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Landscape Design

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Retro Playgrounds

Becky

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Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard today when I saw this post over on the fabulous Modern Kiddo. I don’t even have kids but I read that blog because Alex and Dottie are so clever and hilarious – it always gives me a dash of happy. Those darn safety standards and insurance companies have made so many modern playgrounds SO BORING. For any of you old enough to remember the days when there was no such thing as a bike/ski/skateboarding helmet, reading their post will bring back fond (?) memories of burning your bum on a sun-drenched metal slide.

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Monday, June 7th, 2010

Inspiration Monday: The High Line

Becky

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Ah, The High Line. After years of following this project, from the fight to save it to the competition to the completion of part one, I FINALLY got to set foot on it! I’m so happy. This design is so genius, it might just be my favorite landscape architecture project of all time. In fact, at the moment, I can’t even remember what my old favorite was, isn’t that terrible?
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What’s so great about The High Line? Where to begin? I loved looking down on it from the 16th floor of The Standard. I loved seeing it from the street and thinking “I have GOT to get up there pronto!” I loved experiencing the city from that level, at eye-level with billboards, elevated cars, seeing building facades from a different height. I loved that at first glance one might be fooled into thinking the plantings were wild, but then upon seeing them seeing that they were carefully curated and that unseen maintenance was occurring. I loved all the different options for seating – some amphitheater style, some bistro tables, some lovely benches, some in the middle of a small grove.
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I loved the mix of materials and the overall railroad industrial aesthetic, and I especially loved the metal tracks that remained and reminded visitors what the history of this place was all about – better yet, I loved where the tracks veered off on little side exits into brick walls, which reminded me of the entire industrial system that used to exist – the rail cargo having a direct entrance into the factory buildings. When we all try to be greener, we should think of this true door-to-door delivery where a product could go from the source to the destination in one trip.
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Another thing that’s so interesting is that at one point in urban planning, skywalks were installed everywhere. This move was later blamed for the demise of street life in these areas. Conversely, the elevated public space of The High Line has made the neighborhood even more desirable and drawn even more business down at the street level on up. I’m nuts for this project. If you are too, you should become a friend of The High Line.

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Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Inspiration Monday: Gertrude Jekyll Gardens

Becky

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Sorry for the very late start to inspiring you today – I cannot seem to get anything right this morning/afternoon! I’m going to brush that off and get started with a little inspiration. For some of us, spring has been teasing. Here in Atlanta, all of the daffodils and cherry blossoms are in full bloom, but there were teeny tiny snow flurries this morning. Perhaps we could all use “The Secret” and start planning our gardens to speed things up again. O.K. I’m kidding, I think “The Secret” is really cheesy, but I’ll roll with it.

Gertrude Jekyll was a brilliant English garden designer. She was a master at applying color theory to the composition of gardens. I have this book by Richard Bisgrove, where he has combed through thousands of her plans (there are very few remaining Jekyll gardens as she passed away in 1932) and reinterpreted them. Here are just a few examples of how you can plan out beautiful color combinations in your garden. Oh, and here’s a link to the book, The Gardens of Gertrude Jekyll by Richard Bisgrove. If you like to have a few garden tomes to flip through for inspiration around your home, this one is a must-buy for your library.

all images from the above-mentioned book; photography by Andrew Lawson.

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Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Around the Web: The Late Show Garden

Becky

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Photo by: Saxon Holt/PhotoBotanic

I was flipping through the latest issue of Garden Design the other day and The Late Show Gardens jumped off the page at me. It’s a garden show in Sonoma that starts with sustainable design as a no-brainer base and creates art from it. For example, plants that cleanse contaminated water and soil help shape thoughtful spaces. Peruse the whole shebang over at gardendesign.com, if you are not convinced, here’s a little teaser!

Photo by Mitch Maher

all photos via gardendesign.com

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Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

In Memorium: Lawrence Halprin Dies at 93

Becky

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I was sad to hear of Lawrence Halprin’s passing on Sunday night. He was one of my favorite landscape architects. For eleven years, I lived in Charlottesville Virginia and was able to enjoy the Halprin-designed Downtown Mall. I could go on about his best-known projects, like Ghiradelli Square or the FDR Memorial, but my very favorite design of his is Lovejoy Plaza in Portland, OR, and a glance at his sketchbook pages tell you all you need to know about why his designs work so well. Without weighing us down with a bunch of archispeak gibberish, we can follow the idea from it’s initial contextual inspirations to the final product:


I should have known when I went to find a picture of Lovejoy Plaza on flickr that my favorite one would have been taken by Ken McCowen. To see more beautiful images of Halprin’s work taken by Ken, click here.

Halprin was that perfect combination of conscientious urban problem solver who understood natural processes. He did such an artful job of understanding the greater context of a place and bringing his interpretations of ecology into cities in an artful way. Lovejoy Park is a perfect example of this. He contributed so much to the American landscape; whether helping to heal the gash a freeway cut through a neighborhood in Seattle or protecting the land by leaving a soft footprint at Sea Ranch. He will be missed.

For more information on the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, click here.

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