If you’ve checked in at our blog and website lately, you’ve probably noticed a theme...we love working on public green spaces! Last month we featured the Ghirardi WaterSmart Park, which we worked on in conjunction with TBG Partners Inc. and the Texas Coastal Watershed Program. This month we’re happy to showcase a new community improvement project in the East Aldine District of Houston.
The East Aldine District knew that to improve their community, they needed to give their public areas a green makeover. The look of public spaces such as these are proven to have an impact on surrounding property values. When public spaces are improved and well-maintained, the entire neighborhood benefits. East Aldine decided to make a number of aesthetic enhancements, including creating many low-maintenance plantings and hardscape features; that’s where Landscape Art stepped up to help with the project.
Welcome to East Aldine!
The community features multiple intersections and esplanades, but they were mostly just eyesores and wasted space. The community decided that in order to reinvigorate the area, they needed to beautify the public spaces with new landscaping. The goal was to improve the curb appeal and make walking through the community much more enjoyable.
We installed decomposed granite covered garden beds filled with trees, brick path walking areas and edging plus a variety of ornamental grasses, blooming perennials and shrubs that are easy to maintain and can stand up to the Texas heat. All plantings are low-water use in order to conserve resources and keep the areas looking their best.
Trees increase the value of the community by helping to keep the air clean, provide habitat for wildlife, and improve the beauty of the esplanades.
The now clean, precise lines of the pavers combined with the soft beauty of the plantings provide an almost formal garden effect that completely changes the appearance of the area.
A variety of perennials, ornamental grasses and low growing shrubs create a welcoming and engaging scene for passersby.
We think you’ll agree that the changes are magnificent. These once-neglected spaces will now brighten the day of passersby and improve the overall perception of value of the neighborhood. We are always excited to be a part of projects that greatly improve the lives of those who live there! Visit our portfolio page for more photos of this project.
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.