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Steal This Look: Midcentury Mod Townhouse Garden in Brooklyn


Steal This Look: Midcentury Mod Townhouse Garden in Brooklyn

April 22, 2016

Behind a Brooklyn townhouse, the client envisioned a simple gravel court, a seating area, and a low-maintenance garden. The design delivers that and more: espaliered flowering trees and mossy fairy rings.

The project by Brooklyn-based dlandstudio, cost under $50,000 and emphasized the re-use of onsite materials to limit the environmental impact of the new garden.

Photographs via dlandstudio except where noted.


Above: The sandstone color of the terrace complements the pea gravel, a permeable surface that covers an extensive sub-grade drainage system. Inspired weathered historic carriage horse rings embedded in the brick walls, dlandstudio echoed the circular shape with round garden beds, spherical sconces, and round planters.


Above: A set of two Biscayne Wire Chairs measuring 27 inches wide by 24 inches deep by 31.5 high is $625 from Iron Accents.


Above: The patio, laid out in a grid to echo the geometric shape of the window panes on the French doors, is constructed of Crab Orchard Flagstone pavers. Quarried from the Cumberland Plateau, the stone is a particularly hard, weather resistant variety of sandstone because it contains high concentrations of silica. For information and pricing, see Rocky Ridge.


Above: A white globe Dioscuri outdoor sconce from Artemide is available in four sizes; from $192.10 to $552.50 from Lighting Deluxe.


Above: Two Star Magnolia trees are espaliered against the walls; a 4- to 5-foot tree is $33.96 from Nature Hills. Magnolia stellata is a particularly diminutive variety, making it a good choice for a small garden. Photograph by Amy via Flickr.


Above: Photograph courtesy of Untied. Clumps of Irish moss grow in round beds bordered by flexible weathered steel lawn edging.


Above: Irish moss, which grows to a height of 1 inch, is often used as an edging plant; it tolerates part sun or shade. A pot of Sagina Subulata is $7.95 from Great Garden Plants.

For more ideas, see 10 Easy Pieces: The Most Magical Mosses.


Above: To create a permanent barrier around garden beds, flexible steel Everedge Lawn Edging has an interlocking system and can be bent to any shape; $125 for a 16-foot length of 5-inch high edging from Grandin Road.


Above: Pea gravel comes in a range of colors. (See Hardscaping 101: Pea Gravel for everything you ever wanted to know about this hardscape material.) Light colored stone, used in this project, has an environmentally friendly high albedo rating; it reflects sun and helps reduce temperatures, particularly in densely developed urban areas.. For more Decorative Gravel information and pricing, see The Stone Store.

For another Brooklyn backyard, see Steal This Look: Modern Townhouse Garden on a Budget.

N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published on April 17, 2013.

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Product summary  

Plants & Planters

Star Magnolia

$42.45 USD from Nature Hills Nursery

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