Ecology + Design

Summer Poolscape with Native Plants| Landscape Design in Mamaroneck, NY

Sometimes you walk onto a property and wonder how it possibly came to be designed, built and maintained to its current state.  That was the case at this property in Mamaroneck, which had a picket fence encircling the small pool area, disrupting sight views from the house and all other areas of the backyard.  Instead of seeing the calming, serene pool, you ended up staring at the pickets!  The space felt unnecessarily small and contained, and circulation from the covered pavilion area to the pool area was completely disrupted. Not to mention, every corner of the yard was flanked by a shed. Why so many sheds?!

Ecological Landscaping | Westchester, NY

We were hired by the new homeowners for a complete Landscape Master Plan and installation.   The inspiration for the design concept was a modern, coastal aesthetic, reflected in a plant pallet heavy on ornamental grasses and summer-blooming perennials. We named the design “Coastal Groove Living.”

Whatever our age, when it comes to poolside, we have the chance to put our adult worries aside and lose ourselves for a moment at play. Whether we are active or relaxing, there is certainly a unique feeling associated with the pool and patio experience.

In my opinion, what contributes to the feeling of summer fun and relaxation is the sight of wild grasses blowing in the breeze. Kind of conveys that seashore look and feel.  Add the motion of the birds, bees and butterflies above the cheerful, bright colors of native perennials and long blooming hydrangea and your poolside landscape summer garden is complete. It’s good to have shade nearby in the form of canopy of trees or pergola.
This is really having your cake and eating it too!

Other existing challenges included two antiquated wells, an unsightly swing and dated light pole fixtures, all to be demo’d, carted, and capped with cement.  Salem Fence installed a lovely fence and gate to enclose the backyard entirely, improving sight and circulation immensely.  There were still some awkward areas, however, particularly around the driveway, whose corners jutted awkwardly into circulation areas.  Our mason, Aztaln, removed two corners of asphalt and Belgium Block and rounded the new edges to create a more comfortable walking area.

In the North corner of the backyard, we demo’d a shed and planted a White Pine to fill the gap and blend with the existing rear row of White Pines.  The driveway on the South side, engulfing a mature Red Maple in its asphalt moat, created an awkward, unusable space between the maple’s roots and the concrete grilling area just beyond the driveway.  Given the close proximity to the neighbor’s house, we opted to plant a 10-12’ Red Maple in a large container.  The end result successfully screened the neighbor’s garage and filled an empty void with an ecologically beneficial choice.

The narrow west side of the property received a demolition and drainage face lift (minus one decrepit well and moldy walkway, plus one cultek and stormwater management system).  We planted the area with native shade ground covers and ferns, a planting pallet that continues into the front west side.  A new square bluestone pathway links back to front from the front entry walk.

On the East side of the property, an existing narrow planting bed screamed for color and year-round foliage interest.  We planted the front half on the driveway with a mix of deciduous and evergreen shrubs, and the back half of the driveway with summer blooming perennials. This pop of color directly compliments the Summer garden just opposite, at the far end of the pool.

The finishing touches were a revamped curbside bed, an enlarged hosta/shade garden, and the substitution of old, dusty foundation Yews with Annabelle Hydrangea. Along the way we learned the 100-year-old water main from the street to the house had to be replaced (oh the joys of homeownership).  One new water main, relocated mailbox, and reseeded lawn later…and the front yard is wildly improved. A modest glimpse of what’s to find in the back…but that’s the way we like it!

Jay Archer

President, Landscape Ecologist

Green Jay Landscape Design



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