Little Project, Large Challenge

Many projects become difficult just below the surface.

1423 Missouri is along a busy freeway. A tight infill site, its building renovation and addition will be leased to a few businesses.

Sideoats Grama and Yaupon Holly mingle

Now, the uncropped view.

the owner plans to add an advertising bench to this

Once into the design and committed to finish, I was told the owner is also in the billboard and bench ad business. Ugh.

Taking photos to miss the immense amount of visual clutter is nearly impossible, though in the previous photo, I chose an angle that somehow blocked half of what’s really visible. Do advertising people not get that any one sign or billboard is more difficult to read, the more there are?

More another time about the afterthought execution of the landscape installation, or the results of our city codes. Maybe…

But it still came out OK, with blood letting!

‘Brakelights’ Red Yucca going strong
Damianita atop both wall edges will bloom once it cools off
Policeman’s Dalea filling in fast in the top terrace

[Policeman’s Dalea is my favorite name for Dalea capitata ‘Sierra Gold’, and a colorful story]

The railroad cars on tracks behind the freeway are a welcome backdrop.

There were many more obstacles, but you probably get the idea that I don’t get to design much in my practice! Most of my time is lost on unnecessary but unavoidable tasks.

Do you know what goes into landscape design, no matter scale or simplicity?


8 Replies to “Little Project, Large Challenge”

  1. It did come out well! Those brake light hesperaloe are amazing! I wonder how do nurseries make them flower like this?

    This project is like a fine Swiss timepiece. Most people will not notice. But those that do recognize the craftsmanship, will be pleased.

    Thanks, and those that stop there and look that’s fine – better than causing a wreck, as the onramp is right there. Brakelights – my guess is they keep them at their high elevation lot near Willcox.


  2. Signs. He didn’t learn from Mrs Johnson. Love the yuccas. Why is it that my pink ones reach enormous heights and look really ugly. A change is needed I think. Why is Home Depot sticking adds on your posts?

    25 miles of El Paso ignored Lady Bird – ugh!! The pink ones need so much space or scale at times. I think WordPress rotates ads…Home Depot beats what I was told one time was raunchy…


  3. I hear ya about the signs….

    BUT….I imagine that space like most around here….similar static stuff but browny, turf grass, weedy, receding grass baldness, trampled and compacted earth….

    What you have done will survive and THRIVE.

    I LOVE it! And shade trees….

    This is amazing now and only gonna get better. I dig commercial stuff….gotta tell ya.

    Plus, from an irrigation stand point, standing ovation to you! This is drip, no doubt? Thinking about spray heads in skinny island grass beds…what a waste…

    I forgot to mention irrigation, but the contractor ignored my plan with 5-10 emitters at tree canopy edges…they added for some. Good thing it’s overplanted, so there’s more drip than usual:-) I had to sub most everything except the Buddleia marrubifolia and Bouteloua curtipendula…all working!

    THe trees were Chinese Pistache, substituted for something that I forget; the yaupons are in place of Mexican buckeyes. Thanks, I appreciate the encouragement.


  4. Looks like you’ve placed ample rewards for those who look down, rather than up at those hideous signs. I hope the future bench isn’t too obnoxious.

    Same here on the bench. They’ve been unable to rent this place, maybe it is the sign litter? Thanks, and I tried to reward!


  5. Short answer? No, I do not know that much about what goes into landscape design.

    Also? I’m betting when design is well done we nonprofessionals tend to enjoy and admire those spaces, being in them, using them, without much active thought for how the design enables and supports that. What we know is that we like the space and we like being there. When the design is not well done (or design is mostly absent) those spaces are more likely sped by, ignored, littered into, becoming self reinforcing wastelands.

    I’ll try not to say much more, since I don’t want to get depressed! You’re right, and I need to see it the way you describe much more. Of course, I learn much more from readers and comments than before I posted.

    When I was taking photos, a woman living nearby walked by and said “it really came out well. Looks good!” That’s what I must concentrate on.


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