Posts tagged with "Landscape Architecture":

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Plans for D.C.'s Pershing Park mired in debate over protection and progress

Adored by some who consider it a neatly sculpted Modern landscape worthy of protection, and loathed by others who see it as an alienating 1980s byproduct that perpetually falls short in its public duties, Pershing Park conjures up some polarizing perspectives. Located in Northwest D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue, the park's condition is shopworn, but its redevelopment continues to divide opinions. Home to the WWI General John Pershing memorial (a protected monument) Pershing Park was designed in 1981 by landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg. At the time it was a tranquil environment, a welcome contrast to the hectic urban surrounding. Its layout is ordered, and clean lines run through the park, maintaining a harmonious and symmetrical relationship with the water and greenery—at least, that was what was meant to be. Once upon a time, the park promised to be a place to ice-skate in the winter and relax in the summer. The fountain and ice-skating framework however, have been defunct for years. The water's serenity and sense of calm is easily disrupted when upkeep is ignored as litter fills the pool and steps become dirty. Paving slabs are riddled with cracks and are uneven, the slick lines now lost. It's no coincidence that that idyllic images shown on the American Society of Landscape Architects's website (via The Cultural Landscape Foundation, TCLF) are clearly dated (though the date of the photographs is unknown). Now, the World War I Memorial Centennial Commission is eager for change. A competition which the commission ran in 2015 resulted in architect Joseph Weishaar, landscape architect Phoebe McCormick Lickwar and sculptor Sabin Howard winning with their proposal: The Weight of Sacrifice. The design does away with the water. A problematic feature, seen as a catalyst to the park's downfall, it is replaced by a lawn that is partially surrounded by 10-foot-high walls that hug the perimeter, using bas-reliefs to inform visitors about WWI.
  The aim is to provide more space to relax, but it also sees a change in the park's role, becoming a place for historical education too. Costs are estimated at $38 million by the commission who has currently raised $6 million in their bid to bring about change. Change however, may not come so easily. On the other side, those who fight for the parks protection are attempting to place the park on the National Register of Historic Places. If successful, any changes, regardless of money raised, would be significantly curtailed. It's not hard to see both sides of the argument. On one hand, to maintain the current style and layout of the park pays respect to the WWI General John Pershing memorial of which it was designed to do. On that note, any change would disrupt the relationship between the park and the memorial. Conversely, the space's decline surely implies that it is unsuccessful, so much so that none bother to maintain it. For this to be fixed, more need to be welcomed in and more space is needed to facilitate this. Joe Weishaar argues that the dropped water feature is a “blind spot” and is hence ignored. Sculptor Sabin Howard envisions an “uplifting story of transformation, showing how noble the human race can be.” While the campaign for change gathers steam, the fight for protection does have some weight in the form of Charles Birnbaum, president and CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)  and Darwina Neal, former president of ASLA among others. Here, Birnbaum argues for “making some changes, but keeping the signature and character-defining features intact.” From a withdrawn perspective, one cries out for collaboration between the two parties. Jared Green of The Dirt points out: "Whatever the outcome, one long-term question is: can this park be well-maintained moving forward? If not, we may be back to where we are now 30 years in the future."
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Five installation winners announced for this year's prestigious International Garden Festival

In its 17th edition, the International Garden Festival has announced five new winners selected from 203 projects comprising 31 countries. This year's winners were presented at Les Jardins de Métis, Reford Gardens in Quebec, Canada. This year's winning gardens will be on display at the same location from June 23 to October 2, 2016. Visitors will be able to view the 27 contemporary gardens and engage with the interactive spaces that are the product of more than 85 landscape architects, architects, and designers. The winning gardens are: Le Caveau by architect and landscape architect Christian Poules Basel, Switzerland According to the Festival:

The growing plane is shrouded in the intimacy of Le caveau (the cave) - a four-sided room of stacked gabions full of stones. Stone that allows light to filter through its gaps and washes the room with its shadows. It is a room of reflection. It is a room for dreamers. Just as the plane levitates before us, we are held in the balance of the stone and life itself. The personification of our own imaginations suspended in time. The primitive plane symbolizes a beginning - the seed and the soil, the tilted horizon between earth and sky.

