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Pavers | Pedestals | Plantings
Kyle Cavaness, LC/DBM

The courtyard garden at 535 East 86th Street in New York City combines paving and planting in a practical and pleasing way. The garden had become overgrown and fallen into disrepair, and the management company wanted to change the area into a communal space that would support frequent use.

The designers needed a modular solution, and selected custom concrete pavers set on a pedestal system to create a leveled deck. The space below the pavers forms "pockets" for plantings within the deck system.

Over about three months of construction, installers placed a high-compression drainage mat layer over a state-of-the-art liquid membrane waterproofing system, which provides protection for the membrane and a surface that allowed all of the installation's components to be put in place. The adjustable pedestals (Hanover Architectural Products), which cover about 3,000 square feet of the 6,300 square foot area, were carefully laid out in a grid pattern to properly site the running bond pavers. The lighter pavers were colored with a 'Natural Tudor' finish, and the darker accent pavers used a 'Charcoal Tudor' finish. Each pedestal was painstakingly adjusted to create a level paving surface.

At-grade rectangular floor tile light fixtures (Lightwild) with warm white frosted lenses were installed at the edges of the planting pockets to maintain the site's inviting atmosphere at night. Modular paver pieces eight to 12 inches high were put in place for the planter beds, which included a drip irrigation system for the new plantings.

The designers chose a simple plant palette to maintain clean lines and highlight the layout and technique used. Plantings included betula nigra "Heritage" birch trees, dryopteris erythrosa "Brilliance" ferns, heuchera "plum pudding", liriope muscari "Big Blue", leucothea, ilex koehneana (Holly), hedera helix (English Ivy) and hakonechloa. Large grasses and perennials were placed within the paver pockets for additional layers of height and visual interest.

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December 8, 2019, 8:17 am PDT

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