Inspiring City Gardens
Tour some of designer Brook Klausing's favorite urban gardens. He's known for his sophisticated blend of indoor and outdoor aesthetics.
Tribecca Roof Design
Rectangular planters help provide privacy to this long, wrap-around terrace in Tribecca. Designer Brook Klausing says the plants help give a sense of movement while keeping the view of the Hudson River open and unobstructed.
Regal Garden Design
Brook Klausing describes this garden, at a private residence, as "classic, regal and traditional." Symmetrical boxwoods border the red brick center with bluestone caps.
You might not guess that this courtyard sits atop the roof of 10-story urban building. Klausing designed it to have an organic, "been-there" feel, using a customized stone wall and limestone. The deck is inlaid Ipe, an exotic wood from South and Central America. "The plantings were kept very soft and loose to take away any sense of being strict," he says. An ornamental, salvaged architectural piece hides in the garden bed. This design is still in progress, Klausing adds; furniture is on the way.
Recessed Patio at Night
Brooklyn-based landscape architect Brook Klausing specializes in garden design services for country estates, townhouses, brownstones and other urban, outdoor living spaces. For this recessed patio, the Kentucky native used reclaimed wood from the Coney Island boardwalk. A pendant lamp hangs from a tree over the seating area.
Patio Garden Lighting
This close-up view of the recessed patio shows how hidden lighting adds a soft glow. The lights also reveal the beautiful textures of the stacked stones.
Bamboo in the Garden
Klausing selected bamboo for these blackened steel planters, installed on the lower level of a private residence. The fast-growing plants provide privacy, while the planters keep the aggressive roots from spreading out of control. His firm, Brook Landscape, also added the bluestone patio, boxwoods and grasses.
Fire Escape Garden
Klausing added custom decking to dress up this tiny fire escape in New York. Bamboo helps hide the surrounding ironwork, while small, potted plants keep the space feeling "tight and petite," he says. A leggy Japanese maple fills a corner, while Virginia creeper tumbles gracefully over the railings.
Brook Landscape designed this rooftop garden, atop the Ford Models building in New York, to mimic an "old, rich, European feeling," says Klausing. The herringbone deck, concrete planters filled with feathery grasses that move in the wind, and architectural pieces, which feature rams' heads, look as if they're original to the building. The tree in the foreground is a birch with attractive, peeling bark.
Dining in the Garden
A stone wall surrounds this recessed patio, which is topped by a triangular cedar pergola. There's a wrap-around, raised planter, filled with English ivy and other greenery, behind the wall. Guests can relax on the cantilever bench while the owner fires up the outdoor smoker (under the black cover).
In this close-up view of the recessed patio, a blackened steel planter holds Pieris japonica, black mondo grass and ajuga. The plants spill over the edge of the planter, softening it, while a horizontal cedar fence creates additional visual interest.
Flowering Rooftop Garden
This rooftop terrace in New York was basically a blank space, says Klausing. He installed the cedar awning, covered in wisteria, and used green planters behind the benches to blend in with the view of a nearby park. Pots scattered around the perimeter help avoid a "boxy feel," he adds. Purple catmint adds color to the scene, along with white roses, a purple smoke bush and white hydrangeas. A built-in irrigation drip system simplifies watering.
Rooftop Dining Nook
A different view of the rooftop terrace shows off irises, more hydrangeas, and spirea planted by the French doors. The garden helps ease the transition to the interior, Klausing says, who adds that the owner specifically asked for a design that didn't look "design-y." Instead, the idea was to create a garden that someone's grandmother could have planted.
Stairway to Heaven
Originally created for Jenna Lyons, creative director of J. Crew, this Brook Landscape design features stone walls that curve around an existing dogwood tree. Klausing's firm excavated space for a recessed deck and installed the blackened steel retention walls.
For this Brooklyn condo, Brook Klausing added a white powder-coated steel pergola for a rooftop garden that stays true to the architecture of the building. Wisteria was planted to climb up the pergola; Klausing likes it because it grows fast and provides quick coverage. Inkberries are planted behind the table and chairs.
Sunset on the Roof
For nighttime ambience, Klausing added a glass chandelier and uplighting in a Japanese maple to this alternate view of the Brooklyn rooftop garden. An inlaid deck creates a sense of space for lounging. The furniture is by Holly Hunt.
Rooftop Garden Art
Sculptor Robert Cannon created this abstract piece for a rooftop garden Klausing designed in Brooklyn. The piece is planted with herbs and edibles, including peppers, thyme, kale and rosemary. It's located near an outdoor kitchen, so the chef can harvest fresh ingredients for grilling. A nearby stone countertop makes food prep easy.
A raised patio and dry laid wall distinguish this Upper East Side garden, designed by Brook Landscape. The white bluestone patio at the forefront uses the same tile as the kitchen on the bottom floor of the home. Two dogwoods flank the steps, while boxwoods thrive along the back, along with climbing hydrangeas and English ivy.
It took Klausing a couple of days, he says, to use a chain saw and carve this rocking chair out of a log. The chair now sits at the Surf Lodge in Montauk, New York.