Carbone by Coache Lacaille Paysagistes: Maxime Coache, landscape architect; Victor Lacaille, landscape designer and Luc Dalla Nora, landscape architect) Nantes, France According to the Festival:

This installation evokes the cycle of production as a parallel to the carbon cycle. The garden landscaped or the landscape gardened. Regenerating the forest and sowing where we have harvested brings nature back to life. Transmit the love of landscape to those who will outlive us.  A sculpted tree trunk, partially cut into pieces helps to illustrate the primary material used to build furniture. A stump and its roots, a tree trunk cut into parts and five modules made of timber, some lightly burned on the surface. A young tree grows where the tree might have grown tall had the tree not fallen.

Cyclops by architect Craig Chapple Phoenix, Arizona According to the Festival:

Cyclops is a singular object on the landscape as well as a singular frame of the landscape. Made up of 258 8-meter long timber and 1 x 6 boards, they are held in a concentric ring by 2 steel rings suspended from the surrounding trees by stainless steel cables. Cyclops is held in a tenuous balance with the environment that provides for it. The central 1.5 m opening at the bottom of the cone is a highly-charged occupiable space for the viewer to both view the canopy in a new way but also truly feel the focus of the suspended weight as the physical latent force in the trees themselves. The viewer finds himself playing the central role of the work in rediscovering their relationship to the energy in their environment.

La Maison de Jacques by intern architects Romy Brosseau, Rosemarie Faille-Faubert and Émilie Gagné-Loranger Québec, Canada According to the Festival:

La maison de Jacques (or Jack’s House from the children’s fable Jack and the Beanstalk) is different from the one we know. You might think you have just stepped out of a children’s story. The house is a green grove that is enveloped in bloom. You enter by walking on stepping stones that traverse a ground-cover made of small. Once inside, you wander between the rows of beans of tightly winding their way up a light wooden structure. The walls divide the space into a series of small hidden gardens, singular in their proportions. These cocoons are ideal hiding places for a game of hide-and-seek. One remains a secret, inaccessible...

TiiLT by SRCW: Sean Radford, architect and Chris Wiebe, designer Winnipeg, Canada According to the Festival:

Finding roots in the formal geometries of the labyrinth and the many informal camping traditions in the Canadian landscape, TiiLT is a transformable and inhabitable place for visitors to act, or to idle, however they may be inclined. Each structure may be flipped between two orientations, responding to the position of the sun, offering alternating views and shifting pathways through the site. The toggling movement conjures a school of fish, or a flock of birds, flitting in opposite directions yet connected as a whole. The straw-like lightness of the structures and brilliant yellow skin recall a field of floral blooms, contrasting the surrounding green landscape and blue sky.

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University of Texas at Austin is transforming Speedway into a pedestrian mall through campus

The so-called Speedway in Austin, Texas, is being slowed to the pace of the pedestrian, thanks to a redesign by PWP Landscape Architecture. The road is not a racetrack as its name implies, but a street used heavily by cyclists and motorists as it cuts through the University of Texas at Austin. The project, called the "Speedway Mall," is a move by the university to improve the area and boost its usage. Construction on the mall, to be located between Jester Circle and Dean Keeton Street, will be carried out by the university starting soon on October 26 with the project set to cost $36 million. The project will convert the predominantly urban area into one that is made up of 70 percent green space, a move that will transform the space making it a social hub complete with trees, tables, study areas, and Wi-Fi access. According to the Daily Texan, Pat Clubb, the university operations vice president, stated that the scheme should free up the space for university and educational needs with outdoor learning, campus festivities, performances among other student enterprises. “[Speedway] is a wonderful asset that is not being used, and this project allows us to turn a dull, ugly — this place that students just walk past — into a true activity center,” Clubb said. “I think it will transform the student experience. It will become a place of learning, become a place of social activity. All of the things that will be possible are going to enhance the students’ experience.” “The idea is to transform it to make it safer, to make it more environmentally hospital, to make it more accessible and more usable to students,” Frederick Steiner, dean of the School of Architecture, told the Daily Texan. Steiner has confidence that the Speedway Mall, when finished in 2017, will evolve into an area that students, faculty, staff, and alumni will love about campus. “Where 30 years ago, the Main Mall was sort of the center of campus, now Speedway is sort of the center of campus and it should change to reflect that. There’s an old Joni Mitchell song about tearing up paradise and putting in a parking lot,” Steiner continued. “Well, we’re going to be tearing up parking lots and putting in paradise.”
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How landscape architects at SWA created the country's largest Zero-Net Energy community at UC Davis

