Mel Brasier, Garrett Magee, and James DeSantis – best known as The Manscapers – sit at the peak of New York and Los Angeles's garden industry. The stars of Bravo's Backyard Envy have curated the chicest of exterior spaces for the most stylish of clients, including Sies Marjan and Diane von Furstenberg – and they've picked up a trove of urban gardening ideas along the way.
It's no secret that we're always looking for ways to accentuate our city gardens – but after curating these spaces – how can we help our plants thrive harsh urban environment? Naturally, Mel and Garrett let us in on their secret to improving the lifespan of our plants.
How to improve the lifespan of plants in an urban garden – according to The Manscapers
'Invest in an irrigation system. It is a bit of an investment upfront, but it will add an extra layer of insurance to the lifespan of the plants, Mel and Garrett share. 'Irrigation also makes travel possible without having to be tied down to a daily watering routine.'
While this added protection is particularly beneficial amid the buzz of the city, irrigation systems enable us to leave our gardens for longer periods of time without worrying about our plants' health – as Mel and Garrett emphasized. However, The Manscapers are not alone in their adoration for these watering systems, as the Design Director at David Andersen (opens in new tab) similarly shared his modern garden ideas.
'We always advise clients to install irrigation systems – in city gardens; they're definitely worth the relatively small investment. Those that don't install them often regret it - particularly during prolonged hot spells,' David explains.
'Most irrigation systems are barely noticeable visually – and there are different types to suit different gardens. Many city dwellers opt for the 'leaky hose' type of irrigation. This is a continuous hose that snakes through the planting with evenly-spaced holes that allow the water to seep out. This system is then simply covered over with mulch.'
So, we don't need to worry about sacrificing our garden's aesthetic in the name of practicality? We only wish we had known about this sooner.
While implementing an irrigation system will contribute to a healthier urban garden, Mel and Garrett urge us not to worry when something goes wrong. 'Plants are living things that, to a certain extent, can't be controlled. If something dies, it's not necessarily your fault. Don't let a dead plant or two give you a reason to give up on having a garden or indoor plants. There's no such thing as a 'black thumb,' they add.
Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. As a News Writer, she often focuses on micro-trends, wellbeing, celebrity-focused pieces, and everything IKEA.
Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and expansive collection of houseplants.
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