The Garden as Inspiration of the World We Wished We Lived In

typefiend:

I like this idea: The garden as an idealized world we’d like to live in, blurring the transition between our world and nature’s…while also a buffer of all the things we’d like to keep at bay.

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

Pavord-garden

“Even though there is a lot going on, there’s this incredible sense of calmness – the garden never excludes the landscape, it’s always welcoming.”

Filmmaker Howard Sooley has been visiting author Anna Pavord’s residence, Sunnyside Farm, in the Southwest English countryside for a decade, noting how the author’s garden gently transitions into the surrounding natural landscape to the effect of “a series of doors leading you from one room to the next with signs telling you to drink the potion.”

Pavord, the author of The Tulip: The Story of a Flower That Has Made Men Mad, a horticultural love affair with the wild flower, created her garden dictated by the rhythms and forms of foliage, flowers, and ferns to shape what she believes is a person’s best defense against the worst of the outside world – the garden as an idealized landscape of the “world that we wished we lived in”. She invited Sooley to film her in this…

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Interstitial Landscapes: Discovering the Beauty Between Here and There

typefiend:

These interstitial – the spaces existing inbetween here and there – can be buffered zones of peace and tranquility, whether dividing busy urban zones or natural ecosystems (e.g. marshes, the pause between coastal and riparian zones).

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

Lagoon-in-Santa-Barbara_photo-by-LDaley Lagoon in Santa Barbara – Photo: Linda Daley

What defines beauty in the landscape?

The question is meant to be rhetorical, as I recognize responses will differ person to person. But for designers the question is an especially relevant one, as the exploration for beauty helps shape our work.

I remember a particular moment when I sensed a connection with a particular landscape. I was in my early twenties and working in midtown Manhattan. As a typical New Yorker, I regularly weaved through the streets of the city in a rush, maneuvering through the throngs of visitors who, to my youthful annoyance, all walked too slowly. Didn’t they know I had a pressing “to-do” list to accomplish during my precious one hour break?

Then one day, Paley Park stopped me in my tracks.

Creative Commons Images by saitowitz Creative Commons Images by saitowitz

Long before I learned about the profession of landscape architecture Paley Park made we aware of the nexus between landscape and architecture, an interstitial…

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Go With the Flow With This Golden Opportunity for Water Conservation

typefiend:

Over 14 billion gallons of water saved per year for Californians if we can get over the “ick” factor of peeing while in the shower, a la George Costanza.

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

George Costanza’s motivations for relieving himself while in shower might be more slovenly and lazy in nature, but our favorite doltish character from the Seinfeld ensemble might have been inadvertently onto something: peeing while in the shower can save 1,157 gallons of water annually per household.

Gowiththeflow

Considering there are 12,542,460 million households in California according to U.S. Census, that roughly equates to 14,511,626,220 billion gallons of water per year saved by multi-tasking. It’s such a significant figure several water conservationgroups have used the taboo act in their headline grabbing campaigns to spread water conservation awareness (it’s #gowiththeflow if you want to hashtag your commitment to water conservation). So take relief friends…relieving yourself isn’t shameful, it’s a water-wise decision.

Now Kramer’s dual purpose shower and food waste disposal system designed for washing produce while lathered…now that’s only for the truly California drought committed!

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Keeping a Pool In a Time of Drought

typefiend:

A surprising statistic: “A pool with a cover uses less water over 3 years than a turf lawn of the same size or even a drought tolerant garden.”