In 2011 SWA built the nation's largest planned Zero-Net Energy (ZNE) community. Working in collaboration with the University of California Davis and developer West Village Community Partnership (WVCP), the project houses over 2,000 students and 500 staff and faculty families. When UC Davis started the West Village Energy Initiative (WVEI) in cooperation with WVCP in 2003, the university initially only aimed for a 50percent reduction in energy consumption (compared to the California Energy Efficiency Building Code). However, in 2008 the initiative proposed that without losing quality and at no extra cost to the developer, West Village could become a ZNE community. A public-private partnership with the developer and UC Davis has been able make WVEI's 2008 proposal a reality. SWA master planned the 225-acre neighborhood and prepared landscape strategies for its development. Included in the housing scheme is a network of parks, storm water ponds and corridors, bicycle and pedestrian trails, a community college, and retail and recreational services. These areas incorporate on-site energy generation which are aesthetically designed and in harmony with local environmental conditions. In preparation, SWA conducted analyses at regional, site, and building/garden scales in order to maximize opportunities for passive cooling. Designers arranged buildings in loose clusters that allow breezes from the Bay Delta to filter through the site. SWA also proposed the planting of deciduous shade trees, reducing the need for air conditioning. In a bid to promote zero-energy methods of transportation, SWA integrated an extensive cycling network into the scheme making it the primary way of getting around the neighborhood. Davis is, after all, home to the first bike lane in the United States. SWA integrated drainage into the site's system of parks, sports fields, trails, and gardens. Storm water drains to the site's large northern ponds, where it is purified by native wetland planting in a series of basins. The slopes of the site's ponds incorporate native shrubs and trees, selected in cooperation with UC Davis' horticulturists, botanical garden curators, and ground and maintenance personnel, to provide a sustainable habitat for migratory birds, while also providing a visually appealing natural landscape for residents year-round. UC Davis' internal monitoring shows that the West Village ZNE community achieved an exceptional 87 percent of initial ZNE goals in its first year. In 2013, West Village received the ULI Global Award of Excellence, which honors outstanding development in both the private and public sectors, with an emphasis on responsible land use.
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Pictorial> Take a look inside Dattner's 34th St-Hudson Yards subway station, now open to the public

On Sunday, September 13th, New York City got its first new subway station in 25 years. Located at 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue, the 34th St-Hudson Yards station extended the 7 train one and a half miles to serve Manhattan's Far West Side. Dattner Architects designed the 364,000 square foot, $2.4 billion station. The new station is ten stories underground, and features the subway system's first inclined elevator. Below the canopied main entrance, designed by Toshiko Mori Architect, a multicolored mosiac mural by artist Xenobia Bailey greets passengers. MVVA designed the park surrounding the main entrance. See the gallery below for images of the new station.
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It took four years to grow this church in New Zealand out of trees

