How to Create an Urban Garden in 2019

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t start planning your future garden. Maybe you’re thinking, “How am I going to have my own green space in New York City?” All it really takes is a vision, some independent research, and an experienced landscape design professional.

Let’s begin by discussing some of the top garden design trends in 2019.

  1. Vibrant colors – The most beautiful outdoor living spaces are usually bursting with color. If you’re putting the time and energy into an urban garden, we recommend avoiding monochromatic colors as much as possible. Keep in mind that the brighter this area, the more likely you and everyone else will enjoy it.

  2. A blend of interior and exterior – You want your garden to feel like a seamless and natural extension of your home. If you just sort of throw things together and hope it looks good in the end, chances are you’re going to be disappointed. So take a step back and visualize how this space will be used. Every design is different, whether you’re hoping to add an outdoor kitchen for hosting parties or a water feature for a healing garden.

  3. Fruits, vegetables, and herbs – Nothing beats planting your own fruits and vegetables. Keep in mind that many of your favorites grow with beautiful flowers and decorative plants, creating lush greenery and colorful accents. At Amber Freda Landscape Design, we can also recommend herbs to be used for making teas or baths that can soothe and heal your mind and body.

  4. Healing gardens – How do you feel about having a garden that’s not only beautiful but also includes a soulful component? It’s no surprise why healing gardens continue to increase in popularity and especially in New York City. Think about it for a moment — listening to the sound of leaves rustling, appreciating the smell of flowers, or even just watching a butterfly make its way around the garden. If you’ve been yearning for a greater connection with Mother Nature, planting a healing garden is a great place to start.

  5. Custom lighting – You’ve taken a smart, proactive approach to planning your garden. Everything, including any custom features, is built out in a way that feels well-designed. But you could use one more thing to serve as that ideal finishing touch. Here at Amber Freda Landscape Design, we recommend looking into custom lighting solutions for your urban oasis. A combination of overhead globe lighting, floodlights, and fence lighting allows you to enjoy your garden day or night.  

Now that you have a better idea of next year’s urban gardening trends, let’s zero in on those in our area. Here are some tips for installing a garden in NYC:

Reduce clutter

Not sure how you’re going to plant a garden in such a small space? Give yourself the most space possible by getting rid of any clutter. You can even limit the number of styles and finishes on features so the focus remains on the plants.

Maximize space

You want to take advantage of every inch of available space. At Amber Freda Landscape Design, we communicate with clients about the benefits of choosing several, larger pieces of furniture as opposed to many smaller ones. If you’re torn between two items, opt for comfort and functionality.

Understand your building requirements

It happens more than you think — someone installs an elaborate community or rooftop garden but is forced to take it all down because they didn’t clear with their building first. That’s why it’s important to know your basic building requirements ahead of time. Once you get the green light, you won’t have to worry about potential headaches down the road.

Figure out the utilities

Obviously, water and electricity are the most important for a garden. Are you planning to have a firepit or gas grill as well? In that case, a gas line is a must.

Hire a professional

Here’s the big one. Do you honestly have the time, energy, and knowledge to design and install an urban garden? If not, then it’s imperative to hire an experienced landscape design team.

Custom Landscaping Services

We pride ourselves on creating some of the most treasured green spaces on the planet. All it takes is one conversation with Amber to see her passion for bringing a client’s vision to life. Plus, in contrast to other landscaping companies, Amber oversees every step of the project from start to finish, answering any questions you may have.

For your convenience, we also offer ongoing maintenance of your garden in addition to design and installation. Don’t make the mistake of trusting just any contractor to handle your urban garden project. Turn to someone who values creativity, work ethic, transparency, and communication.

Contact our NYC landscaper today to schedule your initial consultation.

Happy Holidays From Amber Freda Landscape Design!

Can you believe that Christmas is less than a week away? Here at Amber Freda Landscape Design, we wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season. You may not think so now with the cold temperatures, but it won’t be long until you’re back outside enjoying your rooftop garden.

Amber Freda is not the typical landscaping contractor. For more than a decade, New York City residents have turned to Amber for custom landscape designs. She has a passion for providing high-end, detail-oriented services and giving clients the feeling of being in their own oasis.

Keep reading to learn more about Amber’s expertise and how she can transform your outdoor space in 2019.

Unrivaled Landscaping Knowledge

Too many NYC residents make the mistake of hiring just anyone for their landscaping project. It’s important to know that ongoing maintenance (mowing, watering, etc.) and landscape design are completely different. Rather than sift through countless maintenance teams, we recommend connecting with Amber, who continues to be regarded as one of the most knowledgeable professionals in this ever-growing industry.

