Long Island Nursery & Landscape Association Awards

On the Bay by Schlick Design Group

Gold/Judges Choice Award
Single Family Residence Greater than 1/2 Acre

The project started with an existing house on a long and narrow lot situated on Manhasset Bay. Because of its age, condition, location on site and poor interior layout, the house was demolished. This allowed for an entirely new site development, making it a pleasure for Gary Blum and the Schlick Design team to work on.

More often than not, new construction or renovations are conceived without any (in depth) consideration to the overall site design. This usually results in compromises and costs which could have been avoided if the landscape was developed along with the residence’s design. This is just as critical with smaller projects which may require changes in the new construction or variances in order to make the project viable.

The front entry was designed with a circular drive and a courtyard at the semi-circular front entry landing. This combined with boxwood hedging which brackets the courtyard interrupts the long linear front and provides a sense of arrival at the front door.

The terrace behind the garage overlaps the pool pavement, giving each area, a duplicity of use during large parties. Chaise lounges are opposite the pool’s broad steps and face the bay and afternoon sun across the pool’s negative edge. A pool-side full service pavilion is a place to be in the landscape while an elevated spa’s cascading overflow provides sight and sound. 

The house and its landscape were first intended for use on summer weekends and hosting large gatherings of family and friends. Because of all the amenities and level of comfort that was achieved, the clients find themselves spending considerably less time in Manhattan and more time on the North Shore.


East Hills by Steven Dubner Landscaping

Silver - Single Family Residence Greater than 1/2 Acre
Photography by Bob Retnauer

The challenging space limitations of this property due to the extreme change of grade were turned into an opportunity by creative use of terracing. Management of the six foot grade change over 50 feet was accomplished by dividing areas based on use, while minimizing the need for large quantities of steps. This multiple-level approach allowed for the creation of more functional space than other methods would have made possible.

The primary terrace was placed next to the house kitchen, equipped with a grill and serving area. The pool terrace was set at the basement level, which was utilized as a family room. Located in between, an intermediate terrace was constructed, intended for use as a dancing and social area during parties. The semi-circular transition acts as a counterpoint to the angularity of the rest of the design, spilling into the lawn area. A traditional swimming pool was installed with a uniform depth of five feet, allowing the use of the entire pool during gatherings.

The client expressed a desire for a backyard that had the feeling of a garden, not just a landscape. To achieve this, leyland cypress and nigra arborvitae were planted for privacy with crepe myrtle, hydrangea and a variety of perennials used for foregrounding. Also, a secluded sitting area with an iron fire pit was created to act as a retreat from the more structured landscape elements. While not remote from the rest of the yard in distance, it evokes the sense of being in a less managed and designed space than those adjacent to the house itself.

Nissequogue Getaway by Metamorphosis Landscape Design

Gold - Active Use Area
Photography by Rob Cuni

These days it is not uncommon for homeowners to desire a true stay at home vacation space. When the homeowners of a three acre property in Nissequogue settled into their new home, they realized the potential for an outdoor space that could rival any resort.

Resort-style living can include many activities. Immediate thoughts included a pool, barbecue/bar island and casual seating areas. But this was to be something much more. The barbecue became a full outdoor kitchen, complete with pavilion with custom cabinetry and an extensive list of appliances. Seating for 10 can easily be accommodated here. The existing bluestone patio was extended to allow for extra tables when needed for large gatherings.

A pond was created off the house patio with bench seating providing soothing sounds of running water. This space overlooks the new freeform gunite pool. The pool was expanded to include a beach entry, infinity edge, slide and completed with a grotto and fire bowls. What resort is complete without a built in spa with a spill over?

Connected to the pool area is the smaller pavilion which includes a pool house with a bathroom. Under the overhang is a custom fireplace for warming up after a late night swim. The final touch for this amenity rich space is the outdoor pool table and existing bocce court, complete with lighting for evening games.

Whether entertaining the family on a quiet Sunday afternoon or a major holiday bash, this property is ready to accommodate. The real beauty in this project is the ability to relax anyway you see fit.

Stone Hill by Landscapes by Paul’s Nursery

Silver - Active Use Area

The client’s requests for this rear residence makeover was to remove the existing play set the children had outgrown and install a pool, lounge area and outdoor fireplace.

Wanting to preserve as much lawn space as possible, the client was adamant on placing the pool area as far into the corner as possible. Even if it meant designing past the 25-foot structural set back;  meaning “village variance.” Five-foot high retaining walls would be needed to accommodate the extensive grade that existed. The plus side to the walls – creating privacy from the neighbors.

A Bluestone terrace would then be introduced within the area for ample lounging. A 19’ x 34’ pool was designed inside the 25-foot set back.

The outdoor fireplace, constructed using the same material used on the retaining walls, was built within one of the existing terraces, which hosted an overhead pergola. The pergola and existing steps needed to be modified to accommodate the new fireplace.