In New Zealand, it would appear that buildings grow on trees—or, rather, trees grow into buildings. After years of careful maintenance, Barry Cox, tree aficionado, has created a lush chapel and garden in Waikato, just south of Auckland. Three-acres of greenery includes endless outdoor space that safeguards a masterpiece that Mother Nature could have coined herself—a tree-recycled church. Four years in the making, the concisely named TreeChurch is canopied by cut Leaf Adler, is composed of a Camelia ‘Black Tie’ lower border hedge, Acer ‘Globosums’ perched up on either side of the gateway, Thuja Pyramidalis and then closed off by Copper Sheen walls. The wrought iron windows were made by Barry himself, using leftover metal from his workshop, while the gates of the church were recycled from his family’s barn in Shannon. The altar, made of Italian marble, also comes from his hometown. It precedes over rows of wooden benches accommodating groups of 100 people. Outside the church, a line of Himalayan birch leads to a large labyrinth that Cox landscaped after the walls surrounding the ancient city of Jericho. Throughout the land, Cox scattered pieces of vintage gardening tools and placed them precariously by tree trunks for an aesthetic boost, not that nature’s beauty ever needed boosting. The decision to create TreeChurch and its surrounding gardens was not immediate but the development of such an idea began on the road. His religious upbringing and love for nature led him to tour around New Zealand, Europe, and the United States, meandering through the streets on a motorbike and all the while observing each church steeple and wooden archway with as much fascination as the 10 year old head altar boy he once was. His travels encouraged his desire to keep working with trees and later founded Treelocations, a business specializing in tree transplanting, removing, or relocating. Treelocations is one of three businesses in New Zealand that uses a "tree spade," a crane-like machine that digs deep underground to scoop up all parts of the tree, including the root ball, thereby leaving it completely unharmed. After devoting much of his time serving Mother Nature’s voiceless mighty oaks, he then decides his next project: renovate his backyard. “I walked out my back door one day and thought, ‘that space needs a church,” he told New Zealand Gardener. In piecing together TreeChurch, he cross-pollinated his two loves and, not intending to do so, created a beautified marriage between landscape and architecture. Cox opened the TreeChurch Gardens to the public in January and is now available for public viewing and private events. [Via MyModernMet.]
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Bjarke Ingels and James Corner give Philadelphia's 214-year-old Navy Yard a boost into the 21st century

Bjarke Ingels is giving Philadelphia's antique Navy Yard a jolt into the 21st century. BIG teamed up with James Corner Field Operations to bring a $35 million office building, called 1200 Intrepid, featuring double curves designed to mirror the contours of Corner's surrounding landscape. "Our design for 1200 Intrepid has been shaped by the encounter between Robert Stern’s urban master plan of rectangular city blocks and James Corner’s iconic circular park,” Ingels said in a statement. “The ‘shock wave’ of the public space spreads like rings in the water invading the footprint of our building to create a generous urban canopy at the entrance.” The 94,000-square-foot, four-story structure just broke ground in the Navy Yard. It stands adjacent to the Central Green, a park that boasts circular plots occupied by a variety of trees and plants, pedestrian pathways, and a hammock grove. In addition, it offers a fitness station, a table tennis area, and a running track that 1200 Intrepid's design responds to. The park and building are part of Pennsylvania’s plan to transform this segment of South Philly from an industrialized business campus to a multi-functional industrial space that will accommodate 11,000 employees working for companies ranging from the pharmaceutical industry to Urban Outfitters. The plan to revitalize the Naval Yard began in 2004 when the state commissioned Michael van Valkenburgh Associates, Robert A.M. Stern, and numerous experts to create a master plan that “includes environmentally friendly workplaces, notable architecture, industrial development, great public spaces, waterfront amenities, improved mass transit, and residential development,” according to the Navy Yard website. Ingels’ building will help reach the Yard’s estimated goal of supporting up to $3 billion in private investments, 13.5 million square feet of development, and 30,000 people. Although 1200 Intrepid has yet to secure tenants, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal, it is set to open its doors in 2016. The project is being developed by Pennsylvania-based Liberty Property Trust and Synterra Partners.
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Architecture That Doesn't Interrupt: Diamond-Shaped Complex in China Integrates Landscape, Buildings, and Walkways

Beijing-based architecture practice HHD_FUN set an example for architecture that doesn’t infringe on greenery, preserving 100 percent of the vegetation on the site where the ‘Earthly Pond Service Center’ was built. One of two designs for the firm's International Horticultural Exposition, the project entailed converting a green belt into a geometric, diamond-shaped complex from which to conveniently admire the public green spaces and water features dotted throughout. The firm’s design defers to the undulating topography, with observatory decks, plaza spaces, green spaces, and a rooftop platform at different heights carved into the natural gradations of the grounds. The central courtyard is sunken below street level, so that passersby on the street have a panoramic view of the “park,” while visitors to the site can visually escape the hubbub. From above, the Earthly Pond Service Center presents a striking aerial view of fluid landscaping covering nearly 248,000 square feet. “The sunken courtyard of the Earthly Pond Service Center is adjoined to the lake wetland. The architecture and landscape heights are set following the natural grade levels, providing multiple accessibilities and viewing experiences at different elevations,” the architects write. The firm’s other in-tandem project for the International Horticultural Exposition, called the Heavenly Water Service Center, integrates a series of buildings by Dutch firm UNStudio into the existing terrain while preserving the site’s natural beauty. The buildings contain activity centers, restaurants, exhibition spaces configured around recreational landscaping that optimizes pedestrian access.
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With some help from Gensler, ASLA to turn its headquarters into the Center for Landscape Architecture

