Friends' garden in the West Village. For years they have had ground floor tenants, who literally came with the house when it was bought, and who had their own stone patio area grandfathered into the lease. But the tenants are moving soon and the patio is about to be absorbed by the rest of the garden, to my friends' evident delight.
A couple of springs ago we re-planted much of the garden and it has become quite a North East jungle. The birch tree grows almost visibly and is pruned every year to keep its canopy from obliterating the entire space beneath in a pall of deep shade. Witch and winter hazels, mahonia, daphne, dogwoods, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, a weeping maple and lots of native ferns crowd beneath the tree.
The fish make more fish every year and in winter seem quite snug under the crackle layer of ice. There is a resident bullfrog.
We will take out the yew barrier separating the two spaces, trim back the Hydrangea paniculata and then think. A lot more perennials, drawn from the woodland palette would be fine, I feel, in spaces where the pavers will be taken up.