Brooklyn Heights Townhouse I

Even if all people are not familiar with the name Alice Recknagel Ireys, visitors to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden have experienced her work in the Fragrance Garden that now carries her name. RKLA was fortunate enough to restore this Brooklyn Heights townhouse garden, designed by Alice Ireys as her personal garden.

Key to the restoration was the client, who understood the historical importance of the garden and was committed to maintaining the integrity of Ireys’ design. Inspired by Ireys’ ability to bridge the traditional and the modern, the project is as much a sensitive redesign as it is a restoration.

The garden’s original layout, which consisted of an upper terrace at the rear of the garden and an adjacent lower terrace, was maintained. The mature plantings were retained and relocated when necessary. At the upper terrace, the fan-shaped bluestone pavers were relaid. RKLA followed the lines of Ireys’ plan for the lower terrace, but used them to build new low brick walls with stone caps to create additional seating. The most careful additions were the two curved staircases added next to the house to connect the parlor and basement levels to the courtyard.

2010 ASLA New York Design Merit Award

F. Fleischer

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