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has tapped Gensler and landscape architecture firm Oehme van Sweden to turn its Washington, D.C. headquarters into the state-of-the-art Center for Landscape Architecture. ASLA bought its 12,000-square-foot home in 1997 for $2.4 million and watched as its value increased to $6.9 million. Since the building was about ready for some fixing up, the society decided it was a good time to go ahead and truly transform it at a cost of $4 million. The building’s existing facade is set to be altered so that the new center is more inviting to passers-by. Inside, the building will be reconfigured to create rooms for meetings and events, exhibitions, a catering kitchen, and restrooms. An existing enclosed double staircase will also be opened to create a three-story atrium that can be dressed up with elements of landscape architecture. The renovation has something for ASLA’s current (and future) employees as well. The new space comes with an upgraded kitchen and restrooms, new conference rooms and administrative space, and even a “wellness room” and “focus rooms." Gensler is aiming for LEED Platinum designation with the renovation. “This is an opportunity to create a facility to reflect the image and ethic of our profession—a world-class Center for Landscape Architecture that will inspire and engage our staff, our membership, allied professionals, public officials and the general public,” said Mark A. Focht, the immediate past president of ASLA, in a statement. ASLA's board of trustees unanimously approved the plan in November and funding is already a third of the way there. Construction is slated to start this fall.
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A New Bench-mark at Governors Island

Southside Precast Products fabricates landscape architecture firm West 8’s designs for an organic system of concrete benches and curbs.

When Dutch landscape architecture firm West 8 envisioned a new terrain for Governors Island in New York’s East River, part of the plan included a section dubbed The Hills. The recently completed curving expanse of green space is defined by nearly one dozen curved sections, or “petals,” of seamless, white concrete bench and curb edges fabricated by Buffalo, New York-based Southside Precast Products. Ellen Cavanagh, Director of Park Design and Construction for the Governors Island Trust, said that the concrete pathways along the petals help define areas where the ground was formed to rise and recede. “They call it eyeliner,” she told AN in a recent interview. “Thick and bold white stripes give your eye an anchor so you have a better sense of depth as opposed to one solid color.” At approximately 24 inches in width, the curbs along Governor’s Island are decidedly more massive than standard street curbs.
  • Fabricators Southside Precast Products
  • Architects West 8
  • Location Governors Island, New York
  • Date of Completion November 2013
  • Material precast concrete, custom coating, rubber, foam, plywood
  • Process AutoCAD, hot wire cutting, hand molding, band sawing, hand sawing, buffing, mold casting
From Southside’s 37,000-square-foot facility, 4,250 curb and bench units were fabricated using a combination of custom molds. To expedite production and cut costs, a standard set of shapes was defined in AutoCAD and formed from rubber molds, but none were of standard, square dimensions. “Everything has a radius edge, from seats to curbs to the grass level,” explained Southside President Paul Rossi. The team worked with rubber and foam molds to achieve the desired, smooth texture on 3.2 miles of concrete at an affordable price. In addition to unique profiles and varying heights, West 8 designed an organic, circular low bas-relief “fish eye” pattern for every section of the curb. “The architects were very particular about the density of the pattern,” said Rossi. To ensure the patterning met the designers’ expectations, each coating was hand applied by Southside’s team of fabricators, but was modularized for 12-foot repetitions along 140 flexible, rubber molds. For corner sections and curb pieces with receding angles, hundreds of custom molds were cast to ensure the surface of each piece remained perfectly smooth and the patterning unblemished. To withstand weathering, Southside follows production guidelines established by the Architectural Precast Association (APA) for air entrainment, consolidation, and consistency of binder to aggregate. Beyond APA standards, the fabricators took advantage of the Buffalo climate and put each piece through freeze-thaw testing. Southside also applied a proprietary coating—a secret blend of epoxy and a marine-grade coating for fiberglass—to withstand salt from de-icing treatments and the river’s brackish water. The treatment, however, will not discourage development of a patina that will enhance the fish eye pattern. Once site installation was completed, designers from West 8 were able to observe the execution and American craftsmanship of their design. “Their principal was impressed with the quality of Southside’s work,” said Cavanagh. “Their principal felt it was the best product he’d seen in his career working with precast concrete.”
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Penn State Students Present Visions for Pittsburgh Neighborhood

