Affordable Urban Apartments

DESIGN GOALS

This was a pro bono project for non-profit organization which owns and operates affordable housing units in the Metropolitan Area. The goal was to refresh and improve the waning garden area running along the sidewalk near the public street and to create places to attract the residents of the apartment and neighbors to interact. And to design the streetscape which required little maintenance and once the plants were established, required little water as well.

CHALLENGES

Although the design is on privately owned property its close proximity to the public street required the design to address security issues and all materials used in the design had to be suitably durable. The existing street trees roots had invaded the planting beds overwhelming the plants and stealing water from the site. The plant materials needed to be hardy because of the difficult conditions of the site.

SOLUTION

Landscape lighting was designed as much for aesthetics as for security and the site furniture was designed to deter vandalism and loitering. A retaining wall was designed with 3 niches integrated into the run of wall next to the sidewalk to house metal benches creating areas to sit, pause and have a conversation with the neighbors. Plant materials were chosen for texture and color as well as their ”bullet proof” growing habits. The plant list comprised of Northwest natives mixed with ornamentals which are vigorous growers and created interesting combinations.

RESULT

The streetscape was transformed from a dreary, tired landscape into a welcoming spot to sit and chat with friends and neighbors.