Installation: Warehouse Loft Patio

A couple of weekends ago we did another small patio job, planting a design for Patrick Lannan of Flora Grubb Gardens. This was a patio off of a second-floor loft in a nifty old brick warehouse that was converted to condos, two blocks from the Giants’ ballpark. I’m really becoming fond of this part of town. It’s just so lively over there, and the mix of old industrial buildings and new loft spaces and high rises is very uplifting to me. I love the urban-ness of it all! And I love bringing some plant life to integrate into the expansive hardscapes of the area.

This building was split into, I dunno, 8 lofts perhaps? Our biggest challenge was getting these frickin’ enormous, heavy pots from the garage up the stairs and out to the patio. But we did it. That was almost a third of the time we were there, just moving four pots. Crazy. The patio of this loft opens out onto other buildings, and parking lots. Really kinda cool, though, since there are many restaurants in these little mid-block alleys, and people are always milling about down below. Being in the center of the block actually made it a quiet space, too, and the loft is off the back of the building. Nice.

The walls of the patio were already International Orange, like the Golden Gate Bridge. Slate tiles were dark grey, with hints of rusty orange and flecks of white. Patrick had the guy get some black wood outdoor lounge furniture with white cushions, and a coffee table in concrete. The Flora Grubb part of his design called for some large pots in a blackish-grey, that have terra cotta rims. They match the tiling fabulously. Three along one end of the patio create a focus for the emptiness of the blank wall that was there, and one in the corner by the lounge anchored the other end. In the solo pot we planted a Beaucarnea recurvata (ponytail palm), and three pindo palms (Butia capitata) went in the others. We topped off the soil of the ponytail with white volcanic pumice, to add a nice finish. The pindos didn’t need it, since the foliage is so full. We put a row of cube pots made of Fibreclay (a fiberglass-reinforced clay pot that is very light and optimal for roof decks and such) along the rail against a neighboring building, and planted them with rushes (Juncus effusus ‘Quartz Creek’). The coffee table is such a great match for them, in color and texture! Lastly, we set up some Fermob outdoor furniture. This is durable steel furniture that’s made in France, and weathers the outdoors well enough to be used in public spaces, such as the High Line elevated gardens in NYC. The orange table was just enough of a color punch to tie in with the walls and subtle tones in the tiles, and the grey chairs obviously went well with the overall theme.

The client was just thrilled. After living there for a year now, it was his first effort to dress the place up. He’s ready to tackle the inside now, given the visual inspiration through his big windows!

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