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Sustainable Landscaping

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Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Start with the soil around your home.

The grass lawn is as conventionally American as the white picket fence. Most homes in this country are surrounded by green grass. To stay healthy and green, grass requires large amounts of inputs, including water, fertilizer, and energy. Sure, grass lawns have some aesthetic and recreational benefits, but so do parks. Considering the state of the climate, it may be due time to reconsider the idea......read more

Gardens NYC: Green Retreat

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A landscape designer's backyard oasis in Williamsburg.

In New York City, hidden among the cement and concrete, there lie pockets of plantlife, carefully nurtured by denizens of the city. In the SHFT series Gardens NYC, we give some shine to these gardens and the people who grow them. In this episode, we pay a visit to landscape designer Jamie Hardy's backyard oasis in Williamsburg, where peas, peonies, and tomatoes thrive in the Brooklyn air. ...read more

Matthew Levesque's Reimagined Gardens

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Local, repurposed materials open up new possibilities for gardens.

Matthew Levesque is on a crusade to prove that landscape design doesn't have to be boring or expensive. In his new book, "The Revolutionary Yardscape: Ideas for Repurposing Local Materials to Create Containers, Pathways, Lighting, and More," Levesque offers inspiration and tips on using unexpected materials to spruce up the area around your home. The book is filled with images and......read more

Flora Grubb Forest Floor Ornament

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Joy to the (miniature plant) world. $19.95

Flora Grubb's fantastic plant boutique is Bay Area's hub for local, seasonal horticulture. Above and beyond the creative plant offerings on Grubb's menu are these Handcrafted Forest Floor Ornaments, containing living environments of Tillandsia air-plants, lichens, mosses and other forest trimmings. Adding an extraordinary element to holiday decoration, the Forest Floor Ornaments......read more

Swirling Landscape Architecture by Charles Jencks

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Totally cosmic land works inspired by biology and space

Looking like scenes from some fairy tale and/or acid trip, the swirling landscape works of Charles Jencks are in fact informed by big scientific ideas like fractals, genetics, chaos theory, and waves. Take, for instance, The Garden of Speculation, in Scotland, where a Jencks designed a terrace that shows the distortion of space and time caused by a black hole, a "Quark Walk"......read more

In California, Brown is the New Green

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In a state plagued by water shortage, drought tolerant gardens make more sense than ever

In the arid American West, green grass lawns are as "natural" a part of the ecosystem as polar bears. Now California's drought is making well-watered lawns even less sensibles. Many homeowners are either replacing water-intensive grass with more suitable landscaping, or simply letting lawns turn brown. From The New York Times: With rainfall at below-normal levels for several years, and......read more

'Planting: A New Perspective' by Piet Oudolf & Noel Kingsbury

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Two of the world's most influential plantsmen join forces on an authoritative gardening reference $25.27

If there is such thing as a gardening superstar, then you can count both Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury among them. From the High Line and Battery Park in New York to the Lurie Garden in Chicago, Oudolf is the man behind some of the most high-profile planting projects in the world. Kingsbury, meanwhile, has written no fewer than twenty books on planting and garden design. "Planting: A New......read more

Gardens NYC: Patrick's Place

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Urban gardening comes up from underground.

There's nothing new about urban gardening. The Romans grew food on rooftops. Schoolyards and vacant lots have hosted veggie plots for centuries. So today's city agriculture explosion is really just a reclamation of our heritage. And nowhere is it more prevalent than Brooklyn, where Patrick Nagel (no, not that Patrick Nagel) gets his green thumb dirty every day. Born and raised near Detroit,......read more

Gardens NYC: Creative Living

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Garden as canvas.

Ten years ago, when artist Greg Van de Hey felt the creative impulse, he'd make a painting. But now, with two young kids, there just isn't enough time to make art. That's where his garden comes in. Whether it's building a rain barrel, making a grapevine trellis, or making wine, the young dad can always find a garden project that satiates his creative drive. It all plays into......read more

Gardens NYC: Let It Grow

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On a Brooklyn rooftop, Justin Vernon joins the shift.

For Justin Vernon, there's more to gardening than growing plants. His rooftop garden, one of the many cropping up on the Brooklyn skyline, is part of a broader shift in environmental consciousness. The moment he started thinking of the planet as a living entity, Justin couldn't wait to get some seeds and get down to business. Now, with the Gaia philosophy informing his approach, Justin raises......read more

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