WLAM | Landscape Architecture Myth Busting – Part 2

Part 2: More myth-busting as we continue to address common misconceptions about landscape architecture.

Myth #3. Density means eliminating urban green space

FALSE: We can have both density & greener, healthier cities

Larger, denser cities are cleaner and more energy efficient than smaller, suburban towns. Suburban and rural towns may have immediate access to open space and wildlands outside city limits because of their more dispersed organization, but large cities can emulate natural ecologies.

Street trees, courtyards, green roofs and living walls, along with botanic gardens and parks provide a network of outdoor spaces that enhance the biological diversity of our cities and help provide essential infrastructure. This framework of planted spaces is able to capture and treat urban run-off, lower temperatures, improve air quality and provide resilience against climate change. Gardens and community farms also provide food and improve human health.

At CJM::LA, we help make our cities healthier and greener by advocating for more planting and functional outdoor space, especially in our densest multi-family housing projects; designing public parks, paseos, and green roofs; and improving city streetscapes.

transplanted Mexican fan palms line the stairs at Bella Riviera workforce homes in Santa Barbara, CA

plant pockets and climbing vines beautify the drive aisles at the East Beach Collection in Santa Barbara, CA  | architect: WHA

live roof at the Hilton Garden Inn in Goleta, CA

textural plantings line the sidewalk at the Arlington Village apartments in downtown Santa Barbara, CA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

entry plantings at homes designed for Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County in downtown Santa Barbara, CA

citrus trees within over-structure planters create a beautiful courtyard at Bella Riviera workforce homes

mediterranean plantings within raised planters help create opportunities for outdoor seating

neighborly gifts grown in downtown Santa Barbara, CA

Myth #4. Planting shouldn’t be done in a drought because plants use water

FALSE: Drought resilience is improved by planting smarter & better managing water resources

During a prolonged drought, there is less available water in the natural ecosystem, which negatively impacts human food and water security. Less water available in aquifers and other natural water bodies means less water for the agricultural industry and for our cities.

Landscape architects provide drought resilience by designing systems to comprehensively and efficiently manage water resources. By implementing bioretention basins, rainwater cisterns, efficient irrigation, greywater recycling and use of climate-adapted and native plants, we optimize our water resources and reallocate the potable water supply for drinking use.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but plants improve our ability to resist the impacts of drought by improving soil health, allowing soils to better capture and store water. Plants also sequester carbon, lower air temperatures, and if used in applications like green roofs, reduce building energy use and reduce the urban heat island effect. We shouldn’t eliminate plants because they use water. Instead, we should be smarter about how we supply plants with water and which plants we elect to use.

Want more info? See these additional links about drought resilience and using green infrastructure to mitigate the impacts of other hazards, like wildfires and climate change.

bioretention plants treat stormwater runoff at the Direct Relief headquarters in Santa Barbara, CA.

Myth #5. All landscape architects have beards.

TRUE. See what our team has to say about their facial hair.


Does your beard prefer using pencil, pens, or markers?
Prismacolor Col-Erase pencil in Carmine Red for drawing and Chartpak AD Markers for filling in those greys! – Courtney Jane Miller, PLA, ASLA


How does your beard help you professionally?
It takes notes during meetings, reminds me about upcoming appointments and makes coffee runs. -Nicole Horn, PLA, ASLA, MCP, MLA


If your beard was a plant what plant would it be?
My virtual beard? Looks like a severely hedged and humbled Rhaphiolepis indica. My actual beard? Probably more like a Marathon 1 Fescue -Cameron Hunt, PLA


What do you call a landscape architect without a beard?
An architect -Janet Shotwell


What has your beard taught you about landscape architecture?
My beard has taught me about site analysis and creating extremely detailed technical drawings. -Mariella Dentzel


WLAM | Landscape Architecture Myth Busting – Part 1

We encounter the work of landscape architects every day, although that work is often overlooked and experienced only in passing. Landscapes are the natural setting, the backdrop of our lives. However, the truth is that our cities and neighborhoods are carefully and deliberately constructed. Landscape architecture is the practice of fusing the natural, built and social environments to create a more engaging and dynamic world.

CJM::LA is excited to share the breadth of our profession by addressing some common misconceptions about landscape architecture in a two-part post.

Myth #1. Landscape architects design gardens and backyards

FALSE: We design all types of living spaces, not just your backyard!

This video by the ASLA shows how public parks can revitalize under-served communities. At CJM::LA, we provide a wide-range of design services for a variety of clients. A sampling of this diversity includes the following project types (as shown below): public park, hospitality, native creek restoration and non-profit.

