Laurel Von Gerichten

Since earning a Certificate in Landscape Design from the New York Botanical Garden in 2006, Laurel Von Gerichten has worked with many clients with different needs. She provides clients with advice on problems such as screening, tired foundation plantings, drainage, sloping sites, shady yards, and windswept shore properties. Her design solutions work with nature so that the environment is not harmed and the resulting landscape is sustainable.

“The beautiful surroundings for a home can restore biodiversity and invite nature to thrive,” says Von Gerichten. “I have found that people thus surrounded discover the fascination of the natural world, and come to understand the beauty of their landscape in more than visual terms.”

Chain Link Yard Dilemma

What do you do with a yard that is nothing but grass surrounded by a chainlink fence? Von Gerichten’s client wanted a garden. That was the first stage in the master plan for the property, because it would offer a surrounding for the house on a corner lot. Much of the lawn was transformed with beds planted with native and Jersey-Friendly non-native plants, providing a unique buffer between the home and the street. The video below shows how the yard was transformed.

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Transformation at the County Library

The Monmouth County Library, Ocean Township Branch, lacked any landscaping save for some river birches in the parking lot. Von Gerichten became involved in discussions of what might create a useful, educational and beautiful setting and donated the landscape plan, which consisted of several stages. The first stage, “Library Setting,” was installed in the spring of 2010. The second stage, “Lowland Habitat,” was planted in the spring of 2011, and includes a rain garden. Large areas of lawn were replaced with the help of volunteers from the community who donated their time on planting day.

rain garden at the Monmouth County Library, Ocean Township Branch
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The Sustainable Sites Initiative encourages decreasing irrigation of plantings after their initial period of establishment. By selecting native plants and interweaving them into communities based on hydrology and exposure, the design has met the goal of minimal irrigation. The plants have knit together into soft ribbons of green, blossoming in the summer and then changing color in the fall.

This project won the Community Greening Award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and the Operation Wildflower Award: Civic Projects with Native Plants from the National Garden Clubs.

To learn more, contact Laurel at Laurelbrook Design.