Posts Tagged ‘plantings’

BY ANDREW LAVALLEE, FASLA

Warranties on plantings often seem reasonable. Until they aren’t.

FROM THE FEBRUARY 2019 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Most landscape architects are familiar with specifications about plant warranties. We often apply them without much thought because many consider it to be an industry standard practice. A typical plant warranty, usually lasting one or two years, requires the contractor to replace plantings that have died or appear to show unsatisfactory growth. Standard specification language often seems reasonable and enforceable. Until it isn’t—especially a few months after you thought the job was complete, or worse, after the end of the stated warranty period when the client calls upset that some of the plants are looking bad or are outright dead. Now comes the hard part. Whose responsibility is it if plants don’t succeed? Aren’t the dead or dying plants supposed to be covered by the warranty? If not, what was the warranty actually supposed to cover? These are all good questions that are symptomatic of a larger problem in the landscape industry. (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

The lago at Roberto Burle Marx’s Sítio, which he composed by eye from truckloads of species collected during his botanical expeditions. Image courtesy Julian Raxworthy.

It’s time for landscape architects to re-embrace what makes them fundamentally different.

 

Since its inception, it’s been hard to find much agreement in landscape architecture over the profession’s purpose and how it should work. For some contemporary designers, landscape architecture, in theory if a bit less in practice, is most visible when ecological systems are designed and deployed to remediate the earth, water, air, and biomes, often at an infrastructural scale. And yet, a profession wholly obsessed with infrastructure would seem to miss the trees for the forest.

The Australian landscape architect Julian Raxworthy posits a way forward in his new book, Overgrown: Practices Between Landscape Architecture and Gardening, published by The MIT Press. Landscape architects, he notes, have retreated from the defining element of their corner of the spatial world: the development and management of planting design. Plants, he argues, are defined by their growth over time and the maintenance used to train them. Gardeners (whose ranks Raxworthy once populated) haven’t lost track of this fact. Growth is landscape architecture’s fundamental currency. From there, he launches into a populist call to tear down the blue collar/white collar divide between gardeners and landscape architects. Raxworthy (who is headed to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after living in Cape Town, South Africa, for five years, teaching at the University of Cape Town) seems to admire messiness and rebellion against the bespoke and delicate. That preference is not surprising if you chat him up about his days as a music writer in the 1980s in Sydney, attending shows by Public Enemy and Dead Kennedys. Of one of his case study projects (created by a designer who never studied landscape architecture), he writes: “As a gardener rather than a landscape architect, the only plans Korte produced for the project were to satisfy the authorities. All other decisions arose organically through spending four years on site with a gang of four young German laborers who had returned from Brazil and smoked marijuana constantly. He looked back on this way of working with some nostalgia, saying that this time on site was the height of his career.” (more…)

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It’s the beginning of December, which means the latest issue of LAM is here! You’ll find these stories inside:

FOREGROUND

 Crisis Actors (Outreach)
In San Francisco, teams in the Resilient by Design challenge found that agitprop—an old Soviet-style publicity technique—still works in the Instagram age.

Pairings with Wine (Plants)
The horticulturist Sean Hogan brings a palette of low-water, high-interest plants to Argyle Winery.

Practice Makes Permeable (Tech)
A research project takes advantage of rapid prototyping with 3-D printers.

FEATURES

Here Comes Everybody
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates’ transformation of a postindustrial New York waterfront to the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge Park took two decades to realize. It was worth the wait.

Always Working
A constructed salt marsh at Pier 1 makes a beautiful defense.

How to Overstuff a Sterile Site
The plantings at Brooklyn Bridge Park follow a strategy of “exaggerated ecology.”

Softening the Sound
Noise reduction in the park takes the form of a mountain.

All this plus the regular Now and Goods columns. The full table of contents for December can be found here.

As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 700 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also buy single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio or order single copies of the print issue from ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options.

Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be posting December articles as the month rolls out.

Credits: “Here Comes Everybody,” Alex MacLean; “Always Working,” Lexi Van Valkenburgh; “Softening the Sound,” MVVA; “How to Overstuff a Sterile Site,” MVVA; “Pairings with Wine,” Doreenwynja.com Horticultural Photography; “Crisis Actors,” HASSELL+; “Practice Makes Permeable,” Matthew Arielly.

