Gorgeous Shelter Island Gardens

Landscape designer Vickie Cardaro shares her stunning designs for seaside properties in the northeast.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Buttercup Design Group/Photo by Vickie Cardaro

Photo By: Image courtesy of Buttercup Design Group/Photo by Vickie Cardaro

Photo By: Image courtesy of Buttercup Design Group/Photo by Vickie Cardaro

Photo By: Image courtesy of Buttercup Design Group/Photo by Vickie Cardaro

Photo By: Image courtesy of Buttercup Design Group/Photo by Vickie Cardaro

Photo By: Image courtesy of Buttercup Design Group/Photo by Vickie Cardaro

Photo By: Image courtesy of Buttercup Design Group/Photo by Vickie Cardaro

Photo By: Image courtesy of Buttercup Design Group/Photo by Vickie Cardaro

Photo By: Image courtesy of Buttercup Design Group/Photo by Vickie Cardaro

Photo By: Image courtesy of Buttercup Design Group/Photo by Vickie Cardaro

Photo By: Image courtesy of Buttercup Design Group/Photo by Vickie Cardaro

Seaside Serenity

This wide open view from a renovated Shelter Island beach house is enhanced by the artful combination of blue dune grass (Leymus arenarius), Festuca 'Elijah Blue', Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ and pink muhlenbergia, native trees and hardscapes of crushed clamshells, concrete rounds and composite decking.

The Green Room

A metal sculpture on a small sand dune stands out in a lush green space of prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepsis) and autumn olives (Elaeagnus umbellata), river birch (Betula nigra) and bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea) on the Shelter Island property of Simon Doonan and Jonathan Adler. 

Salt-Tolerant Splendor

Landscape designer Vickie Cardaro of Buttercup Design Group uses earthy accents like rocks, dune grasses, crushed clamshells, salt-tolerant artemisia ‘Silver Brocade,’ Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima) and other vegetation to celebrate the natural beauty of the island topography.

Sparse Yet Elegant

A minimalist approach to an interior courtyard results in a zen-like retreat where a Japanese red maple (Acer bloodgood) becomes the focal point and an espalier green apple tree, carney rock and crushed gravel add to the austere beauty of the space.

Shapes and Textures

This side garden outside the master bedroom of a Shelter Island beach home is an enticing mixture of handmade concrete stepping stones, boulders, crushed clamshells, cement planters and a variety of succulent ground covers surrounding a specimen ‘Banshoho’ dwarf Japanese black pine, Hollywood junipers and blueberries.

Beatific Border

A classic green lawn is decorated with a circular bed of Mexican feather grass and border plantings of ‘Sum & Substance’ hosta, variegated red twig dogwood, hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’ and a specimens dwarf Japanese maple.

Massachusetts Import

A closeup view of the crushed mahogany Quadhog clamshells from Massachusetts that landscape designer Vickie Cardaro uses as a textural ground cover in the manner of a painter or sculptor yet they serve a practical purpose as well.

The Path Less Taken

An almost hidden trail of circular concrete steps leads down to the seashore from the renovated beach home of Simon Doonan and Jonathan Adler. The sand dunes did not exist on the property until the Buttercup Design Group installed them for aesthetic beauty and storm-surge protection.

Natural Harmony

A mix of Korean boxwoods, variegated red twig dogwood, variegated caryopteris, fountain grass (pennisetum alop.), carex ‘Silver Scepter,’ and blue shore juniper are integrated into a colorful organic border which provides a magnificent contrast against the bleaching oil-stained pool fence.

Classic Crush

The entrance to this Shelter Island home foregoes the usual hardscape approach to driveways and opts instead for the more visually pleasing look of crushed gravel with borders of Spirea napponica ’Snowmound’ and ‘Van Houttei,’ sea green junipers and autumn olives.

A Foggy Day

A light fog envelops the coast along Shelter Island, creating a mystical atmosphere that brings out the natural beauty of the landscape.