beautiful small public spaces

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)February 1, 2013

There's no 'question' in this post, just sharing some beautiful spaces on a cold winter day....

I was clearing up some things today and came across some of the assignments from the landscape design class I took on-line through the University of Guelph in the fall term (just for fun....) I though maybe some of you might find the pictures interesting. In the assignment and class discussion I used pictures (and details available on-line in one case) for of two local public spaces - one a small park and the other a church garden in the center of town.

The park was redeveloped in 2010 as the original old park no longer suited the demographics and needs of the neighbourhood (no need for a ball park anymore!) and had become neglected. There is now a seniors' recreation center on one side and, on the other side, a former school is a training facility for service dogs for the blind, the deaf, and for people with a wide range of physical disabilities. So accessibility issues were very relevant for the park.

I think the cost of the redesign and construction as around $1.6 million. It's a beautiful space - the gazebo and pergola are particularly striking. It's not a well-known space though - we had no idea it existed until we started volunteering at the dog guide facility a year ago and noticed the park on the other side of the fence around the parking lot. The picture below only captures part of it; the plan drawing in the link will give you a better overall view of it.

The dog guides facility is the flat-roofed building on the left side of the picture. The rock is a bubbling fountain - the water drains away underneath and recirculates so there is no standing pool of water to be a hazard for the users of the park. The paved materials change in color and texture so the path is distinct from the 'patio' area and there is a change that runs between the path and grassed areas and garden beds. I assume that was probably deliberate to provide cues to orient vision-impaired users.... The woody plantings are still fairly immature so the park will continue to change over the next few years as the plantings mature. You can see on the linked plan that different parts of the space are intended to be highlighted in different seasons.

The second space is a small church garden on 'the main drag'. We had admired the arbour along the street for many years but had never bothered to look beyond that until 2010. We were quite surprised to find a beautiful small jewel of a garden tucked between the church and the wall of the store next to it. Some pictures....

Looking in from the street:

Looking up at a window from sitting under the arbour:

Looking towards the street from within the garden:

Knot garden - for scattering ashes!

I was curious about the garden and asked at the church - it was designed and donated by a landscape arctitect in memory of his parents who were members of the congregation.

It's alway a pleasure to discover beautiful spaces like these. I'm itchin' for spring and a return to gardening and garden hunting :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Westwood park plan drawing

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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

...moving this post down....

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 1:35PM
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ttonk(OH 6A)

I clicked this for several times now. The orange-color flower near the church is so pretty. Something I've never seen. The red berry tree on the "winter" section is also very pretty.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 4:43PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

By 'red berry tree' do you mean the crabapple? Here's what an article at the Arnold Arboreteum says about that one:

When the topic of fruit size and persistence comes
up, crabapple detractors frequently trot out the poster child for obnoxious fruiting behavior, Malus 'Dolgo' (ignoring the fact that its large crimson fruits are great for making tasty preserves). But it would be disingenuous to paint all crabapples with the same brush. For example, crabapple selections like 'Jewelcole' ('Red Jewel') and 'Donald Wyman'produce bright red, extremely persistent fruit that eventually fall from the tree, but only after they've dried and shriveled to one-half their original size. Others like 'Snowdrift' and 'Bob White' drop very little fruit thanks to the work of opportunistic and grateful birds. And on those sites where fruit production of any kind is forbidden, fruitless selections 'Spring Snow' and newcomer 'Jarmin' ('Marilee') are viable options.

At this point the tree in the park isn't big enough to produce a lot of fruit. The link to the article the quote is from is below in case you're interested in crabapples.....

The vine in the church pictures is a trumpet vine - I suspect it was planted by someone other than the original architect. The arbour is planted with a rather random collection of vines.... Trumpet vine is very vigorous and troublesome by throwing up lots of root suckers and being very hard to get rid of! While the color of that one works well with the color of the brick of the church, it is likely to be a maintenance problem in the future.

Here is a link that might be useful: article on crabapples

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 5:41PM
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ttonk(OH 6A)

Thanks for the article. All the pictures of crabapples are striking! There are many crabapples in my neighborhood but I've never seen that plenty of red berries left in snow. Birds must have been busy. The combination of red berries and white snow is so pretty.
Sad that those trumpet vines are trouble plants. I'm always fascinated by orange-colored flowers but know no names. Must say I know about a handful of plant names..

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:34PM
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It is really beautiful but it could have been more beautiful if they added more vine plants on the arc, this could also give more shade during bright days.

Here is a link that might be useful: Castlerock Landscape

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:27PM
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Beautiful Small Public Spaces

In my area one place comes to mind, The Old Mill North Little Rock Arkansas. A small park in a residential area, the feature that stands out is the artful use of what appears to be sun bleached wood structures as bridge planks, hand rails, arbors, and centerpiece sculptures. The structures are concrete, not wood. But the craftsmanship was so good you have to touch it to know. It is amazing that it has lasted almost 80 years with little sign of wear.

This may be the most photographed and videoed area in all of Arkansas.

In the link below is a rather large photo of some of the "wood" work.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:30AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Pauline - I disagree re more vines on the church arbour structure. I find the arbour, with it's repetition of the gothic church window shape, to be very striking on its own. It's almost a shame to cover it up at all! Certainly in winter the bare arbour is more ornamental than the parts covered with dormant vines.

pls8xx - neat stuff! I did a Google image search to see more of that place - I wanted to see the setting that the structures are in. I like it - except I thought the fountain/water spray in the mill pond to look out of place with the rest of the setting. In the on-line course I took this past fall, there was a person living in Japan. He talked about some park there that used concrete made to look like wood in the park structures - but they obviusly didn't do as good a job, because he didn't like them....

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:29AM
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If you look at the photo above, left of the girl's feet there is a "wood" tread with a crack in the end typical of what is seen in wood beams. It is that attention to detail that gives the realism. I wonder how he made that crack and it's amazing that freezing water hasn't broken it out. Maybe he used a secret additive to the concrete. He never tutored anyone to follow his art and it's never been duplicated.

There have been some modern additions to the park that don't fit, the fountain being one. It probably serves to provide oxygen to a school of goldfish.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:21PM
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I had always been led to believe the concrete at the Old Mill was done by a local talent. Not so! The work was done by Senor Dionico Rodriguez and there is a book, part of it online at google books.

Here is a link that might be useful: Capturing Nature: The Cement Sculpture of Dionicio Rodr�guez

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:42PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Very interesting indeed. I wonder if someone has done a modern chemical analysis to determine what his secret ingredients were....

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 4:54PM
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