As a nod to All Hallows festivities this week, we thought it would be fun to offer up a gallery of landscape design fiascos to make your skin crawl. We're calling it.....
Scary things that can happen when you don't hire a landscape architect.
Ghosts of Systems Past
Above, a 30-year conglomeration of various pipe and fitting types, stuck together like beads on an underground ‘necklace’ that won’t even hold water. According to the landscape architect who snapped the photo, this piecemeal assembly fell apart at the mere touch of a hand. Detailed professional irrigation design saves water, time, and money.
Your contractor might take the name “Chokecherry” too literally.
According to experts, Prunus absolutely thrives when planted in extremely hot exposures with a minimum asphalt cover of 2” within the dripline of the tree. Not! A truly unprofessional installer will take measures to ensure that girdling at base of trunk occurs within two years of planting -- should the tree happen to survive that long.
Sprinkler Head Spacing That’s Absolutely Deranged
Smart designers say that when planting perennial bulbs you should simply toss a handful in the air and plant them where they fall so as to achieve more random, natural spacing. Looks like someone got confused and tried this technique with spray heads. That last tenant’s dry spot doesn’t stand a chance!
Maybe Dr. Seuss didn’t write horror stories, but the poor tree at left looks like it was perched on by an elephant. Despite valiant efforts by the property owner to install a ‘Seussian’ support of stacked CMU block (look again in the shadow), there’s nothing like a landscape architect when it comes to choosing the right plant for the right place. An LA will do this, one-hundred percent!
Weed barrier? More like root enhancer.
At first glance this almost looks like a damaged stretch of PVC conduit spilling its irrigation-valve-wire guts, but no -- it’s Virginia Creeper extraordinaire!
Despite the weed barrier material, that creeper just kept right on creeping until it found a place to surface. A good reason to rethink weed barrier in organic situations.
Power Company Topiary at its Finest
What was I saying about right plant, right place? Design it well the first time or your local utility's pruning crew will step in to work a little magic of their own. Kind of like Edward Scissorhands, but with less amazing results.
If trees had emotions, the triptych below marks an interesting progression.
A Nightmare on Any Street
Remember Little Red Riding Hood? That string of Friday the 13th films? Scary things can happen in the woods.
Plant without the guidance of a landscape architect and you just might end up living in a deep dark forest of your own. This yard was beloved by its owners when first planted, but they neglected to leave room for future plant growth. Now that the trees have matured several years, it seems the residents may soon require the services of a kindly woodsman to access their front door.
In planting design, there’s a balance between achieving a sense of fullness and completion at time of planting and setting yourself up to be overrun by your own landscape. Plants grow, after all, and sometimes when you’re getting started the end product is hard to imagine. For more discussion on landscapes as they mature and how to plant so your yard will look great ten years down the road, check out this article by Chuck Edwards, ASLA, our lead residential designer.
All-out Anarchy of Basic Infrastructure
If you don’t hire a landscape architect your streetscape might self-destruct.
Just kidding. This is actually public art -- spotted in Paris circa turn-of-the-last-millennium.
It's also a great reminder that landscape architecture reaches beyond planting and irrigation design to include site planning, streetscapes and urban plazas, selection of furnishings and paving materials, site lighting, grading and drainage design, and a longer list of related specialties than a girl can name here.
Now that Breckon landdesign has civil engineering in house we are thrilled to offer fully integrated, comprehensive site design solutions under one roof. From our new office building (if you haven’t heard already, we moved!) that, so far, does not seem to be haunted.
Posted by Kim Warren