Ecology + Design

#1 Estate-Scale Private Nature Sanctuary | Greenwich, CT | Best Landscape Designs of 2021

Finally, as the piece-de-resistance of the past year of landscape design projects, we present our FAVORITE design of 2021: this stunning Greenwich estate designed with the creativity, whimsy and functionality of a private nature sanctuary. This multi-acre property involved many phases of planning, coordination amongst different contractors, and organization between many different vendors. Green Jay Landscape Design acted as the landscape designer, installer, and general contractor coordinating all the phases of construction

Woodland stroll path in fall.

.Catch up on the full recap of our top seven projects from 2021!

#2 Natural Stone Masonry & Front Entry Garden | Cold Spring, NY

#3 Contemporary Pool Landscaping & Front Entrance | Darien, CT

#4 Terraced, Erosion Proof Woodland Landscape | Lake Peekskill, NY

#5 New American Parterre Garden | South Salem, NY

#6 Edible Front Yard Permaculture Garden | Darien, CT

#7 Bright & Easy Low-Maintenance Landscape | Hartsdale, NY

Landscape Design Master Plan for this Fairfield County Estate turned Private Nature Preserve.

Phase One: Design, Planning & Coordinating

We began fleshing out the Landscape Design Master Plan for this property in January 2021. A major component of the project was relocating the driveway to a more functional location. We partnered with J-R-One Contracting for the construction component after a lengthy permit process with the town of Greenwich. Moving the driveway meant landscaping where the original driveway was and creating a striking entrance along the new driveway.

Shady stroll or sunny stroll, which would you pick?
Garden stroll path meanders through where the original driveway once cut

Aside from the new entrances, the design included many unique and fun elements. With existing mature trees for screening around the border of the property, we saw an obvious opportunity to underplant and create two meandering woodchip paths through new woodland gardens. The woodland gardens feature a grand diversity of native understory shrubs – from flowering to evergreen – as well as ferns, shade perennials and ground cover – all of which work together to create a habitat for bees, butterflies, and birds. This past fall, we added a healthy dose of blubs along the garden paths, ensuring it will be a charming place to stroll starting with the first breath of spring daffodils.

Fall view of the stroll garden featuring native Ilex galabra and native clethra.

After coordinating the demolition of the old driveway and the construction of the new driveway, the rest of the landscape could be implemented. However, that also meant revising the design on-site as the clients presented different requests.  For example, after seeing their new driveway, the clients decide they wanted more lawn around the driveway, so we re-designated the garden bed lines and added an organic lawn installation to the scope of work.

Bird and butterfly garden adjacent to the wet meadow, connecting the habitat to other microclimates throughout the property.

Connecting Habitats Through Garden Design

The property has a wonderful existing wet meadow along one border of the property. We knew this important habitat harbored valuable biodiversity and by planting the right plants we could expand it throughout the property.  To do so, we designed two Bird and Butterfly Gardens flanking the steps down to the meadow. Here we planted a delightful range of native grasses and full-sun perennials. 

Stunning summer combo for pollinators! Russian sage, coneflowers and blackeyed susan.

Not far from the BBG gardens is the pool area, another full-sun microclimate that we planted with similar pollinator-attracting perennials. Now the effective habitat its much larger – pollinators can fly from wet meadow to meadow garden to poolscape pollinator garden to woodland garden – harvesting a diversity of pollen and nectar throughout the landscape. The design also allows these magnificent creatures to be seen, dancing alongside the children in the pool or the father strolling the woodchip path. What’s seen can be explained and what’s explained can spark curiosity. This landscape exemplifies the power of an outdoor classroom!

Same view just after planting. This private nature preserve is an extension of the larger adjacent envrionments.

Private Nature Sanctuary: A Case Study

What does it mean to turn your property into a private nature sanctuary? We dove deep into this property on our pervious blog: Case Study – Landscape Plan for Private Residential Nature Preserve.

Already have a thriving backyard habitat? Consider registering your landscape with one (or more!) of these amazing organizations!

National Wildlife Fund Certified Wildlife Habitat

Homegrown National Park

Pollinator Pathways

Audubon Bird Friendly Yards

Bedford 2030 Healthy Yards

Contact us to schedule your landscape design consultation! Now accepting landscape design and build projects for 2022.

Green Jay Landscape Design

Where Design Meets Ecology


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