We design visceral landscapes that engage the senses, nourish the soul, and inspire reverence for nature.

Serene Seaside Swimming Pond

Larchmont, NY

GJL created a phased Landscape Development Master Plan for this charming property that borders a sea channel in Larchmont, NY.  We designed and constructed a natural swimming pond and waterfall, purified by an adjacent bog garden (that’s right, no chlorine!).  The pond provides a beautiful focal point for the new bluestone patio, constructed by GJL. Salt-tolerant perennials make up the border pollinator gardens, and a woodland-inspired garden frames the front yard.

Waterfall close up. Moving water aerates the pond to help prevent algal growth.
Waterfall and surrounding garden in spring. Large fieldstone steps provide a naturalistic entrance into the swimming pond.
BEFORE: the backyard lacked functional living space was in need of a makeover.
AFTER: Beautiful curved bluestone patio connects the two back doors and creates an outdoor dining space. Designed and constructed by GJL
Side view of the patio masonry, with the organic lawn in full lushness!
AFTER: Approaching natural swimming pond from north side. Perennials and shrubs create a vegetative border between the lawn and pond to prevent nutrient runoff.
AFTER:View of the natural swimming pond and waterfall from above! Yes this is deep enough to swim in!
AFTER: Swimming pond feat. Penstemon digitalis 'Dark Towers' in the right foreground.
Designing different depths and shelves within your water feature makes it attractive to birds and other wildlife that bathe in shallow waters.
Native bee on native St Johns Wort (Hypericum prolificum).
A custom bench sits just beyond the pond, framed with a grass and perennial garden.
A newly constructed arbor adorned with Trumpet Vine and Climbing Hydrangea frame the entrance sea channel and dock.
Arbor viewed from the back yard, featuring Wisteria and Climbing Hydrangea.
View of the salt tolerant perennial border garden in spring, feat. Alliums and Rosa rugosa.
Rear border garden from other direction, featuring daisy blooms.
Same view in fall, ornamental grasses and mature tree foliage steal the show!
Border diversity featuring: native butterfly weed (a must for Monarch butterflies!), native geraniums, and Ajuga as ground cover.
A decorative, on-theme compass covers the catch basin.
The north entrance from front yard to rear.
South entrance from rear yard to front in fall.
Front woodland garden, featuring an oak trunk repurposed into a sculptural planter.
Front foundation planting emphasizes interesting foliage and appropriately placed evergreens for year-round interest. Climbing the trellises are Clematis.
Curb appeal! Instead of the eye being drawn to the curb and road, it is attracted to the quilt of foliage and blooms along this curbside garden.
National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat! For more info visit: www.nwf.org/Garden-for-Wildlife/Certify
Naturalistic, unique, and ecologically friendly! This front yard is just a slice of the surprise in the back!

Contemporary Ecological
Masterpiece

Putnam Valley, NY

After the addition of a new front porch, these clients in Putnam Valley, NY wanted to redesign the entry walk and replace the front lawn.  In the words of the client: “Our front yard last year was all grass. This year it is all perennials with a focus on supporting pollinators. Such a big improvement for us and for the insane number of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds all over the place!” In addition to the planting, GJL crafted a fieldstone entry path, secondary gravel garden path, and a grand fieldstone staircase to connect the lower yard. Watch the project from start to finish on our YouTube channel!

Front garden after one season. Along with our standard process of amending the soil with organic compost and biostiumalants, we timed this installation with the new moon, following biodynamic principals that suggest higher productivity when coordinated with the lunar calendar.
BEFORE: the existing concrete walkway no longer connects to the front door. The beautiful front porch addition needed an equally grand entry walk.
Rustic fieldstone connects the new front steps to the driveway.
AFTER: The final touches on the fieldstone path were “steppable” ground covers in the joints that provide burst of color and movement.
Close up shot of Sedum in the front walkway.
AFTER:Pollinator entrance garden post-install.
Magnificent growth in just one season!
Gravel garden path meanders through the pollinator garden, connecting driveway and lower stairs.
Native perennials were chosen for their hardiness in the region and ecological value for local wildlife.
BEFORE: a steep slope from the front yard to the barn was difficult to navigate and maintain as a lawn.
GJL constructed a rustic flagstone staircase to connect the front yard with the lower side yard, as seen from this view from the front porch.
The staircase splits, leading to the lower barn on one side and a seating area to the other. A “boulder rail” accents and defines the edges.
Staircase looking towards the house, with some local wildlife.
Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthia latifolium) has spectacular seed heads and fall color for multi-season interest.L4nd$c4p3!

Wild Garden & Waterscape

Rye, NY

This Rye property started with a traditional backyard lawn and patio, that was habitually underused because of a mosquito issue (the property bordered a wetland.) GJL removed the lawn and designed a custom water feature set in a lush perennial garden. The plant biodiversity and habitat creation invited necessary predators, like dragonflies, to keep the mosquito populations in check. Now, the homeowners frequently meander through the garden paths, admiring the long-blooming flowers and the humming birds that visit them. Mosquitos aren’t an issue anymore. The naturalistic, wild design seamlessly connects sitting areas to a woodland garden and to the wetland itself, now a viewpoint and functional asset to the property.

