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Posts Tagged ‘Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’

BY ANNE RAVER

Studio Outside coaxes many landscapes from one neglected ranch.

FROM THE MAY 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

There’s a journey-like feeling to this landscape, both in space and time, as the path curves through dense stands of red cedar and yaupon holly, then out to open savanna, dotted with live oaks and groves of post oaks.

“You can’t really understand these landscapes and the plants on the surface until you understand the underlying soil types and drainage patterns,” said Tary Arterburn, FASLA, a founding principal of Studio Outside, one sunny cool morning in early November.

“It’s sand, sand, and sand,” said Amy Bartell, a project manager at Studio Outside, who has spent countless hours on site here. She knows where the fine clayey sands of the Southern Blackland Prairie to the west finger into the coarser sands of the Northern Humid Gulf Coastal Prairie to the east.

The Dallas-based firm first walked the 132-acre property in 2015 to assess (more…)

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Stone Brewing World Bistro & Cardens, San Diego, a one-star SITES pilot project by Schmidt Design Group.

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, San Diego, a one-star SITES pilot project by Schmidt Design Group.

Today is a big day for what has long been known as the Sustainable Sites Initiative, now known as SITES, the rating system for developing sustainable landscapes. SITES is now under the administration of Green Business Certification Inc., or GBCI, based in Washington, D.C., which also runs the LEED rating system for buildings, after which SITES is modeled.

With this acquisition, GBCI is now taking applications for certifying landscape projects under the SITES v2 Rating System, and will also administer professional credentialing for the program.

SITES, begun a decade ago, was developed in a collaboration among the American Society of Landscape Architects (the publisher of LAM), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden. ASLA and UT, the owners of SITES, have transferred full ownership to GBCI. Its purpose is to guide development projects of all scales, from residential gardens to national parks, toward rigorous measures of stewardship for land and other resources. SITES certification criteria—refined through expert advice from professionals in numerous disciplines, case study examples, and more than 100 pilot projects—account for environmental factors in landscape design such as water use, stormwater handling, wildlife and habitat protection, air quality, and energy use, as well as human health and recreation. Forty-six projects so far have earned SITES certification. (ASLA members are eligible for discounts on all SITES materials and certification.)

“It’s exciting to see years of work developing and field-testing SITES culminate with the availability of this rating system,” said Frederick R. Steiner, FASLA, the dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin.

Nancy Somerville, Honorary ASLA, the executive vice president and CEO of ASLA, said: “GBCI will take SITES to the next level and ensure its future growth and influence.”

A full news release on the SITES acquisition can be found here. For more information, visit sustainablesites.org.

Credit: Schmidt Design Group Inc.

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BY THOMAS CHRISTOPHER

Unmown "Habiturf" looks soft and slightly tousled. Photo: Mark Simmons, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Unmown “Habiturf” looks soft and slightly tousled. Photo: Mark Simmons, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

From the May 2014 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Clipped-grass turf is the most heavily used material in most American landscapes. The NASA researcher Cristina Milesi used satellite imagery to estimate that lawn occupies some 49,000 square miles of the United States, and it’s increasing by roughly 600 square miles per year, according to a study conducted by Paul Robbins and Trevor Birkenholtz of Ohio State University’s Department of Geography.

Yet, since the 1950s, landscape architects have typically ceded decisions concerning this vast area to turf-industry technicians. Turf became an industrial product after World War II. Which grass to use was dictated by mowers, sprayers, blowers, and spreaders, and choices were limited to a very few varieties of grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and hybrid Bermuda grasses (Cynodon spp.), that lent themselves to chemical maintenance. Today, though, new alternatives are emerging that landscape architects can use to create healthier and more aesthetically dynamic models for what a domestic grassland can be—a source of environmental renewal rather than an ecological villain. It will also please the increasing numbers of clients who dislike not only the sterile monotony of conventional turf and its high maintenance costs, but also, more critical, the threat that the required maintenance chemicals pose to kids, animals, and communities.

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