One of our passions here at Landscape Art is being involved in projects that benefit the whole community. Sustainable park projects are a great way to add green space to urban areas and improve quality of life for our residents. The Ghirardi WaterSmart Park is a project we were involved in that we’re particularly proud of.
The Ghirardi WaterSmart Park is an open (passive) park that’s dedicated to teaching local residents how to conserve water on their own properties. The park’s noteworthy features include two cisterns that gather and store rainwater. A pump system pressurizes the saved water and sends it through an irrigation system that replenishes a green roof structure. Additionally, the park includes multiple rain gardens that act as natural filters as they process rainwater runoff through the root systems of a variety of beautiful bog plants. The rain gardens become part detention basin and part bio filter. The entire park serves as an example of what homeowners can achieve in their own landscapes on a smaller scale.
The 3-acre park also includes community garden areas, native plant gardens, play and picnic areas, trails and foot bridges. It’s the perfect place to spend time outdoors with the family or take a daily walk. Gardeners will love the native plant displays. An outdoor theater and classroom area turn this park into an active learning space. Education focuses on how to use native plants in home landscapes and water conservation.
Landscape Art, Inc was the General Contractor for this unique and innovative park. The Houston-Galveston Area Council awards certain projects each year as especially worthy of distinction. In 2014 they awarded this special project for Parks and Natural Areas greater than $500,000 to the City of League City and Landscape Art. And now the Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS) has bestowed the Innovations in Park and Facility Development Award for WaterSmart Park. What a wonderful accomplishment for a project that is a true treasure for the League City community!
To see more photos of this project, visit our Portfolio Page HERE.
The project was funded in part by the Texas Coastal Watershed Program who will use the park as a testing ground for the various storm water systems that were designed and installed. The results may prove the systems’ effectiveness and inform the way we deal with water issues in the future.
We are proud of our association with such an important project and to have such a beautiful park as the result. It’s also great to know that others share the same commitment to our local community as the Landscape Art family does. We look forward to more community projects in the future!
The revitalization of urban spaces in Houston is a central focus for us here at Landscape Art. When communities and local businesses join together to breathe life back into what were once abandoned spaces, the results are truly beautiful. Community parks hold a special place for us and we're proud to unveil our most recent project, the Mandell Park renovation.
Setting up for the grand opening of the the park, including the community garden, Meredith Gardens
Mandell Park is surrounded by Bonnie Brae, Mandell and Richmond Streets in Houston’s Museum District. The park has an area of 1.22 acres that was originally half residential and half commercial property. The City of Houston purchased the property in the 1980s with the intent of bulding a new public library. However, after finding another location, the site was abandoned and stood as a vacant lot for a number of years.
The ribbon cutting ceremony at Meredith Gardens
In 1992 the neighbors decided to take responsibilty for the site and established an organic community garden later named "Meredith Gardens". The community volunteers have maintained this garden beautifully ever since. Due to it's productivity, the garden has been designated an Urban Harvest Premier Garden. However, the park was really ready for some special attention and a facelift. The city needed help from the community to revitilize the area and so the Friends of Mandell Park came together to help The Houston Parks Board with the project. The Asakura Robinson design firm, the Houston Parks Board and Friends of Mandell Park all agreed that an emphasis on sustainabilty was crucial to the project.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker spoke at the event.
After a truly remarkable makeover, the park now includes an upgraded Meredith Gardens, with a labyrinth of raised masonry planters that will be used as community gardens. Mandel Park is crisscrossed with swales that provide a sophisticated, underground drainage system that doubles as a rain garden with an array of plantings. A recycled shipping container provides on-site storage and is topped with a living “Green Roof”. A large set of composting bins with an ingenious sliding cover enhances the community’s involvement and participation in sustainable practices.
The new community garden beds were designed as a labyrinth of stone planters.
Mandell Park and Meredith Gardens are now transformed into a beautiful community destination. We love seeing how the landscape, gardening and beauty are bringing the community together. Landscape Art is proud to have been the General Contractor for the is project and we’re particularly proud of Michelle Gerac the project manager. Give her a pat on the back the next time you see her. We hope you'll visit Mandell Park soon.
To see more photos of this wonderful project, visit our portfolio page HERE.
Detention basins have become a vital part of flood control strategies in the Houston area. Some communities and architects have developed creative methods of enhancing the basins and improving the community at the same time.
What exactly is a detention basin? Detention basins are areas created to collect excess stormwater and then hold it temporarily. After the heavy rainfall subsides, the water in the detention basin is then slowly drained once the water levels in the city's receiving channels have receded. Retention basins, on the other hand, are created for longer term or indefinite storage of storm water.
Many communities in the Houston area need detention basins in order to be safe from storm flooding; but these areas can often be an unattractive eyesore that is unusable for any other purpose. What do we do with them when it's not raining? Our goal here at Landscape Art is to help turn these eyesore areas into attractive and useable areas for the community, while still maintaining their use for storm water management.