Let’s go back to 2004 when Amber started her own business. She wanted to offer clients a design that felt like a natural and seamless extension of their homes. Never did she think to cut corners or rip people off with “cookie-cutter” or “one-size-fits-all” approaches.

Part of what makes Amber different is that she personally oversees the design of every project from start to finish. There’s no need to worry about speaking with her during the initial consultation and then disappearing. When you invest in Amber and her team, know that they will earn your business and truly go above and beyond.

It’s impossible to discuss garden design in NYC without at least mentioning Amber. For one thing, she is a regular instructor at both the New York and Brooklyn botanical gardens. Then there’s her impressive client list, which includes the likes of George Soros, Brett Icahn, Joseph Edelman, and Bobbi Brown.

Not only has Amber appeared as a guest expert on the CBS New York Morning Show, but she has been featured in major publications such as The New York Times, Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design, HGTV, and New York Magazine. It’s safe to say you won’t find a more knowledgeable landscaper in the region.

Our Landscape Design Process

We value transparency and communication in every project, regardless of its scope. As aforementioned, Amber will walk you through each step of the process, answering any questions you may have. If any sort of issue comes up, you can expect her to fix it before continuing on with the rest of the project.

There are three key components to Amber’s design and installation services. Let’s take a closer look at them:

  1. On-site consultation – This is our opportunity to evaluate your style, vision, and site conditions. We will also make recommendations to fit your particular space. Ultimately, the on-site consultation is about understanding what’s most important to you with your landscaping and brainstorming how we can turn those ideas into a reality.

  2. Design – An alarming number of contractors spend minimal time on the design phase. That’s not how we do business, though. We offer comprehensive plan drawings that are completely ready to be submitted for approval. As you’ll see for yourself, this is the best way to see how everything looks together. Don’t forget to ask about custom features such as decks, patios, turf, pergolas, and outdoor kitchens.

  3. Installation – At this point, many landscape designers might outsource the installation to a random third-party contractor. At Amber Freda Landscape Design, we install all of the plants and planters ourselves while our general contractor builds out custom features according to our specifications. This level of attention to detail allows us to create a space that feels seamless and well-designed.

Landscape Lighting

Whether you’re interested in adding lighting for entertainment or ambiance purposes, Amber can point you in the right direction. We are comfortable with various lighting solutions, including low-voltage up-lighting in plants, floodlights, task lighting for outdoor kitchens, fence lighting, and more. There’s no question that the right lighting makes a huge difference within an urban oasis, so see what Amber recommends for your space.

Drip Irrigation

Maybe you’re wanting a garden but aren’t sure you have the time to water it on a regular basis. Not to worry, as our experienced team installs drip irrigation systems that help maximize your plants’ health and longevity in both the short-term and long-term. If you’re looking for an easy and inexpensive way to protect your garden, then be sure to ask us about drip irrigation systems.

Ongoing Maintenance

There are times when you just can’t get around to maintaining your garden. Fortunately, Amber Freda Landscape Design can help with this as well. From pruning and leaf cleanup to weeding and pest control, we have you covered.

As another holiday season comes to a close, start thinking about how great it would be to have a custom garden or green space. Contact Amber and schedule an initial consultation today!

The Best Plants for an NYC Balcony

If you’re like us, you absolutely love calling New York City home. There are certainly times, though, when it’s difficult to step back from the hustle and bustle and just relax. That’s why we encourage people to create a green space of their own with beautiful, hardy plants.Here are some of the best plants for an NYC balcony or rooftop garden:

Marigolds – Just because winter is right around the corner doesn’t mean we can’t look ahead to warmer temperatures. If you’re looking for a flower that’s low-maintenance and bright, then be sure to consider marigolds for your urban oasis. Few balcony plants are better.

Chrysanthemums – It’s no secret why mums are grown almost everywhere in the world. Not only will they liven up your outdoor space, but mums also come in various colors. Plant them next spring and see for yourself why mums are the most popular flowers after roses.

Petunias – Who said that a small balcony or rooftop garden can’t have eye-popping color? Petunias are easy to grow and come in a variety of colors. Just remember that petunias require abundant fertilization and plenty of sun.

Impatiens – We are often asked which plants are best for shady balconies. Simply put, you can’t go wrong with impatiens. Know that impatiens need lots of fertilizer throughout the year.

Portulacas – Have you been searching for a low-maintenance flower that can thrive in even the tiniest spaces? Then be sure to put portulacas at the top of your list. These hardy flowers are certain to add a much-needed boost of color to any space.

