CA: Bay-Friendly Landscapes Case Studies - Willow Park


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CA: Bay-Friendly Landscapes Case Studies - Willow Park

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CA: Bay-Friendly Landscapes Case Studies - Willow Park

  1. 1. A Bay-Friendly Rated Landscape: A Case Study WILLOW PARK Pocket Park Showcases Remarkable Array of Bay-Friendly Landscape Practices W FAST FACTS illow Park, a new half-acre public park TOTAL PROJECT COST in Union City, California, $307,000PHOTO: RObeRT MOwaT assOciaTes may be small in size. But LOCATION 120 Blue Spruce Lane thanks to committed City Union City, California leadership and creative PARCEL SIZE design, this pocket park is 23,277 sq. ft. packed with community LANDSCAPED amenities and Bay-Friendly AREA SIZE Landscape features. 13,505 sq. ft. “Willow Park serves a lot of functions,” said Robert Mowat, whose landscape architecture LANDSCAPE TYPE firm designed the park. “There are picnic tables and barbecue grills, spaces for sitting, a Public park play structure for children, and a lot of habitat” for birds and beneficial insects. COMPLETION DATE October 2008 It has also achieved the highest Bay-Friendly Rated Landscape score to date, earning points for features such as waste reduction, onsite composting, a diverse selection of OWNER/DEVELOPER City of Union City plants, a no-mow alternative to turf, and a variety of recycled-content products. Union City received a $25,000 grant from StopWaste.Org to help fund some of these features. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Robert Mowat Associates The park, which is located in the midst of a residential neighborhood, gives local children San Francisco, California a place to play while adults enjoy walking paths and benches situated among beautiful LANDSCAPE landscaping. “What underlies the beauty are almost all of the Bay-Friendly Landscaping CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTOR techniques,” said Mowat. McNabb For Union City, which was the first of Alameda County’s cities to adopt Construction, Inc. Lafayette, California Bay-Friendly Landscaping as a requirement for civic projects, BAY-FRIENDLY RATER Willow Park provided an opportunity to try many Bay- Design, Community and Friendly techniques on a small scale. “It’s our responsibility to Environment Berkeley, CA educate the public and have demonstration gardens to learn CONTACT FOR from,” said grounds supervisor Nelson Kirk, with the City’s MORE INFO public works department. “This park will be a good indicator Nelson Kirk City of Union City for Bay-Friendly practices.” Other Bay-Friendly landscapes TEL 510-675-5422 in Union City include street medians, a fire station, and the front yards of eight city-owned affordable homes built across the street from Willow Park. J a n u a r y , 2 010 1
  2. 2. B Ay- F R I E N D Ly L A N D S C A P I N g P R AC T I C E S Conserve Water B Ay-FRIENDLy AT A gLANCE Bay-Friendly Rated At Willow Park, a variety of strategies work together to reduce the use of Landscape score: irrigation water. To increase the soil’s water retention capacity, planting beds were aerated to a depth of 12 inches and an inch of compost was mixed H 129 H in. The compost adds organic matter, improving the soil’s ability to retain moisture. To further reduce water loss, a 3-inch layer of recycled mulch LANDSCAPE LOCALLY covers the soil in the planted areas. • Site analysis was completed to More than 90 percent of the park’s plants are California native and maximize benefits of Bay-Friendly Mediterranean species that thrive with infrequent watering. These species Landscape practices include trees such as Chinese • Laboratory soil analysis provided recommendations for organic soil pistache and redwood, as well amendments and fertilizers as manzanita, penstemon, sage, LANDSCAPE FOR LESS TO THE sedges and native irises. The LANDFILL park’s efficient irrigation system • Plant species installed will not has a smart irrigation controller require shearing and will grow to that adjusts watering schedules mature size within space allotted; overplanting and tight spacing was and volumes based on thePHOTO: RObeRT MOwaT assOciaTes avoided weather. • No invasive species were planted To provide children and • Maintenance task list requires children-at-heart with space to grasscycling (leaving grass clippings on lawn after mowing) run around, the park has two • Areas under tree and shrub lawns planted with conventional canopies that are least 10 feet turf that take up 52 percent of away from hard surfaces and the total irrigated area. Nearly storm drains are used as a leaf repository 2,000 square feet of Carex pansa, a turf alternative, was also planted. This • 3-cu. yd. compost bin used to native bunchgrass requires no mowing, which helps the City stretch its compost plant debris onsite maintenance budget further. It also needs much less irrigation water than • Educational signposts are made turf. with recycled composite lumber Establishing native perennial grasses can be challenging due to competition • Flyash displaces 50% of cement in cast concrete tables and benches from aggressive annual weeds. “So far lots of weeds have grown in this area,” and