Decorative trees and shrubs were added to the existing plantings. With the existing perimeter of evergreens not interfered with during construction and the pool/terrace surrounded by the wall, privacy was easily established. A large specimen Parrotia persica was planted at the top corner for guests entering the area and viewing from down below.Pachysandra would mat the landscape keeping a more open feel within the area. Roses, hydrangeas, daylilies mixed kousa dogwoods and a Japanese maple would complete the ­planting for summer color. Decorative urns are strategically placed within the terrace for ­additional summer color.

Greenlawn by Steven Dubner Landscaping

Silver - Active Use Area

This plot of land lent itself to a linear, symmetrical design that inspired the creation of an expansive vista. Within this space, the client required a series of active use areas that took advantage of the natural surroundings, including a pool, a spa with a spillover trough and dining, entertainment and lounge areas.

The natural grade presented opportunities to create a sunken garden, positioning the pool and terrace as such. By raising the height of retaining walls, it was possible to further enhance this effect while still taking advantage of southern sun exposure. Existing trees were trimmed and removed as needed to create a greater sense of space and depth in the yard, while still retaining sufficient screening for privacy. This was further enhanced with plantings of andromeda, rhododendron, azalea and viburnum.

A stepping stone path was created, bordered by three kousa dogwood trees and under-planted with various perennials to provide color and texture through the late spring and summer months. The path invites visitors to escape to a private sitting area, featuring a bench surrounded by woodland ferns.

Adjacent to the house kitchen, a grill, refrigerator and large serving bar were installed, with ample counter space provided. An existing brick patio was reconstructed and expanded upon, defined by a long natural stone sitting wall that also acts as a raised planter garden. Here and around the house, foundation plantings of crepe myrtle, sweetbay magnolia and tree hydrangea set the tone while hosta, astilbe, sedum and nepeta are spread throughout the beds. Boxwoods define the retaining wall edge, reinforcing the sunken garden effect.

Flower Hill by Steven Dubner Landscaping

Silver - Single Family Residence Less Than 1/2 Acre

The challenge presented by the project at Flower Hill was creating a naturalistic entertainment environment while preserving maximum recreational space for the client’s children. Achieving this harmony was key, inspiring a design that emphasized a rich aesthetic appeal while ensuring large open areas of lawn.

While the existing landscape conditions provided a strong foundation of plantings, the presentation was rather rigid, and the intention of the new design was to fulfill the client’s desire for a more natural, informal outdoor space. This was achieved by maintaining the strong screening aspects of the preexisting evergreen plantings, but supplementing them with kousa dogwood, nikko blue hydrangea and a variety of other deciduous trees and shrubs.

Ilex ‘Steeds’ were placed as screens for the pool equipment, and to act as a backdrop for a new perennial garden, which features sedum matron, rosemallow hibiscus, goldenrod, shasta daisy, geranium rozanne, lamium “white Nancy,” astilbe and others. All plants were carefully chosen for their vivid seasonal color and texture and especially for their staggered peak beauty intervals, ensuring continuous interest through all the seasons.

Also integral to the natural focus of the design are the masonry elements, which utilize an organic pool shape, rock-faced bluestone, veneer walls and incorporate several Long Island glacial boulders which were unearthed during the pool excavation. A spa and fire pit are carefully oriented facing the dining room and the sound of falling water permeates the entertaining areas of the house.

Turfless by Schlick Design Group

Silver - Entrance
Photography by Gary Blum

This project involved a 50 year old landscape which was well-designed, but with budget in mind, by the original owner. The plantings had been neglected by subsequent owners which left the house obscured by unruly foliage. The client requested additional parking, as a lower level guest apartment had been added. He also wanted to open up the site and create a clear entry view of the front door. Another important request was to maintain a turfless, woodland garden with enclosure and privacy from the street.

Gary Blum’s first step was to remove over 40 hemlocks which were past their prime and to identify and protect existing mature plantings which could be utilized in the new design scheme. Particular attention was given to retain the high-branched, mature oaks so they would protect the understory plantings in the new garden.

The parking problem was resolved by carving a two car bay into the hillside, forward of the front entry steps. This in effect depressed the parked vehicles making them less obtrusive in the landscape. The slopes around the new parking bay were retained with Long Island boulders and drifts of low-growing ground cover plants.


The treads and risers of the existing entry walk were in good shape and worked well. However, the connecting landings and walkways were repaved in a more practical, solid bluestone instead of the original stepping stones set in pea gravel. Pottery with succulents and cacti accessorize the steps and protect edges.

By carefully selecting plants to be removed, plants to remain and integrating new plantings into the landscape, the site was given renewed vitality. The overgrowth was eliminated while
preserving the woodland tranquility of the previous landscape. Best of all, there is no turf.


Peaceful Garden by Goldberg & Rodler

Gold - Passive Use Area
Photography by Sue Sottera

A Resort Refreshed by Goldberg & Rodler

Silver - Commercial