Pansies – This is the ideal flower for growing in window boxes and pots. NYC residents and property managers alike appreciate the mild fragrance and unique look of pansies. Plus, they come in many colors and sizes.

Snapdragons – Nothing beats going out to your balcony or rooftop and watching the butterflies and hummingbirds. But did you know that snapdragons attract these beautiful creatures? You might not have thought so with their small flowers.

Ferns – No rooftop or balcony is complete without a few ferns. At Amber Freda Landscape Design, we like that most ferns are suitable to grow in containers. Plus, they add the perfect final touch to shady spaces.

Custom NYC Landscape Design

Now that you know which plants thrive on balcony and rooftop spaces, what’s the next step toward having an urban oasis of your own? We recommend reaching out to an experienced New York City garden designer. Amber Freda, our in-house custom landscaping professional, has you covered.

Amber will look at your space, listen to your vision, and then get to work with the design aspects. Unlike other companies that might hand off tasks to third-party contractors, Amber Freda Landscape Design does everything in-house. The best part, though, is that Amber oversees every part of the project.

Don’t settle for cookie-cutter landscape design services any longer. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and see what makes Amber the preferred garden designer in NYC.  

Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Landscape Design Expert

There’s probably a lot on your mind if you’re thinking about installing a garden in New York City. For example, can you have a green space on your rooftop, backyard, or terrace? On top of that, what utilities are required for a garden?

There’s no question that urban landscaping can breathe new life into a property. What many people fail to realize, though, is the importance of finding an experienced landscape design expert. The last thing you want to do is waste your time and money on someone who doesn’t actually understand the design aspect.

Here are some mistakes to avoid when hiring a local garden designer:

Choosing a “lawn care” or “maintenance” company  

Would you really trust a lawn service to handle an extensive landscape design project? We’re guessing not. While there are certainly landscaping companies that do quality work, few have a keen eye for design.

This is where Amber Freda Landscape Design comes into play. We pride ourselves on offering cohesive, fully integrated design plans that include various elements. Amber has the ability to situate everything in a way that feels like a natural extension of your home.

Failing to look at experience

We all have to start somewhere in our careers. That said, it’s probably not the best idea to hire an inexperienced landscaping team. Just one mistake could prove to be costly.

There’s no need to worry about experience with Amber Freda. For nearly 15 years, Amber has provided clients with high-end, detail-oriented landscaping services. Her project list consists of backyards, community gardens, contemporary gardens, patios, terraces, rooftop gardens, and more.

It’s safe to say that Amber has been there and done that in this ever-evolving industry.

Failing to look at credentials

Just because a contractor might have decades of experience doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best choice. If possible, dig a little deeper and see if they’ve been recognized for their work and/or expertise. Such recognition not only proves their knowledge of the industry but also their passion.

You can feel comfortable knowing that Amber has been a staple in New York City’s garden design community. For one thing, she has taught a number of classes at the New York and Brooklyn botanical gardens. Amber has also been featured in The New York Times, the Associated Press, Better Homes & Gardens, HGTV, and other mainstream publications.

Failing to look at testimonials

This is a big one. A landscape design expert can rave all they want about their experience and services. Frankly, though, it means nothing if they can’t back it up with positive testimonials.

At Amber Freda Landscape Design, we have many client testimonials up on our homepage. Take it from Pamela K., who says “The fantastic thing about Amber is that she is that rare combination of artist and great business person. Amber creates the landscape of your dreams and at the same time is very professional.”

Hiring the contractor who offers the cheapest bid

“You get what you pay for.” That idea certainly applies to landscaping professionals. While it may be tempting to hire the company offering the lowest price, don’t forget about quality and long-term investment.

Don’t make the mistake of hiring just anyone to complete your landscape design work. Contact one of NYC’s best in Amber Freda.

Image of triple oat breakfast cereal

Concerns over Glyphosate in Cereal

Fun Fall Grilling Recipes

It’s hard to believe we’re nearly halfway through fall. While you might be turning your attention toward Thanksgiving preparations, why not think about what to cook on the grill this month? We can help you take advantage of the crisp weather with the following fall grilling recipes from Southern Living:

