Garden design team, The Manscapers, share the secret to helping plants in a city garden live longer

The team behind Calvin Klein's garden shares how to take care of your plants – and preserve your urban jungle

The Manscapers designed backyard in New York with plants and outdoor furniture
(Image credit: Dane Tashima)

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. 

The Manscapers designed backyard in New York with plants and outdoor furniture

(Image credit: Dane Tashima)

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 similarly shared his modern garden ideas

The Manscapers designed backyard in New York with plants and outdoor furniture

(Image credit: Dane Tashima)

'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. 

The Manscapers designed backyard in New York with plants and outdoor furniture

(Image credit: Dane Tashima)

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.

For more small garden ideas from The Manscapers Team, look out for their upcoming book Take it Outside

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK and has experience in fashion and travel journalism, which she previously practised whilst living in Paris and New York City. Her adoration for these fashion capitals means she particularly loves writing about contemporary styles and trends for Livingetc.