View from the first garden bridge in springtime.
BEFORE: The start of sod removal – view from the back deck.
New garden paths and stream, as viewed from the second story back deck.
The newly installed backyard in early spring. Note the stone bridges and meandering gravel paths that guide circulation along the river and through the garden.
Daffodils mark the start of Spring! Bulbs are the best way to add color to your landscape in the early spring months when most plants are still bare.
A kinetic sculpture creates a dynamic focal point and provides winter interest in the garden.
Native perennials provide nectar for pollinators in spring and seeds for birds in fall and winter.
Black-eyed Susans – an ecological superstar plant – line the new flagstone path that connects the front and back yards.
View of the garden from the main patio, featuring Blackeyed Susan, Milkweed, Cone Flower, and various ground covers. The plants were selected for the ecological value, local hardiness, and for successive blooms and multi-season interest.
This shallow pond invites plenty of local wildlife, from birds to turtles and fish.
Natives in full bloom: Black-eyed Susan, Coneflower, Monarda, Joe Pye Weed has & more!
View from the stream of the garden in spring.
The source: this waterscape begins with a waterfall, whose stream meanders into a smaller, shallower pond and then a larger, deeper fish pond. Varying depths help attract a diversity of wildlife.
Looking left from the patio, the gravel path creates a figure eight with plenty of seating nooks along the way.
Mixing hardscape materials helps denote patios and seating areas from walkways.
Black-eyed Susan and Mexican Hyssop full bloom.
An adorable seating nook framed by lush, steppable ground covers.
Bee Balm (Monarda) in full bloom -- a favorite of pollinators!
River birches looking stoic under fresh snow fall.
BEFORE: shot of the front entrance. It was too small for the scale of the house and could benefit from a more modern styling.
BEFORE: shot of the driveway. To improve on-site infiltration of stormwater, the clients opted to remove their asphalt drive to install a Porous Pave driveway.
Porous Pave is a mix of rubber and polymer, that is applied over several inches of gravel. Stormwater is able to infiltrate this surface and percolate to recharge the aquifer. It also does not ice over like traditional driveways and requires very little maintenance. See our blog post for more on the install.
View of the finished permeable driveway. The new front steps included a landing for viewing the sculpture and front gardens.
Blooming perennials and a modern entry yield serious curb appeal!
Spring bulbs create instant curb appeal when little else has leafed out or bloomed.

Farmhouse Stream Construction
& Native Hillside Planting

New Canaan, CT

We received a call about a pond full of dead fish in New Canaan.  GJL was hired to restore water quality organically, and to design a more dramatic and functional habitat in the form of a cascading stream and native hillside planting.  We also installed a fieldstone staircase and patio to improve accessibility and interaction to the pond.

A diverse planting featuring native sunflowers, daisies and geraniums anchors the sloped stream bank & enlivens this country estate.
BEFORE: blue flags indicate daylilies that were transplanted and reorganized. Aggressive self-seeders, daylilies can create a monoculture if untamed.
AFTER: A grand outdoor staircase completes this country estate pondscape.
Close up of the native stream bank planting.
BEFORE: view of pond from above; white paint marks new stream area.
AFTER: We add live bacteria to create a biofilm culture on the filters and stone elements of the water feature – this preserves water quality in an ecological manner.
BEFORE: Looking across the pond at an un-landscaped eyesore. The lilacs on either side received extreme pruning to improve air circulation and light around the pond.
AFTER: Completed patio with spreading ground covers planted between the stone joints.
Fish! Alive and well! Thriving!
BEFORE: View of pond and newly cleared slope for waterfall/stream.
AFTER: Aeration from the waterfall plus a mechanical filter prevents unwanted algal growth and vegetation.
Always consider location when designing. The existing pond’s proximity to the house, deck and pool area called for a dramatic water feature that could stand as a focal point and recreation area.
AFTER: Shade-loving perennials complete the pond ecosystem on the far bank.
AFTER: curving and cascading, this naturalistic stream adds wonderful sound and movement to the previously neglected and overlooked pond area.
Newly planted shade garden in foreground and newly installed fieldstone staircase in the background.
Access is key! The river rock to the right helps prevent erosion of the slope.
View from above the waterfall. If you could hear this photo it would be buzzing with pollinators!

Low-Mow Lawn &
Landscape Renovation

Mamaroneck, NY

This dog-loving family’s lawn was suffering from severe compaction and landscape tedium.  GJL installed Microclover Back Beauty sod from SodCo – a durable and attractive new sod that fixes nitrogen and reduces water and fertilizer inputs.  GJL also softened the existing retaining wall with flowering perennials above and below for vibrant blooms from spring through fall.  A proper cedar base for the play set and a boulder-retained vegetable garden complete this family backyard haven.