  1. Grilled Pork Chops with Apple-Bourbon Glaze – You can’t go wrong with pork chops any time of year, but especially during the autumn. As you might have guessed, the spicy and sweet apple-bourbon glaze is what really makes this dish stand out. Pair with your favorite seasonal salad, fresh fruit, and rice for a truly delicious meal.
  2. Rosemary Grilled Chicken Thighs – There’s a lot you can do with grilled chicken. For this recipe, add some rosemary and garlic marinade before placing the chicken on the grill. Once cooked to perfection, serve over creamy cheese grits with a side of sauteed garlic spinach. Your mouth is watering just thinking about this fall favorite!
  3. Portobello Mushroom Burgers with Carrot-Cabbage Slaw – Feeding a large group on game day? Burgers are always a great choice. Although these burgers are hearty, they are also, in fact, meatless. Top your portobellos with a colorful slaw or serve it on the side. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself making these burgers several times during football season.
  4. Grilled Apple Salad – Apples and cheddar go hand in hand this time of year. The recipe calls for pecan halves, gala apples, baby spinach, and extra-sharp white cheddar cheese. Best of all, this salad takes just 20 minutes to prepare and cook. The Grilled Apple Salad is versatile enough to make on a weeknight or for a special occasion.
  5. Grail Salad with Grilled Shrimp and Sweet Peppers – Nothing beats a healthy, delicious salad with grilled shrimp. You will need uncooked bulgur, medium-size raw shrimp, baby sweet peppers, green onions, and fresh lemon juice, among other ingredients. This grail salad takes about an hour to prepare and cook. Pro tip from MyRecipes: If you choose to use wooden skewers, submerge them in water for half an hour before adding the shrimp.

The Best Landscape Design

Fall barbecues start with an incredible outdoor kitchen. But you don’t want just any ‘cookie-cutter’ kitchen for your urban oasis. Rather, you want one that’s designed specifically to meet your needs and the needs of your guests.

This is where Amber Freda Landscape Design comes into play. We can easily design everything from planting schemes to custom features such as decks, fences, and, of course, outdoor kitchens. You can count on us to build out everything in a way that feels seamless, natural, and hassle-free.

At Amber Freda Landscape Design, Amber is involved in the entire process. Unlike other companies that hand off tasks to third-party contractors, our garden designer oversees every step from start to finish. You can feel comfortable knowing Amber will be there to ensure every detail meets her high standards.

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Get the most out of this season with an outdoor kitchen from Amber Freda Landscape Design.

Landscape Lighting Tips For Fall

You want to get the most out of your urban oasis this fall. But with less natural sunlight to work with, it can be difficult to spend much time outside. That’s why having the right landscape lighting is so important.

Here are some landscape lighting tips worth considering this time of year:

  1. Create a guided path – You obviously want to see where you’re walking at night. Our landscape design team recommends creating some sort of path with lights. Not only will this prevent any unwanted falls, but it enhances the overall ambiance of the space.
  2. Dim it down – Speaking of ambiance, now is the time to adjust your lighting systems. Consider switching up the brightness and adding frosted lenses. Another idea is to disconnect or remove some fixtures to soften the light. Don’t want your lighting highlighting the bare branches? Then lower the angle of the light so it illuminates the tree’s trunk instead.
  3. Make chilly nights warmer – Wondering how to create a warm environment with your lighting? Believe it or not, it’s actually easier than you might think. Start by adding uplighting and downlighting to the design. These elements alone can help you transform an outdoor entertaining space.
  4. Set a new timer schedule – Maybe you forgot to adjust your outdoor lighting timer after summer came to an end. Not a problem! The majority of timers are set to automatically turn on at dusk and off after a certain number of hours. Now that the days are becoming shorter, you will want to adjust your system accordingly. Ideally, you and your guests will never have to arrive at a dark space.
  5. Perform annual maintenance – This should be part of your autumn routine. So what exactly are you looking for? For one thing, inspect any exposed wire for damage. Other tasks include cleaning any accumulated debris from cabinet housing, replacing the battery, and adjusting fixtures. Taking the time to do all this not only sets you up nicely for fall but also the rest of the year and into next spring/summer.

Premier Landscape Design

New York City residents have relied on Amber Freda Landscape Design for more than a decade. We are here to help you get the most of your rooftop garden, regardless of the season. When it comes to lighting, our landscape designer can recommend various solutions.

This is where Amber sets herself apart from others in the industry. Unlike competitors who might take a ‘cookie-cutter’ or ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, Amber creates a plan based on your space and needs. Rest assured that we have years of experience with the following lighting options:

  • Low-voltage up-lighting in plants
  • Overhead globe lighting in pergolas and over patios
  • High-voltage wall sconces
  • Floodlights
  • Task lighting for outdoor kitchens
  • Step light
  • Fence lighting

This fall, why not invest in a beautiful, functional rooftop or common space garden from Amber? There’s no question that the right designer makes a huge difference. Contact Amber Freda Landscape Design today.

Image of plastic bottles

Incremental Change: Lifestyle Shifts Aimed at Improving Indoor, Outdoor Environment