poured concrete paving said Kirk, but “we are still hopeful the Carex pansa will fill in.” If it does • 100% of compost and mulch used well, Union City may plant it in other civic landscapes to reduce maintenance was produced from urban plant costs and water use. waste • 44% of non-plant landscape “We need to wait to see whether it will be as successful as a traditional materials are salvaged or recycled lawn” said Mowat. “If it works, great. If it doesn’t then we can disseminate • 100% of construction and information about what we learned.” Teresa Eade from StopWaste.Org notes, demolition debris was diverted from landfills “It is great that alternatives to turf are being tried. Carex pansa has been successfully established at the Doyle Hollis Park in Emeryville. By monitoring • Plant debris was taken to a facility that produces compost and mulch these efforts we can build up a record of BMP’s that everyone can benefit from.” 3 2 J a n u a r y , 2 010
  3. 3. B Ay-FRIENDLy AT A gLANCE Landscape for Less to the Landfill In Alameda County, construction, demolition and plantNURTURE THE SOIL debris account for nearly 11 percent of the material• Soil was not worked when wet that winds up in landfills. Bay-Friendly Landscaping• A stormwater pollution prevention plan was prepared practices include a variety of methods that reduce for the site landfill deposits while offering other benefits such as• Topsoil on site was removed, stored during construction and re-spread saving money and improving plant health.• Fencing was installed and maintained during When building Willow Park, nearly 100 percent of the construction to protect soil from compaction by cars and heavy equipment; valuable trees were protected construction and demolition debris was diverted from with fencing during construction landfills. An existing concrete masonry wall was broken• An area was designated during construction for staging up and taken to a recycling center for processing materials into roadway aggregate. Plastic plant containers were• Compost socks were used to control erosion during returned to the nurseries for reuse, and the City’s construction Public Works Department ground up the wood boxes• Soil in all landscaped areas was aerated to 12 inches and amended with compost that trees arrived in, turning the wood into mulch.• As part of ongoing maintenance, turf is topdressed with While recycling finely screened, quality compost after aeration is important, its• Fertilizers prohibited by Organic Materials Research Institute were not used counterpart— buying productsCONSERVE WATER made with recycled• All soil is protected with 3-inch layer of recycled mulch content—is just as• 1 inch of compost was tilled into all planting areas necessary in order• Over 90% of all plants are California native or to create viable markets for recycled raw materials. Mediterranean species that require little or no summer water All the compost and mulch used at Willow Park• No turf was planted for purely aesthetic purposes; turf was made from recycled urban plant waste. The cast has a water requirement equal to tall fescue concrete picnic tables and benches as well as the poured• High efficiency irrigation system includes a smart concrete walkways contain a high volume of flyash, irrigation controller, dedicated meter and schedule for reporting water use a recycled byproduct created when coal is burned to generate electricity. The resilient paving surface• Irrigation plans were reviewed by an Irrigation Association trained irrigation specialist under the play structure contains roughly 50 percent• Maintenance specifications require checking soil recycled rubber. Sixty-two moisture content with soil probes before watering, percent of the traditional adjusting the watering schedule based on weather conditions and immediately replacing broken irrigation lumber was replaced with equipment a plastic composite lumberCONSERVE ENERgY made from a blend of• 46% of paved areas will be shaded by trees within 15 recycled plastic and reclaimed years wood. There is even a small• 50% of the landscape materials were produced within 150 amount of recycled material in the play structure, miles of the site barbecue grills, water fountain, and the headersPROTECT WATER & AIR QUALITY that divide the lawns from other planted areas.• Integrated pest management (IPM) was used during The park also makes good use of salvaged materials. construction and will be used as part of the park’s long-term maintenance; one landscaping staff member is Interlocking pavers removed from repaved crosswalks trained in the use of IPM in Union City were salvaged from a storage yard and J a n u a r y , 2 010 2 3
