The Poet's Journey
Brooklyn, NY
Adjacent to open subway tracks, this new garden presented an opportunity to create beauty while mitigating noise. Multiple trains pass the garden every hour. Our client, a poet, wished for a peaceful, seasonally-attuned oasis in which to compose.
We constructed a 4-foot-high berm and planted a double-layered hedge to block direct sound and installed noise dampening vines and wood trellises. Dense plantings and undulating terrain further break up sound. The construction of a berm created additional planting space, and allowed for a raingarden and dry streambed, directing surface water  and increasing the diversity of planting environments in this small garden. A meandering path traverses materials and environments, encouraging contemplative walks. 
Section drawing indicating position of garden relative to subway tracks
The Poet’s Journey: 
Gravel crunches underfoot as you start your journey though the garden on a narrow path in late Winter, when the sweet scent of yellow paperbush blooming on bare stems wakes the garden. Evergreen vines and hopeful woodland groundcovers quickly pattern complementary yellows and blues amongst greening sedges. 
A few steps more and the path opens to late Spring, where a cedar bench nestles into the berm. Edible ostrich fern fiddleheads and bugbane’s foamy spires rise above a seam of stone in the water-capturing swale nearby. Narrowing again, the path hugs a carved granite birdbath and the water reflects sweetspire’s perfumed blooms in high summer. Dark-leaved cardinal flowers provide visual depth before their red, hummingbird-attracting flowers steal the show. 
Craggy rocks retain soil and create visual texture in the raingarden
Crunching gravel gives way to the solid tread of bluestone steppingstones as the path and season turns again. In an Autumn rain water gurgles though the drainage bed under your feet. Warming sunbeams cut though the canopy of trees to illuminate the otherworldly toadlily floating over white asters. Fiery tones of changing foliage signal the end of your journey as you step back to the regular paving of the dining patio and the gridded city beyond. 
When snow returns this garden is defined by evergreen shrubs and sculptural stones. Ferns and ornamental stems will peak through Winter’s white blanket, calling to the poet for another circuit of the seasons.
Integrated cedar bench and wood-stave retaining wall supports berm and diversifies planting areas
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