Fresh spring blooms featuring salvia, geraniums, & daisies.
BEFORE: view from back step of far too much brown!
AFTER: view from back step of lush lawn and quilt of ecologically valuable perennials and shrubs.
BEFORE: no plant love – the architectural bones of this planting bed are great, but the eye is only drawn to the exposed bare spaces.
AFTER: lush & diverse – this planting softens the hardscape elements and develops a much needed color pallet of both foliage and flowers.
BEFORE: patchy lawn in this case resulted from severe compaction from the client’s two large and energetic dogs.
BEFORE: east view of backyard and existing playset.
AFTER: curving beds, diverse planting heights and textures, and lush lawn create an inviting backyard space.
AFTER: before installing sod we core aerated the area and applied organic soil amendments.
BEFORE: view of east side gate.
AFTER: newly installed steps and walkway connect the east gate with the backyard patio entrance from the home.
BEFORE: the play sat directly on the ground and continued to settle and be affected by erosion, creating an uninviting playscape.
AFTER: the play set now rests on cedar mulch, which deters insects, creating a safe atmosphere for play. Large fieldstone steppers create a grand scale for the backyard entrance.
BEFORE: east view.
AFTER: the fence around the patio can now be removed. Dogs have their own territory in a dog run on the west side.
AFTER: A veggie garden is a wonderful learning lab for young families.
BEFORE: west gate entrance to backyard.
AFTER: Newly installed stepping stone path leads from back gate to patio.
BEFORE: east gate entrance.
AFTER: the space feels intimate and inviting. The eye is no longer drawn to bare and harsh spaces.
AFTER: curvilinear beds soften the retaining wall and iron fence.
AFTER: the gorgeous planting focal point that every landscape needs!

Elegant Summer Blooming
Foundation Planting

Scarsdale, NY

This classic Westchester home longed for color and texture to match its grandeur. GJL selected classic, long-blooming perennials to accentuate the front entry walkway.  In the backyard, the deck previously joined a terraced lawn that lacked color, ecology and seasonal interest.  GJL created a bluestone patio and lush terrace garden to match the owner’s vibrant personality and lifestyle.  The rest of the lawn is to organic perfection.

Dream Window

Danbury, CT

This design was inspired by the concept of topophilia – a strong sense of place that becomes intertwined with cultural identity.  The client wanted to celebrate her global travels through a series of eleven color and cultural-themed gardens, from the white herb garden of Provence to the Japanese forest grasses in the Asian gold garden. Plants were chosen for their functionality and significance in the composition to represent cultural icons and elements of the natural world. To accentuate the lakeside views, GJL strategically placed a gazebo and created “garden room” seating areas.

Woodland Retreat

Bedford Hills, NY

This five-acre property in Bedford Hills included a natural woodland and rolling topography. Site conditions varied from deep shade to dappled sunlight, offering a range of mircroclimates to work with. Inspired by the natural existing features, GJL designed a woodland understory and planted more trees to diversify the forest and create additional habitat.  A custom water feature on the deck complimented the naturalistic style perfectly.  Later phases included a grand flagstone staircase leading to the tennis court, and a bioswale to intercept stormwater sheetflow.

Wonders of Water

Scarsdale, NY

Green Jay Landscaping was called to this property to address a steep, unattractive, and highly erodible slope that dominated the backyard.  Today, it comes a live with a cascading waterfall surrounded by a depth of plant cover and layered textures, for year-round beauty. The waterfall culminates in a koi pond habitat that brings great joy to the clients and their guests.

Modern Poolscape

Brewster, NY

The bridge from the architectural to the natural is affected by the spatial layout of the landscape.  For this project, GJL designed a unique geometric path to compliment the modern architecture of the home and pool.  The far corners of the poolscape are insulated by mass plantings of perennials and ornamental grasses that provide structure from afar and intimacy from within. Nuanced repetitions of plant communities are found throughout the property, from the entrance to the backyard, for a cohesive composition. 

This grid-like, geometric pattern of bluestone squares with grass joints is both formal and casual, reasserting the linear formality and yet blending right in to the very relaxed landscape.
Working with the strong and defined lines and contours of this generous architectural space, we utilized container planting in conjunction with sweeping beds and tree planting.
Container plantings create a fun & seasonal entry focal point.
The power of mass planting is demonstrated by this wonderful combination of Black-eyed Susan, Daisies and ornamental grasses
This mature planting along the walkway creates a sense of mystery and an invitation to the stunning landscape beyond – it connects the driveway and garage to the pool area.
Strong lines of the garage are softened by curvilinear beads, whispy ornamental grasses, and flowering trees.
The pattern and lines of the deck are echoed in the pattern of the walk which strengthens the overall effect as a gestalt: an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.
Invite a boulder with character into you intimate inner circle.
These small but generous cup gardens, outdoor furnishings, and umbrellas nicely accessorize the spacious pool environment.
Check out those thriving organic gardens!
Easily accessible from the deck and kitchen are bountiful herb and veggie container gardens.
Clean lines and plentiful blooms makes a happy home.
Circulation becomes an art form in a thoughtfully designed landscape.
A vibrant understory planting around this foundation maple becomes a focal point from the interior and exterior.