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Upper East Side Native Garden

The playful geometry of the design allows for ‘peak and reveal’ views of the garden while on the terrace, but also from the interior windows. We softened the geometry with beautiful large round organic pots. These accent pots help fill voids while not disguising the geometry. We also installed a low cable rail fence, with virgina creeper, to act as a cat deterrent for leaping after a bird off the terrace.

We developed a planting palette that would not only stimulate the cats but would create 4 season interest for all of New York City’s wildlife. We started with a base plant palette that included valerian, mint, two varieties of nepeta and cat grass. The grasses were particularly vital to add movement to the garden, but also for the cats to chew and play with.

Our design challenges including finding healthy native specimen trees and plantings. Often in the nursery trade we rely on ornamentals or hybrids. Our client was adamant that the plantings should be native to support the wildlife and bring butterflies, caterpillars, bees and birds. Ornamentals, while they attract wildlife, do not create the same fruitful ecosystem as a native species. We learned that growers in our area did not put much effort into cultivating natives or healthy specimen plantings. Nonetheless, after planting we learned that the cats love playing and exploring the garden and there is already evidence of new caterpillars roaming the leaves!