A landscape designer turns outdoor spaces into oases
Many of his clients seek to use their outside spaces to entertain as well as to escape into a more peaceful environment at home.
His eponymous firm’s 24 clients can be found all over the city, including in SoHo, Park Slope and Queens. He can landscape spaces as small as 300 square feet as well as sprawling, 2,500-square-foot areas, he said. Clients pay five to six figures for his work, depending on the size and complexity of the project.
In May the developers of a new Tribeca condominium, 30 Warren, asked Haiman to be the building’s resident landscape designer.
Before discovering his passion for bringing greenery to the concrete jungle, he was a photographer who worked in advertising. After investing in a condominium with a few partners, he decided to build a rooftop garden at the property.
He started small, growing basil and tomatoes, though at the time he had no experience with gardening.
“I grew up in Brooklyn,” he said. “If I wanted green, I went to Prospect Park.”
Eventually, he installed an irrigation system, then took classes at the New York Botanical Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture. From there he got a master’s degree in landscape design at Columbia.
“I just thrived in it,” he said.
The Covid-19 pandemic isn’t the first time Haiman has navigated a tough economy. He got his master’s in 2009, during the peak of the financial crisis, and couldn’t land a job. He decided to go off on his own. He got his first gig designing a garden in Brooklyn for someone on the board of his childhood synagogue.
Sustainability is at the crux of Haiman’s business. He uses nontoxic materials that don’t hurt humans or bees and as many sustainable plants as possible, he said.
In September lawmakers called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to offer a tax abatement for property owners who install greenery on their building’s roof. So-called green roofs help the city by capturing stormwater runoff, reducing flood risks and helping cool buildings during hot weather.
“When we create gardens, we create a sense of order and stability,” Haiman said. “Nature is a great way of healing.”