Contemplative Garden, New York, NY

About the project

Tucked away in the historic Upper East Side, a simple backyard was transformed into a captivating private sanctuary, perfect for not only entertaining guests but also inviting its inhabitants to times of quiet reflection.

Entering through the sliding glass doors of the dining room, one walks into a paved terrace decorated with some focal pots and bordered by tiered planters carved into existing bluestone steps, which lead up to a garden bounded by cedar trellis walls. Woodland flora grow around an organic, irregular bluestone patio, and between the stepping stones of an alternative footpath. With dappled light trickling through six overhanging flowering pear trees, the delicate selection of plants with various colors, textures and tones of green, blue and white, complement the materiality of these elements to create a balanced oasis.


As visitors pass through the black aluminum portal and tiered cedar partition, a secret fountain garden comes into focus. An in-ground fountain, surrounded by a formation of boulders, stepping stones and interstitial ground covers, provides a central focal point in front of a silver-toned frosted mirror framed in black aluminum. Visually, the layers of black frames and foggy background mirror intersect to create a trick on the eye, giving the garden a greater sense of depth and mystery.

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