Streetscape Gardening

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    • Vanderveer Place between Flatbush Avenue and East 23rd Street, Flatbush
Vanderveer Place between Flatbush Avenue and East 23rd Street, Flatbush
    • Schenectady Avenue between Avenue D and Foster Avenue, East FlatbushSchenectady Avenue between Avenue D and Foster Avenue, East Flatbush
    • Maple Street between Bedford and Rogers Avenues, Lefferts Manor
Maple Street between Bedford and Rogers Avenues, Lefferts Manor
    • Macon Street between Ralph Avenue and Howard Street, Bedford-StuyvesantMacon Street between Ralph Avenue and Howard Street, Bedford-Stuyvesant
    • MacDonough between Stuyvesant and Lewis Avenues, Bedford-StuyvesantMacDonough between Stuyvesant and Lewis Avenues, Bedford-Stuyvesant
    • MacDonough Street between Tompkins and Throop Avenues, Bedford-StuyvesantMacDonough Street between Tompkins and Throop Avenues, Bedford-Stuyvesant
    • Lefferts Avenue between Nostrand and Rogers Avenues, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens
Lefferts Avenue between Nostrand and Rogers Avenues, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens
    • Lefferts Place between Classon and Franklin Avenues, Bedford-Stuyvesant
Lefferts Place between Classon and Franklin Avenues, Bedford-Stuyvesant
    • Jefferson Avenue between Franklin and Bedford Avenues, Bedford-Stuyvesant
           Jefferson Avenue between Franklin and Bedford Avenues, Bedford-Stuyvesant
    • East 25th Street between Clarendon Road and Avenue D, FlatbushEast 25th Street between Clarendon Road and Avenue D, Flatbush
    • Bainbridge Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Stuyvesant Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant
Bainbridge Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Stuyvesant Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant
    • Vanderveer Place between Flatbush Avenue and East 23rd Street, Flatbush      Vanderveer Place between Flatbush Avenue and East 23rd Street, Flatbush
    • Sterling Street between Washington and Bedford Avenues, Prospect-Lefferts GardenSterling Street between Washington and Bedford Avenues, Prospect-Lefferts Garden
    • Sterling Place between Flatbush Avenue and 7th Avenue, Park SlopeSterling Place between Flatbush Avenue and 7th Avenue, Park Slope
    • My Brooklyn Baby, 692 Fulton Street, Fort GreeneMy Brooklyn Baby, 692 Fulton Street, Fort Greene
    • Montague Street between Clinton and Henry Streets, Brooklyn HeightsMontague Street between Clinton and Henry Streets, Brooklyn Heights
    • Macon Street between Ralph Avenue and Howard Street, Bedford-StuyvesantMacon Street between Ralph Avenue and Howard Street, Bedford-Stuyvesant
    • Old Fulton Street between Front Street and BQE, Brooklyn HeightsOld Fulton Street between Front Street and BQE, Brooklyn Heights
    • East 49th Street between Lenox Road and Linden Boulevard, East FlatbushEast 49th Street between Lenox Road and Linden Boulevard, East Flatbush
    • Concord Street between Bridge and Duffield Streets, Bridge PlazaConcord Street between Bridge and Duffield Streets, Bridge Plaza
    • Atlantic Avenue between Bond and Nevins Streets, Boerum HillAtlantic Avenue between Bond and Nevins Streets, Boerum Hill
    • 338 East 25th Street338 East 25th Street
    • 333 East 25th Street333 East 25th Street
    • 8th Street between 8th Avenue and Prospect Park West, Park Slope8th Street between 8th Avenue and Prospect Park West, Park Slope
    • 8th Street between 8th Avenue and Prospect Park West, Park Slope8th Street between 8th Avenue and Prospect Park West, Park Slope

    There’s a lot of pavement in New York City—enough to stretch from from Brooklyn to San Francisco and back, according to one estimate. Thankfully, many New Yorkers are working to make some of it a little friendlier by creating streetscape gardens. As the entries to BBG's Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest prove time and again, greening your block can take many fantastic forms, from planting flowers in a tree bed to placing colorful planters on the sidewalk—even hanging repurposed containers full of flowers from unused signposts. Want to join in the fun? Take inspiration from some of our favorite blocks, then read on for some tips on how to get start your own.

    Get to Know Your Space

    Take the time to assess the light and water conditions of your location. What is the width of the sidewalk? Is there room for large container plants? Can existing street furniture like benches, bike racks, parking meters, mailboxes, and signposts be incorporated into your design? Greenest Block judges have even spotted flowers planted in the soil surrounding fire hydrants.

    Think Outside the Window Box

    Traditional vessels like flowerpots, planters, and the like are great, but don’t limit yourself to these standbys. Just about anything can hold seasonal plantings. In fact, it’s the whimsical containers that get passersby to smile. Greenest Block judges have come across all manner of creatively repurposed items. Shoes, purses, hollow logs, and old buckets have been used to great effect. Another key advantage: These items can be had for little, if any, cost.

    Go Vertical

    Add another dimension to your garden by planting ground containers with climbing vines near a fence or adding trailing ivy to a window box. Plastic pots or textile pockets can also be attached to fences and walls and planted with a mix of vines and flowers.

    Keep It Coming

    Make yours a garden for all seasons. For instance, plant bulbs such as daffodils and tulips in the fall for an early-spring display, then plant sweet potato vines and petunias in late spring, followed by caladiums and zinnias through summer and autumn. In the winter months, add cut evergreen boughs and berry branches. (They act as mulch, too!)

    Mind the Rules

    Remember, your location is ultimately a public thoroughfare, subject to city regulations. You can set out pots up to 24 inches in diameter and height without any special permit, but if your containers extend more than two feet from the building into the sidewalk space, you may get a ticket. If you’re planning something bigger or more elaborate, it’s best to seek a permit from the Department of Transportation. Call 311 to start the process.

    The More, the Merrier

    Talk to your neighbors and invite their involvement. Some people may want to do plantings of their own; others can be enlisted to water, pick up litter, and weed. Not only will their participation lighten your load, it will make the whole project much more fun!

    Add Your Comment

    Please keep your comments relevant to this article. Comments are moderated and will be posted after BBG staff review. Your email address is required; it will not be displayed, but may be needed to confirm your comments.

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