Fourth and fifth-year landscape architecture students at Penn State's College of Art and Architecture recently presented their proposals for reshaping a Pittsburgh neighborhood. The twelve participants in the school's Pittsburgh Studio spent most of the semester focusing on Hazelwood, a neighborhood set to host a new site for a historic branch of the city's Carnegie Library. At an exhibition in a local church, the Studio exhibited the projects to the community members they had designed them for. Such interaction between students and residents is characteristic of a program that fosters engagement between the two groups along every step of the creative process. Removing students from the vacuum of an classroom setting and placing them in the sites of their prospective designs brings additional weight to the work they generate. Says participant Aaron Ramos, “Once you meet these people, you connect and grow relationships with them and you feel responsible for what you design...I take more ownership with what I present to them and they take ownership, too.” The Studio is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Architecture and the Penn State Center, a branch of the school that enables broader engagement between the School and the city of Pittsburgh. The program, now in its 6th year, will culminate in a tangible impact on Hazelwood. City councilman Corey O' Conner says that $10,000 has been set aside to allow for the implementation of one of the yet-to-be chosen student designs.
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Los Angeles Celebrates Aqueduct Centennial with Interactive Garden

The Los Angeles Aqueduct turned 100 on November 5, and the city has been partying hard. In a performance-art piece designed by Lauren Bon and Metabolic Studios, 100 mules plus their handlers walked along the 240 miles of the aqueduct from the Eastern Sierras to its terminus at The Cascades. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County staged a special exhibit to honor the centennial. And Department of Water and Power (LADWP) employees reenacted the opening of the Cascades’ spill gates, accompanied by descendants of Los Angeles Aqueduct Engineer William Mulholland. The LADWP also unveiled a more lasting tribute to the aqueduct and Mulholland. The Los Angeles Aqueduct Centennial Garden, built around the existing Mulholland Fountain in Griffith Park, was the brainchild of staff in the LADWP operations and maintenance office. According to Richard Harasick, Manager of Operations and Maintenance at LADWP, the project started with a plan to replaster and rededicate the fountain. “We were working on that, spending time [at Mulholland Fountain], and we thought: maybe we can do this one better,” he explained. Harasick and his staff came up with the idea for the garden as an interpretive monument to the aqueduct. The Los Angeles Aqueduct Centennial Garden, Harasick said, has a two-fold purpose. First, it memorializes the aqueduct by recreating its journey from the northeast. A walking path beginning in the far corner of the garden mimics the course of the aqueduct. To one side of the path, a trapezoidal concrete curb, embedded with blue glass to evoke running, recalls the shape of the original aqueduct channels. Elements along the path, including mile markers and signs for the cities through which the aqueduct travels, are built of Corten steel, metal flanges, and other materials used by the LADWP in its water projects. The path terminates at a replica of The Cascades, which in turn leads to the Mulholland Memorial Compass, a concrete circle ten feet in diameter, with aluminum letters forming Mulholland’s famous declaration: “There it is. Take it!” Near the compass is a section of the original aqueduct pipe, large enough for visitors to stand in or climb through. “We were strategic with where we placed the pipe,” Harasick said. “The idea is that when you stand in the pipe, behind you is the remembrance of Mulholland. Looking forward, you see what he accomplished. Looking forward is what we will continue to do in the future with bringing water to Los Angeles.” The garden, which was planned by Pamela Burton & Company in cooperation with the LADWP, also demonstrates water-wise landscaping. The LADWP planted the garden with approximately 20 different climate-appropriate species, including Red Marin Agave, Red Yucca, Waverly Sage, and California Native Sedge. In the process, it removed 75 percent of the grass around Mullholland Fountain, thus significantly reducing the garden’s water needs. Harasick hopes that the combination of the garden’s message about the source of their water and the drought-tolerant landscaping will inspire visitors to practice conservation at home.