Ecology + Design

Our Top Sustainable Landscape Design & Build Projects of 2021 | Westchester, Fairfield & Putnam Counties

2021 was a historic year for Green Jay Landscape Design in terms of our growth as a landscape design & build business and our direction towards larger-scale, longer-term, bigger-impact projects. We are incredibly grateful for our passionate clients that enable us to actualize our dream job every day, working with nature to design resilient landscape environments that face the ecological problems of today and tomorrow head on. In celebration of all we accomplished last year, we’re rounding up our Top Sustainable Landscape Design & Build Projects of 2021! These properties span from smaller suburban lots to expansive estates across Westchester and Putnam Counties, New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut.

A designed faux-meadow next to an established wet meadow.

#1 Estate-Scale Private Nature Sanctuary | Greenwich, CT

Our favorite landscape design of 2021 was also the largest, most impactful project we’ve completed to date. We converted this Greenwich estate to an ecological haven, with dozens of designed micro-habitats stitched together to create a productive landscape that fulfills many ecosystem services.

Long-blooming perennials along the pool area border for color all summer long.

It was also designed to engage the whole family, from woodland garden stroll paths to multi-colored pollinator gardens along the pool.

Classic coneflower – a native plant icon that is a favorite of butterflies and goldfinches!

As usual, our emphasis on native plants provides multiple functions: pollen and nectar for pollinators, berries, seeds and nesting materials for birds, evaporative cooling, stormwater absorption, and carbon sequestration, to name a few.

This client was a true joy to work with.  Here’s what they thought about working with GJL:

“Jay and his team created the most beautiful pollinator pathway garden design for our 5 acre property that has brought our property to life! Jay is a wealth of knowledge and has educated us on the value of organic practices and diversification of native species to best support the ecosystem. It has been a rich and FUN experience working with Jay and his team! They are professional, timely, and deeply connected to their mission of creating native landscapes. I highly recommend working with Jay and is team.” – Google Review

Read all the Fairfield County, CT project details here.

#2 Natural, Sustainable Front Entrance Landscaping: Custom Stone Masonry & Shade Habitat Garden | Cold Spring, NY

Beneath mature trees and overlooking a stunning lake, this Cold Spring, NY property needed a landscape design master plan to sort out circulation paths tying multiple dwellings together. We designed the sustainable landscape design planting plan to nestle into the mature woodland like it had always been there, extending the understory habitat to the home’s foundation and around the new natural stone walkways.

Over the summer we completed phase one of this project, resurfacing the boathouse’s rooftop patio, constructing several natural stone staircases to navigate the hillside and lakefront, and creating a new patio in front of the boathouse from optimal viewing.

The next phase on the project will be to landscape the guest house and connect it to the main dwelling with natural stone walkways. We’re excited to continue working with these clients!

Here’s how they described their experience with GJL in a google review:

I have only great things to say about our experience with Green Jay Landscape Design. They are incredibly knowledgeable, professional, and inspired, and it has been a pleasure to work with them. We are currently in the middle of a very large, multi-stage project as they are redesigning our property. They put together a thoughtful design that is perfect for the setting. The scope of the job involves lots of hardscape work with stone steps– which they are masters at creating– and many areas of native plantings, which they have expert knowledge of. Their design has transformed the whole space, while also making it look like it completely belongs in the natural setting. Each step of the way they have been attentive, detail-oriented, and easy to work with. The results, thus far, have surpassed our expectations and we are looking forward to our continued work with the team!”

Read all about the Putnam Valley, NY project here.

#3 Contemporary Ecological Landscape Master Plan ft. Pool, Foundation Plantings & Meadow Restoration | Darien, CT

We were certainly inspired by the clean, modern architecture of this Darien, CT home, and let that aesthetic inform our susatainable landscape design Master Plan. For example, the pool area features a hedge of fuzzy ornamental grasses and bold hydrangea blossoms – low-maintenance plants that provide form, texture, and color all summer long.

For the front yard, we transplanted river birch trees from the central driveway bed (where they obscured the house) to the rear foundation where they welcomed some afternoon shade and bring height to the pool landscaping. We then replanted the driveway bed with pollinator-attracting native perennials and more ornamental grasses.

Other highlights of the project included the organic meadow restoration, a natural stone outdoor staircase (complete with ‘steppable’ groundcover) and refreshed foundation plantings.

Read all about the Fairfield County, CT project here.

#4 Terraced, Erosion-Proof Woodland Landscape | Lake Peekskill, NY

We got to flex many parts of our design & build brain for this project —  a steep, lakefront hillside that required extensive erosion control planning.  The design itself, a series of terraced gardens and woodchip walkways, helps to slow down stormwater and allow it to infiltrate into the soil instead of funneling away as runoff. Beneath the terraces lies a series of erosion control devices from compostable filtrexx socks to line the terraces, to the custom engineered soil (specified to maintain the integrity of the slope), and the biodegradable jutte netting we planted into. Days after we completed the install, a massive storm moved through. When we inspected the property after the storm, even the wood chip mulch paths remained flawlessly in place. Success! A truly sustainable landscape design!

What was once an unusable, messy slope is now a thriving understory habitat. The network of pathways gives the feeling of a private nature preserve right outside your doorway.

In the words of the client from a Google Review:

Jay designed a beautiful garden for my old lake house. It had endured decades of neglect and a steep slope had frustrated all my attempts at planting and improvement. A few weeks of work by Jay’s team transformed my yard into a paradise. Boulders, trees, bushes, flowers, and paths for a peaceful stroll are now my paradise. And… I do not have to see my neighbor now! It was a pleasure to have him and his team around. We celebrated with lunch, drinks, and guitar playing when all was done. Thanks Jay!”

#5 New American Parterre Garden | South Salem, NY

This project was such a nice change of pace for us! The client requested a French / Italian parterre style garden, with a Green Jay twist of course! We used the framework of the parterre stye – symmetrical, angular garden beds – but planted it with a more naturalistic, wild, and ecologically beneficial design. We blendned native plants with heirloom European varieties, but always kept attractiveness to birds and pollinators at front of mind.

Read all the Westchester County, NY project details here.

#6 Edible Front Yard Permaculture Garden & Chicken Enclosure | Darien, CT

A front yard permaculture garden with free-range chickens is unconventional, but we love that! With impeccable fence construction by Salem Fence enclosing the front yard, we could get extra creative with the landscape design within.  We incorporated edible vegetables, herbs, and fruiting shrubs into the garden border, interspersed with the ornamental natives.

Read all about this Fairfield County, CT project here.

#7 Bright & Easy, Low-Maintenance Landscape | Hartsdale, NY

Low maintenance, high impact. Two goals for this Hartsdale, NY lot that received a Landscape Design Master Plan and timely install in early spring of 2021. We expanded the front yard garden terrace, adding another terrace and replanted with colorful long-blooming perennials.

We constructed a berm encircling the border of the property and planted with native trees and shrubs that effectively screen the neighbors’ houses and (more importantly) provide cover, nesting materials, and berries for local birds. New natural stone stepping stones set in gravel connect the front and backyards.

Read all the Westchester County, NY project details here.

Contact us to schedule your ecological landscape design consultation!

Now accepting clients for 2022 designs, landscape construction, and eco-consulting.

Green Jay Landscape Design

Where Design Meets Ecology

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