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BY ZACH MORTICE

 

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Sea Ranch, in Northern California, seems to have always existed, emerging from the Pacific Coast cliffs like sun-dappled lichens spread across the rocks. But it was like little else people had seen when it was built by a supergroup of designers, developers, and artists in the early 1960s.

A new website is pulling back the curtain on how this masterpiece came to be. “Journey to the Sea Ranch” holds more than 800 digitized images from the Environmental Design Archives of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Architectural Archives at the University of Pennsylvania to tell the story of how Sea Ranch was conceived and built. (more…)

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BY JANE BERGER

There’s a palm for just about any place you’re planting.

FROM THE JULY 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

You can’t always get what you want—unless, that is, you’re into palms. Lisa Gimmy, ASLA, of Lisa Gimmy Landscape Architecture in Los Angeles, finds palms uniquely suited to small gardens, given small root balls that leave “a very tiny footprint on the ground.” One that Gimmy likes to use is the blue hesper or Mexican blue palm (Brahea armata), native to Baja California, Mexico, with stunning, silvery-blue, fan-shaped fronds and creamy white flower clusters that cascade down from the leaves. Gimmy selects palms for spatial characteristics first, then for texture, leaf color, and the character of the trunk. “They are like poems,” she says. “With the head up in the air, there’s really nothing else like it.” Gimmy also likes palms because they provide “instant gratification, and that’s very important in Southern California.”

Ray Hernandez, the president of the International Palm Society, told me a story about a friend who drives from Long Island, New York, to Florida every year to pick up specimens that will last for just the summer season. “The folks that live out in the Hamptons and have 10 zeros behind their bank account can afford to haul up a coconut palm or something hardier and plant it in their landscape, and (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

Stoss’s greenway begins just south of the Gateway Arch, amid a tangle of freeways and rail lines. Image courtesy Stoss.

The Chouteau Greenway (pronounced “show-toe”), which is planned to run about five miles from Forest Park on St. Louis’s western edge to the newly rejuvenated Gateway Arch National Park at the Mississippi River, is not a park. It’s not even a park system. It’s a landscape-driven development strategy for an entire swath of the city. Its goal is to break down the city’s stark north-south racial divide by attracting St. Louisans from across a socioeconomic spectrum toward a corridor defined by a tangle of transit infrastructure. Along the way are some of the region’s most eminent education, medical, and cultural institutions.

The plan is led by the Great Rivers Greenway, a public agency that works to connect the city’s three rivers with a network of greenway trails (which currently measures 117 miles). It envisions these often desolate and transit-scaled corridors as a series of parks, memorials, trails, and art spaces that tell the cultural history of the city. The proposed greenway could put St. Louis’s two premier urban landscapes—and the city itself—on a new pedestal. But inspiration for the winning plan from the Great Rivers Greenway’s design competition, concluded earlier this month, draws from subtle histories.

The winning prescriptions, by Stoss, call for reviving ecologies long paved over and making visible the erased narratives of African American communities. “We wanted to use this project as an opportunity to unearth these buried histories,” says Stoss’s founding director, Chris Reed, FASLA. Especially in its treatment of the bulldozed African American neighborhood of Mill Creek Valley, (more…)

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BY ANNETTE WILKUS, FASLA

Large trees and steep slopes can work together—but it takes thought.

FROM THE APRIL 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

It’s interesting to watch the evolution of planting design alongside our profession’s affection for steep slopes. Using steep landforms allows us, as designers, to create dramatic rooms in small places. In any urban environment, the use of landform has become increasingly important to expanding our environment without increasing the square footage of its footprint. Slopes greater than 3:1 have become the sweetheart of the landscape architecture world—­and the steeper the better.

As space becomes smaller and landforms become steeper, clients are requesting larger plants that provide an instant landscape. The bigger the tree or shrub, the better. So we see a lot of enormous plants placed into sharp slopes as a standard practice.

In our practice, we’ve seen steep landforms become a challenge for contractors when installing large root balls, trying to establish the plants, and maintaining them during the warranty period. We’ve also seen misunderstandings among designers over the relationship between (more…)

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