Santa Barbara locals exercise at the oceanfront Cabrillo Ball Park

drought tolerant plantings frame lounge seating at The Everly hotel in West Hollywood, CA

raised planters create intimate spaces on the rooftop deck at The Everly hotel in West Hollywood, CA

entry plantings welcome you the Inn at the Pier in Pismo, CA

board-form concrete planters at Inn at the Pier in Pismo, CA

native creek restoration plan for Los Olivos, CA

permeable concrete pavers under construction at Unity of Santa Barbara

 

 

 

 

Myth #2. Landscape architecture = “decorative planting”

FALSE:  Landscape architecture is also essential infrastructure

Every project we design at CJM::LA is beautiful and functional. Landscape architects contribute to the essential infrastructure of our cities and communities through design and construction of storm water management systems. We improve air quality and reduce energy use when we plant trees. We support healthier living and reduce vehicle emissions by providing recreation opportunities, bike racks and designing safer streets.

The following images demonstrate how CJM::LA has incorporated some of these essential infrastructure elements: bioretention and filtration basins, exercise equipment, bike racks and plans for future shared, multi-modal streets.

“Filterra” proprietary biofiltration planters by Contech, with native Juncus patens

Direct Relief bioretention basin after a rain event: roof run-off captured and treated! 

we design spaces for people to get out, breathe, and decompress

we improve air quality with the addition of carbon-sequestering trees and plants

we support alternative modes of transportation: the ”Twist” bike rack from Forms + Surfaces

preliminary landscape plan with a shared street, proposed in Goleta, CA

preliminary landscape plan and shared street for a residential development in Ventura, CA


WLAM | Why Landscape Architecture?

As a part of our ongoing stewardship of the profession, this month we’re showcasing landscape architecture to the world and inviting the public to learn about what we do.  This is the second post in our WLAM series, stay tuned for more each week during the month of April.

This week we are taking time to appreciate and share what we do and why it is important to us.

Landscape architecture is essential to nurturing our public health, safety and welfare. This practice is important to us because of its profound effect on the communities and people around us. The spaces we design cultivate the evolution of our lives, relationships, communities and much more.

At CJM::LA 

Every day is different!  We love the diverse nature of our profession and the variety of ways we apply our collective knowledge and skillsets to our daily workflow.

We oversee projects from site analysis through design development, construction and post occupancy

as part of an initial site visit, Courtney and Cameron study the site plan of a residential property in order to analyze the existing trees and topography, views and opportunities for screening.

typical site analysis notes

Mari collects soil to send to the lab for analysis

as part of the schematic design process, Cameron does a quick sketch of a hotel pool renovation.

Nicole reviews schematic options for a residential backyard with our clients

hand drawings are converted into an illustrative plan using software such as Adobe Photoshop

 

Henri delivers plans

 

 

 

 

 

Courtney and Ryan from DMHA present construction documents at the Central Coast Board of Architectural Review as part of the discretionary review process

as part of the construction observation phase, Nicole oversees the installation of the permeable pavers at our Habitat for Humanity Sawyer Condos project in Carpinteria, CA.

We work closely with our suppliers, manufacturers and collaborators

vertical storage at Santa Barbara Forge

reviewing gravel samples from Decorative Stone Solutions

 

 

harvesting inspiration at San Marcos Growers

sourcing plant material at San Marcos Growers

We work on a variety of projects

We celebrate together too!

Beer festival at the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens

Virtual drawing game at staff meeting

Hatchet building, team building

It is both this dynamic design process, dedicated team and the impact our work has on our community that keeps us dedicated to our practice.

 

 


WLAM | World Landscape Architecture Month

April is World Landscape Architecture Month (WLAM), a worldwide celebration of the impact this profession has on our daily lives.

As a part of our ongoing stewardship of the profession, this month we’re showcasing landscape architecture to the world and inviting the public to learn about what we do!  People hold profound connections to the spaces where they live, work and play.  This year we are celebrating the relationship between us and our environment.  We look forward to demonstrating the impact that thoughtful design solutions have on our collective quality of life.  Each week we’ll be posting something new, stay tuned!

 

 

We encourage you to join us in celebrating the landscape architectural profession by posting pictures from your neighborhood that highlight landscape architectural design with the hashtags #WLAM2020 and #LifeGrowsHere.
Be sure to tag @NationalASLA

 

TO LEARN MORE

Find out more about Landscape Architecture educational opportunities here.

Are you a K-12 educator interested in sharing landscape architecture with your students?
Learn more about Landscape Architecture education for teachers here

Are you hosting a virtual story time for your child?  Check this out:
Green Trees and Sam by Shannon Gapp, ASLA/Bolton & Menk.