  4. 4. used to create the circular picnic area around the willow. Be Innovative With a limited number of salvaged pavers available, Bay-Friendly Landscape design and construction Mowat designed the area so that rings of the pavers techniques offer many benefits, such as healthier alternate with bands of recycled-content concrete. soils, water conservation, waste reduction and Inspired by Antoni Gaudi’s pollution prevention. To make the most of mosaics in Barcelona’s Park these benefits, a landscape also needs to be Güell, Mowat surrounded the maintained using Bay-Friendly practices. willow with benches surfaced Nelson Kirk, the grounds supervisor for Union with a mosaic of broken tiles City’s civic landscapes, is a Bay-Friendly Qualified he purchased as seconds from landscape professional, as is the staff member who a local tile manufacturer. oversees the crew that maintains Willow Park. When [Sourcing recycled and salvaged materials can take extra working at Willow Park, the crew uses a Bay-Friendly effort, Mowat said, but it is time well spent. “The initial maintenance checklist R&D of the design is time intensive,” he said, “but you that outlines practices take that knowledge with you into the next project.” such as using integrated Since completing Willow Park, he has persuaded PHOTO: RObeRT MOwaT assOciaTes pest management (IPM), public sector and private sector clients to include pruning methods that more recycled-content materials in their landscapes. avoid shearing, aerating and grasscycling of turf, using compost andPHOTO: RObeRT MOwaT assOciaTes natural soil amendments, and maintaining a layer of recycled mulch at least three inches deep in all planting areas. Kirk is enthusiastic about the Bay-Friendly techniques on display at Willow Park. “I think it’s a good start with good intentions. We want to help promote low maintenance, drought tolerance and sustainable Tiles that were seconds were selected for a mosaic practices,” he said. “We are hopeful that these bench and sourced at Heath new techniques and plant materials will save on ceramics in Sausalito. maintenance time and help heal our environment.” Crunching the Numbers Even a small park can make a big difference using Bay-Friendly Landscape practices. At Willow Park: • 135,000 gallons of water is • 100% of compost and mulch is • 50% of landscape materials saved per year by planting recycled urban plant waste were produced locally low water-using plants and • 90% of plants are low water • 46% of paved areas will be turf alternatives in 48% of the users shaded by trees in 15 years irrigated areas • 85% of runoff is treated onsite • 44% of non-plant landscape • 100% of C&D debris was • 50% of cement was replaced materials are salvaged or diverted from landfills with recycled flyash recycled 5 4 J a n u a r y , 2 010
  5. 5. Where There’s a Willow, There’s a WayW illows typically love moisture, so it Permeable pavers in the circular picnic area might seem surprising to plant one around the willow provide an additional path at the heart of a water-conserving for water to reach the tree’s roots. The willowlandscape. But Mowat’s design challenges will still need supplemental irrigation duringassumptions about what civic landscapes may periods of drought, but it is served by a separatelook like in the future as freshwater supplies grow irrigation valve so that it can receive adequatescarcer in California. moisture without overwatering other parts of the park.Mowat designed Willow Park to be graded sothat rainwater runoff flows into a depressed basin As Willow Park shows, a Bay-Friendly Landscapein which the willow is planted. The basin serves can include some water-loving plants—in thismultiple functions. It keeps stormwater runoff case by retaining stormwater runoff, creatingwhere it belongs—in the soil—rather than letting drought-resistant soil with compost and mulch,it flow into storm drains. It concentrates moisture and featuring a plant palette dominated by lowfor the thirsty willow. And it creates a distinct water-using species.focal point and inviting gathering spot for theneighborhood. J a n u a r y , 2 010 4 5
  6. 6. 1537 Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94612Ask about our FREE resources: This case study was written by StopWaste.Org as part of its Bay-Friendly Landscaping program.Available online at www.Bay-Friendly.Org: For information about waste reduction, recycling and • Bay-Friendly Civic & Commercial Landscape Scorecard sustainable landscaping, visit • Bay-Friendly Landscape Guidelines: Sustainable Practices for the Landscape Professional About the Agency • A Bay-Friendly Landscaping Guide to Mulch: Save The Alameda County Waste Management Authority & Money, Control Weeds, and Create Healthy Landscapes the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling (Available in English and Spanish) Board is an integrated public agency whose mission • A Bay-Friendly Landscaping Guide to Grasscycling: Save is to provide the most environmentally sound waste Time, Save Money and Create Beautiful Lawns (Available management program for the people of Alameda County. in English and Spanish) The authority and the Recycling Board produced this • A Bay-Friendly Landscaping Guide to Recycled-Content case study to aid developers in creating and building and Salvaged Materials: Add Value, Reduce Greenhouse sustainable landscapes Gas Emissions and Create Attractive Landscapes • Fact Sheet on Recycled Content Park & Recreation Products in Alameda County • Bay-Friendly Model Landscape Maintenance SpecificationsAlso check our website for information on the Bay-Friendly Landscape Professional Qualification andTraining for both landscape design and maintenanceprofessionals at W W W. B Ay- F R I E N D Ly. O R g6 J a n u a r y , 2 010