Dementia Green Care Handbook

Dementia Green Care Handbook image: Garuth Chalfont
Dementia Green Care Handbook
image: Garuth Chalfont

As a contribution to the growing body of knowledge and expert guidance on the design and use of outdoor spaces for people with dementia, this handbook addresses the growing need for spaces to be actively used by residents and service users for therapeutic benefit. This handbook resulted from the ‘Therapeutic Dementia Care’ research and design project. In this project, particular attention was paid to the needs of people with dementia and distressed behavior. Hence, the focus is on care environments for nursing, residential, and enhanced day support.

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The Scoop on Sand and Play

image: Chad Kennedy
image: Chad Kennedy

Day trips to the beach, a play date at the local playground, or an afternoon in the volleyball pit always seem to result in perpetual cleanup efforts. Despite efforts to avoid or contain them, sand grains spontaneously appear anywhere and everywhere. It often seems impossible to clean all the sand out of shoes, clothes, towels, hair, toes, and ears. Even the gritty texture of rogue sand grains in the mouth is proof that sand has a special way of impacting life’s routines. Despite the sometimes necessary, and often aggravating, cleanup efforts, research has shown play in sand to be very valuable for the development of young children. Sand can also benefit play areas by way of safety and user comfort. As is usually the case, however, sand is not a perfect media for all play conditions. The use of it comes with a few simple cautions. Each of these topics warrant further discussion and are addressed below.

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Soil Biology is Essential for the Landscape to Function – Part 2

National Mall Soil in Washington, DC image: Barrett Kays
National Mall Soil in Washington, DC
image: Barrett Kays

In Soil Biology – Part 1, I discussed how to manage soil biology across a landscape to promote denitrification to reduce the amount of nitrogen in stormwater or groundwater.  In Part 2, I will discuss how soil biology and soil wetness cause changes in the colors of the soil profile.

Why are these color features important to landscape architects?  If you want to design planting or restoration plans that are in harmony with nature and produce the results you want, you need to understand the spatial pattern of soil wetness across a landscape.  You can do this by viewing the color features in the soils.  In addition to the spatial pattern, it allows you to know the rise and fall of a shallow water table under your site.

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Restoring the Home Landscape

Outdoor fire pit and seating area made from repurposed stone photo by Margot Taylor
Outdoor fire pit and seating area made from repurposed stone
image: Margot Taylor

A budding spring day was a welcome setting for the recent ceremony on May 2, 2013 to honor the Taylor Residence, a newly-certified SITES™ pilot, and the first residential project in the country to earn 3 star certification as part of the SITES Pilot Program. Located in the horticultural epicenter known as the Brandywine Valley and Delaware River watershed, the 1.69 acre residential property and former dairy farm in Kennett Township, Pennsylvania, earned recognition from SITES for its successful application of sustainable strategies including preserving native woodlands and hillside vegetation, designing innovative stormwater management and conveyance systems, and the creative reuse of soils, plants, and construction materials.

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Digital Sandbox: a new mentoring paradigm?

The Landscape Architecture Sampler: have students ever wondered what it might be like to work here, in the Empty Quarter, in Southwest Asia? image: Flaherty
The Landscape Architecture Sampler: have students ever wondered what it might be like to work here, in the Empty Quarter, in Southwest Asia?
image: Flaherty

Mentoring needs digital facilitation.

This is a brief review of how time, cost, and quality issues have impacted education and the practitioners’ offices in the past decade or so.  Schools have been pressured to streamline, yet teach more.  Practitioners’ offices have been pressured to help with education, yet reduce overheads.  Who loses?  Everybody, especially the students. Though internships help, they only give a narrow window for viewing and learning over a short period of time.  I contend that the pressures, both in education and also in practitioners’ offices, combine to negatively influence the next generation of landscape architects.  The students end up poorly informed and weak when it comes to two critical categories: what they want to do and how can they reach that goal.

The weakness comes from an insufficient understanding of how the profession works, how a project evolves, and how the work advances over time in the practitioners’ offices.  This is not a new problem, but it is an exacerbated problem these days.  How to correct this?  Digitally facilitated mentoring.

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Futuristic Preservation

Study model for the Living Museum at Atturaif, a UNESCO World Heritage site northwest of Riyadh and site of the Saudi capital in the 18th century  image: Ayers Saint Gross Inc.
Study model for the Living Museum at Atturaif, a UNESCO World Heritage site northwest of Riyadh and site of the Saudi capital in the 18th century
image: Ayers Saint Gross Inc.

Point Cloud Surveys of Historic Landscapes

When the US Secretary of the Interior first introduced the Standards and Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation: HABS/HAER  in 1983, Ronald Reagan was in the White House and most of us did not yet know how to type—let alone know how to work on a PC.  This document was formulated in a pre-digital age and is, not-surprisingly, pre-digital in orientation; specifying such parameters for the documentation of historic structures as the use of black and white photography, the requisite submission of film negatives and consistency of hand-lettering.  Today, some of the specific requirements seem almost quaint: “Level I measured drawings will be lettered mechanically (i.e., Leroy or similar) or in a hand printed equivalent style.”  Incidentally, these standards served as a prototype for the Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS) when it was initiated in 2000.

In the decades since 1983, we have witnessed a revolution in Information Technology.  It has resulted in fundamental changes to the way that disciplines such as landscape architecture and history are practiced.  In the 1990s, Computer-Aided Design transformed the workflow of landscape architectural practice from design and documentation through construction.  A second wave of transformation has arrived with Building Information Management (BIM) / Site Information Management (SIM) applications and is beginning to transform the roles of designer and contractor in project delivery.  In the study of history today, the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for research and analysis is not uncommon.  Other new technologies and software applications are now emerging with the potential to transform a wide array of disciplines from ecology to historic preservation.   What follows is a discussion of one of these tools in particular—the digital “Point Cloud Survey”—and a review of its use in the context of a preservation and adaptive reuse project in Saudi Arabia.

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Sustainable Campus Landscapes: LEED or SITES™?

The Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on the Duke University campus image: Rick Fisher Photography
The Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Duke University campus
image: Rick Fisher Photography

For those of you who have been contemplating the connections between sustainable campus planning and landscape design; then wondering how the rating systems relate…this is for you.

Mark Hough, ASLA, Duke University, has written an article that is posted in the April 2013 issue of College Planning & Management that discusses the differences between LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), their strengths and weaknesses relative to campus work, and their potential for the future.  I for one had never really taken the time to understand what Mark has so easily laid out.  While my focus still continues to be on whole campus planning, systems, issues, and sustainable problem solving – as opposed to site-specific thinking and scoring – I agree that there is much to be learned from both LEED and SITES.

Creating Sustainable Campus Landscapes by Mark Hough, ASLA
(this links to the entire magazine.  To quickly jump to the article, click the title in the lower right hand corner of the cover)

by Cathy Blake, ASLA, Stanford University