The Westwillow community benefited from such an effort, with the construction of a large, fully-accessible playground and two dog parks inside a large detention area. We worked on the project with architect Michael Murr on this project for the West Harris County Municipal Utility District 11 The result is that an eyesore area, full of weeds and completely unusable, became an attractive, wonderful play area for kids, dogs and even adults. In the case of a dramatic rain event, the basin will fill up with storm water as designed, but the park is prepared to be fully submerged then, after the waters recede, cleaned up and used again and again.
This project also included a second playground, two miles of walking trails and landscaping enhancements throughout the community. This once unuseable detention basin has now become a highlight of the community and a space they can use interactively to enhance their lifestyle. You can see more photos in our Portfolio.
This park is a great example of how smart engineering and design can maximize the look and potential of urban spaces, without losing their original use and functionality. We're proud to have been a part of executing this amazing design and look forward to more innovative projects.
Here at Landscape Art, we regularly work on projects that involve master planned communities and neighborhoods. These communities often call for top-notch communial spaces that include plazas, parks, pools, playgrounds, pavilions and sometimes even splash parks. In one of our recent projects, we worked with Carlton Woods Creekside here in Houston to install a beautiful plaza to serve as a gathering space for residences.
Carlton Woods Creekside is the most exclusive gated section in the massive Woodlands master planned community. The neighborhood features the largest custom homes in the area and includes The Club at Carlton Woods and the Tom Fazio designed Championship Golf Course.
The project included clearing a wooded site and then constructing a large sunken plaza. The plaza is enveloped by both stone and brick pathways as well as stone retaining walls. Soft, natural and low-maintenance plantings surround the plaza giving it a lush welcoming feel. The plaza area is even complete with a spray ground feature.
The focal feature of the plaza is a large stately pavilion with a large fountain that overlooks the plaza from one end and mail kiosk from the other. The plaza area is flanked by a bathroom building, making this space complete for community events, ceremonies or just a lovely spot to rest during a daily walk. We even installed a large playground on the opposite end of the plaza. To complete the versatilty of the space, we installed two tennis courts with a seating area and a half basketball court.
As you can see in the photos, the entire area is kept private and secluded by the natural forest that surrounds the park. Nestled in the trees, the area is a perfect place for residents to relax or bring guests.
The project was constructed for The Woodlands Corporation with Bob Bruce as the owner's representative and Mark Grindell as the owner's site representative. Clark Condon Associates was the Landscape Architect and the design team leader, with Elizabeth Gilbert and Sheila Condon leading the charge. Landscape Art was the General Contractor with Andrew Walton as the project manager. D.L. Meacham and Monarch Pools were subcontractors, each contributing significantly to the project.
We've been very busy here at Landscape Art this year and we're couldn't be happier. Here at our new LA blog, we'll be showcasing our current completed or ongoing projects to give our readers a better idea of the type and scale of projects we handle here in Houston and surrounding areas.
Our first project hightlight is the Bridgepoint Bible Church. This thriving church on the west side of Houston wanted to create an oudoor plaza with a fountain and water feature that also served as a baptismal pool. They also wanted to improve the existing play area and create a new larger playground. The style of the church is very contemporary and so the landscape installation reflects this modern style.
The project included installing a significant storm water drainage system to mitigate problems with standing water behind the church. An expansive stone plaza was constructed between two existing buildings including a decorative fountain that can double as an outdoor baptismal. This area now serves as a welcoming site for members to gather and host events.
As you can see, the landscaping and materials complement both the style and colors fo the building. Steel blues, gray and charcoal colors are reflected in the stone work and the plantings. The masses of beautiful blue Agapanthus and white crapemyrtles sofen the contemporary design. The cool color scheme of both the building materials and plantings creates a soothing peacful feel for the space. Despite lush look of the plantings, they are all low-maintenance and well-adapted to the Houston climate.
The existing play area was enhanced and a large, three-level playground installed. The congregation's children now have a safe and incredibly fun playground in which to burn off some steam while their parents catch up with other members. The landscaping concept was to provide a natural feel, so many trees and plants were included around and even within the playground areas. Decomposed Granite pathways connect the various features and a state-of-the-art irrigation control system was installed to update the entire facility. The layout and flow of the entire design perfectly envolopes the church building itself and creates a welcoming environment.
The project was constructed for Bridgepoint Bible Church with Tony Gregory, Karen Gregory and Mark Stewart as the owner's representatives. Clark Condon Associates was the Landscape Architect and Beth Clark was the CCA representative. Landscape Art was the General Contractor with Jason Ward as the project manager. Hoggatt, L.P. and Monarch Pools were subcontractors, each contributing significantly to the project.
Please take a moment to view some of our other projects for institutions and organizations HERE. If yo'd like to receive our monthly E-newsletter with updates on our project work, you can sign up HERE.