Hot Date in Vegas – Pt. 1

Date Street, silly! It’s a project I served as the LA on, as part of a contractor-led design-build team for the federal government’s Bureau of Reclamation. And it’s just outside Las Vegas, during a heat wave in already-hot June.

Get it? Get it?? From 6/23/2015 –

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only Mojave Desert natives near the entry gate

Parking lots are a necessary evil, especially without enough budget and space for many more shade trees. I would have preferred a medium-sized tree for every 4-5 spaces, set into parking space-sized depressed basins, for all 5″ of yearly precipitation to flow into. But that would take out many needed spaces.

At least nursery-grown-from-seed Joshua Tree / Yucca brevifolia are establishing nicely; so is the dotting of White Bursage / Ambrosia dumosa, with some Creosote Bush / Larrea tridentata, to buffer the lot’s east side.

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lower Mojave arroyo plants on the west side of #200

More on the execution, substitute plants and maintenance another time; this area’s function is similar to an arroyo, handling and absorbing runoff, hence Desert Willow / Chilopsis linearis, grasses, and shrubs.

Do you see a pattern here, or with my work? Desert willow, mesquite, desert shrubs, and so on.

It’s partly nursery supplier limits and partly what works. Each project is a similar application of similar plants, but because of each unique site’s character, they don’t come out the same. Here, it’s industrial – modern, and in the Mojave Desert – even drier than where I live in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Someday, you’ll be able to sit on that board-formed wall in morning shade.

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the accessibllity ramp to #200 required that tree shade become shrubs

So, the mesquites and desert willows became more creosotes with grasses at the bottom. There’s barely 10′ of width at the bottom, plus underground infrastructure like drainage pipes and utilities, so trees would be futile.

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‘Blue Glow’ Agave and large, reddish granite rock a good pairing

Not to worry, the spiky plants are in a raised area, safe from “conflicts”.

Did I say it was down to 105F when I stopped by?

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the Bermuda lawn at #100 still lacks both “big ash” trees to be complete

Those would be once-valley-native Arizona Ash / Fraxinus velutina. I’m told both trees are being grown from cuttings taken off the remaining Date Street #100 tree, once a duo of ash trees in the original 1930’s planting.

Arborist Dennis Swartzell consulted for the general contractor, and that tree was determined to be in decline, unlikely to survive after required security bollards were built in the root zone. It was removed.

That slope should stay more moist and the lawn edge more lush, once it gets afternoon shade.

Some personnel wanted a thirsty fescue lawn, instead – this is the most common turf used in Las Vegas. Is it any wonder Lake Mead is near a historic low level, plus drought?

Westerners can do much more, to be at a greater balance with the desert – still grow and advance, still have loads of wildlife and human habitat. More pleasant places to live, that give more than take.

Hence I’m a conservationist, not an environmentalist or exploiter. Balance.

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soon, a tree-shaded breezeway between #100 and #200

Simple, modern, and pleasant. Function to let the occasional motorized cart drive through, with form and greenery to let people and songbirds enjoy a break. Like elsewhere on this project, the architect and I placed the seat walls so people could interact, or be alone.

In your area, how do you see the need for development balanced with pleasant spaces – even if small? Solutions?

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