We recently became involved with the Avalon development in Alpharetta, GA, providing them with our VGP living wall system. From the Avalon website: “It’s located in the heart of Alpharetta. It is a sustainably designed, 86-acre development with more than 500,000 square feet of retail, a 12-screen all premium theater, a full-service hotel (coming in Phase II), Class A office, single-family residences and luxury rental homes. It infuses resort-level hospitality throughout a walkable, seamlessly connected community of shopping, dining, entertainment, living and working. It’s more than just another place to go, it’s a place to be—a hub of local art and activity that delivers the luxury of the modern South.”
All photos are courtesy of our friends at Greenroofs.com, based in Alpharetta. Join them at the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2015: Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture on April 6-12.
Our regional sales representative in the area, Brian Mitalo, recently had the opportunity to discuss the project with the landscape architect, David Floyd of Site Solutions LLC in Atlanta. He described Avalon as a new type of mixed-use property called an “experiential center”. It’s the customer experience that creates the desire to go to the property and what makes one want to stay (sometimes referred to as dwell time). The shop space on Avalon Boulevard is dominated by smaller, boutique type retailers popular with the affluent population surrounding the center. Local chefs provide the driving force for the restaurant scene rather than national chains. As a result, residents of Alpharetta can enjoy dining experiences that here before would have required a 20 mile drive into Atlanta.
From a landscape design standpoint, Site Solutions selected various hardscape and landscape elements that stimulate all of the visitors’ senses and thus add to “the experience”. Cobblestone and crushed gravel walking paths stimulate the sense of touch. Fire pits and outdoor fire places in comfy living room settings complete with soft furnishings lend a warm, cozy feel. A great deal of attention was focused on the plant material and site amenities/furnishings in the 0 to 3-feet high level where ones visual and tactile senses—color, material and texture can be stimulated.
In addition, Site Solutions wanted to stimulate the olfactory senses. This was accomplished by the introduction of several VGP walls adjacent to the approaches to restaurants. These approaches were purposely made more narrow to insure that the pedestrian would either brush against the plant material or at the very least be close enough to notice the fragrance of the culinary herbs and fragrant annuals/perennials planted in the trays. The VGP trays also used annuals and perennials to add visual interest by introducing color. Pinkberry has a specific color scheme consisting of alternating lime green and blue green bands around their building. Site Solutions replicated this brand identity element in the living wall through the plants they selected. David mentioned that the VGP walls have received a tremendous amount of positive comments on social media. They really resonated with the community.
The VGP was chosen because it offers flexibility when it comes to planting and maintenance. The VGP trays allow for easy seasonal rotations if desired, or an arrangement for special events. Site Solutions likes the fact that the weight of the system does not create excessive stresses on the building wall, how easy it installs, the ease of maintenance and how friendly it is on the budget (up to 30% less than other living wall systems).
According to Site Solutions, there may be more walls to come as the complex continues to be built – we’ll look forward to seeing them!
The VGP was chosen because it offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to planting and maintenance. The VGP trays allow for easy seasonal rotations if desired, or an arrangement for special events. Site Solutions likes the weight of the system on the wall, how easy it installs, ease of maintenance and how friendly it is on the budget (up to 30% less than other living wall systems).
According to Site Solutions, there may be more walls to come as the complex continues to be built out. We’ll look forward to seeing them!