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

Photo: Chuan Ding Photo: Chuan Ding It’s been over a year since our Governor officially declared a California state of emergency due to the state drought. However, it’s important to note average temperatures have been rising for over the past 15 years, meaning if the trend continues we are likely to face more extremely hot dry summers for years to come. Heat waves have already swept through Asia and Europe in the last couple weeks, during which time thousands of Europeans went out to seek relief out in the water. Swimming pools, public water fountains, mist fountains, and any body of water were popular destinations for families – and even pets – seeking relief during the heatwave and it’s no different here in Los Angeles when temperatures rise into the triple digits. With summer in full swing here in Los Angeles, the question arises, “How can we enjoy water in a time…

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Scientifically Speaking: How Often You REALLY Need to Shower (and How To Save Water When You Do)

typefiend:

“The length of the average shower is 11 minutes and uses about 27.5 gallons of water. Skipping showering every two to three days actually saves you 33-43.2 hours a year. If all 38 million California’s residents decreased their shower frequency to three times a week, we’d save over 217 billion gallons annually.” Also, if the other mentioned statistics are correct, Angelenos are taking way too long in the shower, especially considering the water crisis. If you need to “wake up” in the shower, turn the dial to the cold setting ;)

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

AHBE-LAB-01-Low-flow-shower-heads

I have to admit I was shocked the first time I learned about cultures where showering normally was a once a week – or even one a month – practice. You see, I am from south China, a coastal city with an abundance of water, an area of the world where people shower at least once a day. Curious about the global average, I discovered 43% of global consumers take a sponge bath at least once a day according to the  Euromonitor International’s Personal Appearances Survey. However, people do not think or live in the same way as we do in north China.

Average Showers and Shampoos Habits by Country, from Euromonitor. Average Showers and Shampoos Habits by Country, from Euromonitor.

Whether you recognize it or not, expectations related to frequent showering may arise from pressure related to societal norms. In warmer climates frequent showering seem to make sense, yet in balmy regions like Turkey and Spain, bathing is less frequent. Dermatologists Dr. Joshua Zeichner and Dr. Ranella Hirsch

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How To Reduce Water Use With California Native Grasses

typefiend:

Hmm, maybe we can add a patch of this UC Verde Buffalo Grass to our side yard. I also like that my alma mater, UC Davis, had a hand in developing this water-sipping variety of grass (in partnership with UC Riverside). ‪#‎droughttolerant‬

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

Hyundai HeadquartersPeople often ask whether there is a grass that can replace their traditional water-loving lawns. The challenge is most residents want to continue to see the color green. However, one should keep in mind there isn’t a magic plant that will duplicate the rich green, all-American fescue lawn that many of us have grown accustomed to in front yards and reduce water use significantly. In order to get a low water grass we must begin to rethink the garden and imagine our home’s landscape with a more naturalistic meadow appearance. Here is a trio of California Native grass options that require less water:

The Buffalo Grass Blog documented 8 weeks of growing UC Verde Buffalo Grass in their yard. The Buffalo Grass Blog documented 8 weeks of growing UC Verde Buffalo Grass in their yard.

UC Verde Buffalo Grass (Buffalo Grass)
I recently used this grass at the Hyundai Headquarters in Fountain Valley, California as a lawn substitute. I think it’s a great options for the…

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How a Landscape Architect Saves Water

typefiend:

The most difficult part of transforming a lawn-based yard to a more sustainable and native variety is being patient. Unlike a single layer lawn, a drought tolerant garden requires some time for plants to settle in, mature, and eventually spread out to fill-in gaps once occupied by grass.

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

Our yard and lawn before we began the yard transformation for drought tolerance. Our yard and lawn before we began the yard transformation for drought tolerance.

When my husband and I – both of us landscape architects – purchased our home in Northeast Los Angeles in 2002, it came with a turf lawn with boxwood hedges and iceberg roses running along a white picket fence. Too provincial for our taste. But like the cobbler’s children who don’t have shoes, after buying the new house we were often too busy at work, and without the means, to transform our front yard into something more environmentally responsive and/or useful.

We did piecemeal landscaping in the front yard by pulling out the boxwood hedges and replacing them with New Zealand flax and Dodonea. Then two years ago we made the decision to turn off the irrigation system watering our front yard and purposely kill off the lawn. We also wanted a more substantial wood fence…

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