Transplanting the park to a yard is a big feat. Though the park is narrow in many parts, it is also very long allowing for lots of space for plantings and features. It also has the West Village and Chelsea as a backdrop while the viewer is elevated above the city. The vantage point is much farther than if the park was on the ground. People love the mix of modern lines with a focus on perennial & native plants, the sense of fullness as the design maximizes every nook and cranny along the revamped train line. I find the translation from urban setting to suburban yard challenging and fun. So I thought I’d show you how it can be done.
The yard doesn’t have the same push toward the Victorian style. The Victorian yard would push dense foliage, flowers and bushes against the house to hide the bottom parts just like the gowns of the day would hide the ankles, knees and legs of women. The owners wanted a twist push the yard design to be more modern/contemporary while never completely detaching from the house’s Queen Anne roots. So in essence, they wanted contemporary yet traditional…all with an eye to use the High Line as a model for the final product.
First thing, we did was take a look at a bunch of images to make sure I understood what they really liked about the High Line and other projects. We looked at plant options, color palettes for the flowers as well as landscape elements such as edging, walls, decking, patios, stairs and coverings. The image below is an example of some of the things we discussed.
Another thing that the Highline does is use transitions from different zones of shade to enliven the diversity of plants. To do this with a yard, you need to have a strong understanding of what plants can manage two different amounts of sunlight. The same plant will grow when it gets lots and lots of sunlight versus when it’s not getting so much. These two conditions will be side-by-side, so balancing the plants and adding accent flora is important.