GJL has acted as the land steward for this property for over ten years! Jay Archer led the ecological restoration of the estate. A decade ago, this property was mostly traditional lawn (read: chemically-supported). Today, it has gradually been restored ecologically to a more natural state delivering many ecosystem services.

This series is part of our 2020 Countdown of GJLs Best Landscape Design Projects of the Year! This is #6: Shangri-la

Restoring Ecology, Inspired by Natural Landscapes

View of the native wet meadow, with mowed stroll paths to take in all its beauty.
This riparian buffer around the freshwater pond is both an extension of the wet meadow habitat and an effective barrier between lawn and water.

Instead of pure lawn monoculture, GJL converted one lawn area to an ecologically diverse, organic wet meadow. First, we simply stopped mowing the area. Then, we let the native seed bank do its thing — the plants most suited to the naturally wet environment revealed themselves — and the area began to convert back to a native wet meadow.

The completed dam maintains a certain water level while allowing any overflow to connect with the ecosystem behind it: a rare forested wetland.

Pond & Wetland Restoration

The freshwater pond had been draining and declining into a swamp.The plan was to restore a consistent pond water level by constructing a dam at the outflow. Native riverbank plantings were also designed to help naturally filter pollutants (especially from the upper lawn areas) and maintain water quality. Not in the least, these native plantings are performing ecological restoration by providing essential critical habitat for pollinators and birds.

Native Black-eyed Susans blooming in the riparian buffer that surrounds the pond.

GJL partnered with JMC (who completed the engineering plans for the dam) and J-R-One Contractor Group (who helped construct the dam and foot bridge). Green Jay Landscaping designed the native wetland plantings, installed the site protection and acted as a general contractor.

Completed wooden footbridge and dam (poured concrete with stone veneer).

Now, the new dam maintains the water level for a functioning freshwater pond ecosystem, while also allowing for overflow into the forested wetland behind when precipitation and the water table are high.

The footbridge critically connects the land in the perimeter of the pond, making for a very pleasant walk through the property.

View from the footbridge of the forested wetland with pond overflow seamlessly integrated.

Learn more about the project on our previous blogs:

Dam Construction, Pond & Wetland Restoration | South Salem, NY

Wetland Restoration — Native Riverbank Planting — South Salem, NY

View of the estate from the footbridge, with the completed dam in the foreground. Can’t wait to see this freshwater pond ecosystem thrive and evolve!

Contact us about your Ecological Restoration Project: 914-560-6570