ISSUE 75  |  Travels with an Editor: Paris

The Garden Designer Is In: Kim Hoyt Architecture/Landscape

June 08, 2013 4:10 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

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This week, Kim Hoyt and Evelyn Zornoza of Kim Hoyt Architecture/Landscape (members of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory) discuss a garden renovation with a new deck and two-story steel arbor. For the next 48 hours, Hoyt and Zornoza will be available to answer your questions. Take advantage in the comments section below.  

In the backyard of their historic Brooklyn brownstone, Hoyt’s clients needed to replace an existing wood deck and stair (they were falling apart, combustible, and illegal) and wanted to add a garden. They imagined their deck and garden as becoming a natural extention of their interior living spaces, so they chose Kim Hoyt, a registered architect and a landscape architect, to design the architectural structures and the surrounding landscape. To make a seamless transition between indoors and out, Hoyt used many of the same materials in both spaces and replicated some of the brownstone’s more dramatic interior features outdoors.

Have a question for Kim or Evelyn? Ask away in the comments section.  

Photography by Dan Wonderly

Above: A new two-story arbor binds the levels of this small garden together. The airy steel structure supports a deck, stairs, lighting, and wisteria.

Above: The designers needed to replace their client’s deteriorated wood deck with a non-combustible steel structure. The deck’s wood flooring is not structural and is removable if necessary.

Above: Hoyt set the height of the steel arbor to match the height of the brownstone’s interior ceiling, so the deck feels like an extension of the indoor parlor space. 

Above: The generous height of the arbor allows the deck to feel open while maintaining the requisite privacy and sun protection. The arbor also frames views of the garden.

Above: The backyard features a generous amount of wood–all ipe–in the deck, stair, handrail, and fencing. The exterior wood echoes the interior woodwork and floors, and the owners routinely oil the exterior wood to keep its color and finish close to that of the interior.

Above: The steel arbor descends to carry floating stair treads to the lower level. 

Above: The garden is paved with natural cleft bluestone tile with small slate mosaic tile in the joints. The new fence defines the boundaries of the garden and is softened by garden plantings. 

Above: The arbor and garden were completed in 2005, but the designers waited to photograph until October 2012 (the photos shown here) and again in May 2013 (with wisteria in bloom) to allow the garden to mature. The wisteria vine now covers the steel arbor.

Above: By widening the back stair, Hoyt created an inviting place to sit and linger. Here, the homeowner and her dog next to wisteria trailing down the stairs. 

Above: Hoyt designed the rear stair to echo the dimensions of the front stoop, typical of a Brooklyn brownstone. The client and her gardener, Michele Paladino of Gowanus Nursery, select seasonal plantings for the pots in front. 

Above: Hamamelis “Jelena” espalier (witch hazel) and Chinese virginia creeper. Over the years the clients and their gardener have allowed the garden to evolve and to reveal which plants will thrive here. 

Above: The homeowners inherited a beautiful fieldstone perimeter garden wall, which surrounds new terraced planting beds made of fieldstone sourced to match. The designers selected plants for interesting shapes and texture rather than bright colors or blooms, allowing the wisteria to be the star of the show in spring. Here, corydalis lutea and sedum.

Above: Evelyn Zornoza and Kim Hoyt.

The designers are available to answer your questions for the next 48 hours. Take advantage in the comments section, below.