions and budget restrictions we introduced a parking court concept allowing for greater maneuverability and a more memorable experience when approaching the front door.
The entrance to the driveway is flanked by two light pillars veneered in cultured stone highlighting the large herringbone paver street apron. We used a running bond pattern on the bordering inlays to suggest how visitors should enter and traverse the extensive driveway. The radial running bond pattern forced us to cut every paver, keeping all joints tight and consistent. This orientation offers visual cues for one to be led naturally to the home’s entrance and up to the front door.
As you enter the parking court the double-sided stone wall softens the appearance of the parked cars by recessing them visually into the landscape as the walls project up 2 feet from the site line from the street. The wall was set on a 3 foot depth frost footing reinforced with rebar and built out of concrete block, then veneered with Cambridge Ledge Stone. Two inch thick Bluestone treads were hand templated out of larger slabs to mimic the curvature of the stone wall. Three 36” tall consecutive light piers were built into the wall leading one to the front door.
Our concept was to use the front entrance as a usable secondary space between the street and the house to enjoy. You realize you’ve reached your destination when you are greeted by the three sheer descent pondless waterfalls with color changing LED lighting. These water features disappear into a trough and get recycled through a mere 10 inch wide stone wall. We felt it was important to incorporate a lawn area within the courtyard to expand and soften the feel of the space.
Initially the homeowner questioned whether the waterfalls should be facing the street so they could be viewed as one drives by rather than facing the interior of the home. The intimate “nook” we created convinced them they could enjoy the waterfalls from their front stoop on a daily basis, making this a very unique and functional space for the entire family.
A radial retaining wall was constructed which sweeps out from the corner of the home to counteract a grade change on the property. The wall continues the flow of the stone work throughout the property while supporting a robust Blue Spruce. This beautiful specimen tree distracts the eye from the neighbor’s home while walking up the driveway and up-lighting draws one’s attention inward.
The lighting scheme was developed to reinforce the directional design that we created. We highlighted all flowering trees with a high temperature bulb to reduce glare closer to the home which acts like a privacy screen from the surrounding streetlights and neighboring properties. A mixture of perennials, flowering shrubs and evergreens soften the intricate stone work and provide visual interest throughout all seasons. Three Crape Myrtle ‘Muskogee’ trees were chosen to frame the three sheer descent waterfalls while a combination of up-lighting and LED lighting shimmer off their leaves each evening.
This unique design is now changing the way other homeowners are visualizing their properties throughout the neighborhood while providing a stunning and interactive front entrance for this lucky family.
Green Island Design Receives 2014 Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association Award (LINLA) for Best In Landscape Design & Build
Category: Single Family Residence Greater than a 1/2 Acre
We encountered many challenges in accomplishing the transformation of this Old Westbury estate for the longtime residents:
- Redesign and completely refurbish the existing masonry patio and surround walls that were creating a constricting environment, and only offered limited space for proper entertaining.
- Marry a new patio, pool, and pool house, aesthetically, while maintaining the proper scale on the extensive property.
- Calculate load capacities, make drainage provisions, and design alternatives that would support the weight of the upper bluestone terrace, as it needed to be suspended above the underground garage below.
- Locate the new gunite pool far enough away from the raised bluestone terraces, that they may be viewed panoramically from anywhere inside the house.
- Locate the pool and cabana close enough to the house to keep that area from feeling disconnected and uninviting.
- Provide shade to the raised patio while keeping sight lines clear out to the pool and expansive property.
- Integrate traditional materials such as Danish brick and bluestone to add warmer colors and textures to the new pool patio.
Upon entry up the steps leading from the driveway, you are greeted with an impressive and expansive view of the entire property. The new lower bluestone terrace provides a much needed space for cozy seating around a Gas Fire Table. This area is defined and enhanced by a sweeping, circular bluestone inlay. The shape of the space allowed the designer to purposefully direct the orientation of the user towards the intended site lines.
Graceful radial steps lead to the upper bluestone dining terrace, where oversized Danish brick pillars provide a wonderful spot for seasonal planting displays; the decision to install pottery was a great alternative to pier lights, as the glare from these lights (especially at eye-level) would prevent the viewer from seeing anything in the distance, such as the pool area. Pillars and seat walls were designed to frame the majestic view of the gunite pool, spa, water features, and custom cabana.
This new bluestone dining patio culminates with a luxurious, 12 ft. tall outdoor wood-burning fireplace; meticulously veneered with a chiseled, stacked bluestone and contrasted with the simple clean lines of the bluestone trim work. To provide shade to this upper patio without obstructing views, we chose to plant three, 16 ft. Crape Myrtle “Muskogee” trees. The structure of the trees allows the canopy to provide filtered sunlight down onto the patio, while their actual trunk height maintains the important sight lines. The view from this elevated area onto the “Great Lawn” is now spectacular!
Drink in the view while stepping down the grand “wedding cake” staircase leading onto a warm, “Travertina” paver pool patio. The Old World charm of this material is befitting of this stately manor home, where one overlooks the 24 ft. x 46 ft. free-form gunite pool with radial fullnose bluestone coping.
The client had requested a water feature that was subdued, but dramatic. They also wanted a dive rock to be accessible for their small children. As our original design called for a continuous wall of water sweeping around the deep end, this would not provide a safe elevation for the children to jump off from. Therefore, we chose to breach the wall with the dive rock and create two separate water features. The stone veneer on the twin sheer waterfalls and spa seem to emanate from well below water level. We achieved this look by continuing the stonework 6” below the water level, beautifully using the reflection of the water to deepen the effect. Both water features, pool, and spa can be controlled separately using the home’s “Smart System,” while LED lighting illuminates each feature independently in a dazzling nighttime display.
New plantings were designed to cleverly transition with the existing woodland edge. We thickened up the screening by staggering both mature and juvenile evergreen trees of similar variety to create the feel that Mother Nature herself had a hand in the process. Colorful deciduous shrubs, mixed perennials and ornamental grasses highlight the various depths of this grand landscape. Groundcovers were used in areas such as the path to the dive rock where we used ‘Blue Pacific’ Juniper and Geranium ‘Rozanne.’ In addition, we decided to hug this bluestone stepping stone path with a carpet of Ajuga ‘Burgundy Glow,’ which we chose as an alternative to mulch in order to naturally keep feet clean when entering the pool. For this dramatic area behind the pool, three, 14 ft. ‘Thundercloud’ Plum trees were selected to provide a colorful backdrop throughout Spring, Summer and Fall. These large, specimen trees were hand dug so as not to disturb the elaborate underground highway of pool and electrical piping.
Cited at the rear of the property to keep the great scale in balance, is the custom built cabana and pool house displaying fine architectural details and stonework, stained cedar ceiling and elaborate gabling that mirror the home’s design. It boasts an outdoor kitchen and 9 ft. trapezoidal bar. This shape allows users on the far ends of the bar to see and communicate with one another, and feel like they’re part of the experience. The cabana includes: HDTV, indoor bathroom and shower, changing room, outdoor shower in the rear, and a highly developed lighting sequence. Now this big family — who loves to entertain — has everything they need to live their outdoor lifestyle to perfection!
Sports are another activity important to them, so along with the new basketball court, a meticulously groomed, 5-hole synthetic turf putting green with authentic sand bunkers was professionally installed. As per the homeowner’s request, we strategically placed nine, 10 ft. Arborvitae Plicata “Green Giant” for the golf enthusiast who may have a bad slice every now and then.
With expertise and patience, our professional approach overcame the complexities this design-build project demanded, and we are very proud to have had the opportunity to transform the landscape into a paradise for these appreciative homeowners!