Walking to a Park

After enjoying breakfast and walking a neighborhood I may move to, I visited a tiny park missed on cross-town drives.

Mostly bullet-proof plants for Las Cruces’ arid Zone 8 were used.

LushLeanPark1-Front1a-SMLLushLeanPark1-Front1b-SMLLushLeanPark1-Front2-SML

The ubiquitous Chilopsis linearis and Fallugia paradoxa are near a small, cobbled swale, plus a sturdy, appealing upright Juniperus and a few unidentified Opuntia with a healthy dose of cochineal.

Nothing exciting for the hoarder collector of what nobody else has.

Though for the realities of a public space, these are appealing and tough plant choices. There are also inviting, shaded places to sit. The economical site furnishings and colors are a plus.

This park demonstrates good plants in a harmonious composition, and there is a healthy amount of shade using trees that thrive here.

.

Now, onto the concerns I have, though I won’t refine or redo the design in this post; I get paid for that kind of gig.

You can call me “Captain Obvious”.

LushLeanPark1-Front3-SML

1. Most of this park doesn’t demonstrate the “lush” part of the title, nor is there adequate relationship between water harvesting and a denser planting, or even fragrance and sound, which could compliment.

2. This was a light traffic day, but this street is often busy. Being a medium-sized agricultural town, picture the sound of huge pickup trucks all day, many missing a muffler.

LushLeanPark1-Front4a-SML

LushLeanPark1-Front4b-SML

Wouldn’t visual buffering or softening of Spruce Street be in order? Either plants died or also likely plants were removed due to the loud words of a few misguided folks unable to balance safety and aesthetics. That view needs better psychological separation; screening with reasonable visibility. Balance!

3. Don’t demonstrate over-maintaining and ugliness with such pruning. Who wants to lose winter interest or seasonal flowering, and get less for more money?

This pruning and hot siting of Nandina…ugh. But the use of Calliandra…more of that in such a spot!

LushLeanPark1-Front5-SMLLushLeanPark1-Front6-SMLWith my main criticisms, for a low cost and maintenance public space on unusable land, this is mostly a good greeting from 35 mph.

With more thought, it could become stunning from the front.

.

Other functions are in back along a small side street: a permeable DG area to park vehicles, plus an easily-irrigated Bermudagrass lawn.

LushLeanPark1-Back1-SML

When I wrote “bullet-proof” at the beginning of this post, you knew there had to be a yucca.

This time, here’s a single Yucca rostrata, which our 4,000 ft elevation sweet spot grows better than most. Phoenix and Tucson have native saguaros and palo verdes, Austin and central / south Texas have non-native but adapted agaves galore, so naturally we have our own spiky choices to provide power.

Cliche and heavily-used, sure…worthy, definitely.

LushLeanPark1-Back2-SMLLushLeanPark1-Back3-SML

Near the sidewalk, the few Salvia greggii are declining. Perhaps that’s due to over-pruning, too small of drip emitters or under-watering, or too much late afternoon heat in summer from improper siting.

Everything else is common but tough; mostly native within 200 miles, 1000′ in elevation, and is low water-use.

I do tougher critiques on my own array of projects, so all I’ve related on this small park adds up to “good job”.

.

2 blocks across Spruce Street. Will I or will I not buy this adobe, with a high asking price for the neighborhood and tight interior spaces?

LushLeanPark1-HsePoss1-SML

The cobalt blue sky is included, though. Stay tuned.

.

12/1/17 weather: 62 / 44 / 0.00

Advertisements

Minimal With Warmth

The title sums up when I create a garden space, in the way many larger clients like Tenet require more for less, here at the new Transmountain hospital.

Sometimes less is more.

You pick. Minimal with impact? Or just subtle impact?

TransmtnHosp-SimplePlntDes02a_2017-10-09-SMLTransmtnHosp-SimplePlntDes02b_2017-10-09-SML

Yucca rostrata and Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’, companions in the Chihuahuan Desert below the Big Bend, are united here.

Not naturalistically, but rather, with the architecture of the space, visibilities, and negative space.

To think, this success involves “a yucca and rock”, but with shrubby companions to add warmth to the scene. Those into minimalism or modernism only need to warm up and humanize their spare scenes.

Some can do it, others can’t.

.

I rarely find that less is less, or more is more. It’s really about how one does either. But I’m not a hobbyist or collector!

TransmtnHosp-SimplePlntDes03_2017-10-09-SMLTransmtnHosp-SimplePlntDes04_2017-10-09-SMLTransmtnHosp-SimplePlntDes05_2017-10-09-SMLTransmtnHosp-SimplePlntDes07_2017-10-09-SMLTransmtnHosp-SimplePlntDes06_2017-10-09-SML

Desert skies and mountain vistas don’t hurt, either.

.

11/20/17 weather: 67 / 30 / 0.00

Place to Rest

With a little extra budget and thought, any landscape can become a garden to pause within.

That’s part of why various state transportation departments landscape their freeways. When there’s congestion, drivers have ample opportunity to stop – all 8 lanes – and experience a garden.

So do hospital visitors – photos from 10/9/17.

TransmtnHosp-SittingAreaN04_2017-10-09-SML

As the mesquite tree and plantings mature, they will provide quite the pleasant spot seated on either concrete seat wall, to pause and take in the grand view from mountains to valley.

.

On the other side of the building, seat walls provide architectural definition to the blue site tables and planters with New Mexico Olive trees.

TransmtnHosp-SittingAreaE01_2017-10-09-SMLTransmtnHosp-SittingAreaE03_2017-10-09-SML

This was a challenging project from a time standpoint, and I hope those driving the schedule can re-evaluate this, instead of figure out how to construct something of this scale as fast or faster next time!

I’m always in awe of watching a general contractor and subs of this quality put it all together with normal time frames. Two highly-seasoned superintendents told me they have never been involved with or even heard of such a project scale going in nearly this fast.

Thanks, Robins & Morton, and notably on my work, Joe Aguilar and Accent Landscape Contractors.

Their efficiency and support are why small details became reality, such as site furnishings and hardscape accents. Those features benefit each space, though not required by the city.

.

Back to the front of the hospital, these seat walls are located at a future Sun Metro bus stop, or a place to sit while waiting on your ride.

TransmtnHosp-SittingAreaN01_2017-10-09-SML

Or to just take photos for your blog or portfolio.

This being a windy area of town, the Bull Muhly grasses usually sway back and forth. No matter the hardscape and site furnishings, appropriate plantings are a must.

TransmtnHosp-SittingAreaN02_2017-10-09-SMLTransmtnHosp-SittingAreaN03_2017-10-09-SML

11/12/17 weather: 76 / 45 / 0.00