Garden Design Ideas: A Sleek, Low Maintenance Brooklyn Garden

Low-maintenance and user-friendly, this 20-foot-wide backyard garden, built and planted by Brook Landscape of Crown Heights, proves that garden design doesn’t need to be complex to be successful. “You don’t need a ton of ingredients to make a great meal,” says Brook Klausing, who founded the design / build company in 2007 with Brian Green, architect and fellow Kentuckian.

There wasn’t much to work with when they arrived at the scene – just “weeds and dirt,” Klausing said. An existing bay window and minimalist steel staircase from Brooklyn-based architects vonDALWIG, who oversaw previous interior renovations, suggested the garden’s Modernist style.

The Brook Landscape team began by pruning some of the overhanging trees from the neighbors and excavating the soil near the house to create a basement patio. They built an elevated deck of ipe, a highly weather-resistant Brazilian hardwood, and surrounded the yard with cedar fencing with horizontal slats.

Find your inspiration for Brooklyn design

The range of plants is limited for design simplicity and ease of maintenance. There are classic rows of charms on three sides of the courtyard; topiary boxwood balls in front and behind; early-flowering hellebores that like shade around the perimeter of the garden; and a pink flowering kousa dogwood, underplanted with rosemary, in a raised central bed.

A hidden soaking system takes care of the irrigation.

Klausing sees many city gardens so heavily planted that there is “only one driveway and a little seating area,” with hardly any space left for family use or for entertaining. “We are always looking for the right balance between usable space and horticulture,” he said. “I like this garden because it is open and spacious, with nicely partitioned rooms for different functions. But we have always allowed various and layered plantings and let the garden be a garden. “

Brooklyn Brook Landscape Garden Design Ideas Midwood

Boxwood balls soften the rear foundation and emphasize the large bay window overlooking the garden.

Brooklyn Brook Landscape Garden Design Ideas Midwood

Mondo grass in front of the boxwood requires no mowing. A potted fig tree has its own lighting.

The richly veined marble pavers, placed in gravel for easy drainage, were imported from Turkey. “We thought it would be fun to do something textured,” Klausing said. “It’s really vibrant when it rains.

Brooklyn Brook Landscape Garden Design Ideas Midwood

Brooklyn Brook Landscape Garden Design Ideas Midwood

At nightfall, lights around the perimeter of the garden give a glow to the upright trunks of the charms.

The curved Loop chairs, in lightweight cement, are a 1954 design by Willy Guhl, still in production.

The dining table and benches are a vintage find, with classic French bistro chairs from Fermob for additional seating.

[Photos by Anna Shive]

The Insider is Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth review of a remarkable interior design / remodel project, and The Outsider is an occasional garden design series, by a design journalist. Cara Greenberg. Find The Insider here every Thursday morning. Do you have a project for The Insider? Contact Cara at caramia447 [at] Gmail [dot] com.

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