The Village at Chandler Fashion Center, Chandler, AZ is a showcase of revitalization and how pots can add life and landscape to any hardscape. The Villages, surrounded by numerous restaurants and retail spaces, had seen a decline in sales. Some vacant retail spaces had become available for lease. The owner, Macerich, wanted to create an outdoor destination area that would attract crowds, and one that could be used for, and flexible enough to handle, various events from outdoor vendor markets to birthday parties. Mike Faulkner, of SmithGroupJJR, to ok on this project to revitalize the underperforming outdoor courtyard space. Space constraints and the need for continued customer access during construction was a challenge. “Designing in raised planters and usage of the huge Tournesol Downtown collection pots allowed us to add landscape, shade and a modern look and feel without disruption to the facility. The pots are a great way to add landscape to any space that would typically require tearing out and replacing hardscape.” Other major design features include a new splash pad, shade parasols, outdoor lawn terraces, site furnishings and attractive night lighting. Because visibility of The Villages had also been an issue, SmithGroup specifically designed a space that would stand out in a big way. They chose a bright burst of colors – fluorescent lime and aqua. Faulkner said “Adding color to the space was a primary design goal which the client latched on to. The pots look amazing! And, allowed us to bring in variegated agaves, purple and good flowering Lantanas and Mulga trees.” According to Mike, the client loves their new space and retailers are already scheduling outdoor events at The Villages.
The City of Phoenix recently spent over a half-million dollars on street improvements, decorative sidewalks, new trees and pedestrian-friendly upgrades along First Street in downtown. The goal was to make the area more pedestrian friendly and inviting to convention attendees and tourists.
The First Street road and sidewalk improvements run from Washington to Moreland Street and include 86 of our SeaCrest Series planters with built-in container irrigation. A similar quantity of pots was required for a different streetscape area as well. The SeaCrest Series is made differently than most other collections we feature here – they are rotationally molded of linear low-density polyethylene plastic (instead of FRP fiberglass or GFRC concrete). This allows us to make the SeaCrest as a double-wall unit, and integrate the self-watering system.
The city contractor who contacted us wasn’t specifically looking for the SeaCrest Series pots. Instead, they approached us with a very tight deadline to get pots into place. Because a project of this size is made to order, and the FRP and GFRC process is relatively slow (one pot per mold per day), we needed a solution that could be turned around faster. When rotationally molding, we can make up to 5-6 pieces per day. The throughput of the process allowed us to get the project done on time.
We also had to custom blend the material to match our painted apple color. There are two different ways to match colors in plastic – use an integrally colored base material, or “dry blend” pigment in with naturally translucent base material. The nature of the exposure, abuse, longevity and color consistency demanded we use the more time- and cost-intensive integrally colored material. We received the order on the 10th of the September, and were able to ship the entire project within 30 days – thanks to our hardworking manufacturing team.
The transformation must have helped – First Street has been transformed into a pedestrian promenade that celebrates food and art in the desert during their Feast on the Street.
The day that we were taking the pictures happened to coincide with watering day. Given that the city had paid for the benefit of our unparalled container irrigation system, we were curious to see if they were using it. Answer: No. The young man (below) uses the browse head to water the plants, ignoring the tamper resistant stopper and the reservoir. It is one of the more frustrating parts of our business – you can lead a horse to water, but you just can’t make them drink. This probably could be laid at our door – maybe we didn’t do enough to train them on the use of the system. Nevertheless, the watering system is tailor-made for a place like Phoenix, and it seems a waste that it isn’t being used.
At least the product design delivers value. The double-wall provides insulation for the plants from the hot desert air, and the durable plastic will hold up to anything that the street throws at it. We were glad to help the city when they needed the material, and pleased it looks so good!
We just returned from this year’s edition of the American Soc. of Landscape Architects annual meeting & expo in Phoenix. Attendance seemed light this year, especially to the vendors standing around on the trade show floor between 11AM (after sessions started) and 3PM (once they were over). It did feel like the attendees we spoke with were busier than in previous years, and cautiously optimistic about the coming 12 months.
The American Society of Landscape Architects national meeting each year is our “big show”. This year’s show in Phoenix is no different. The Expo runs from 9AM – 5PM on Saturday, Sept. 29th and Sunday, Sept. 30th. At least this year they didn’t have it on Holloween (like last year!). We’ll be in booth #559. Go here to plan your visit – make sure to include us on the list! Continue reading ASLA 2012 in Phoenix – Come see us!!
Our friends at Plant Solutions in Scottsdale just shared a fantastic slide show with us of their most recent installation of an interior living wall at the Del Friscos Grille in Phoenix. They’ve done great work in the past with our living walls (see here, here, and here), so we were anxious to share this with you.
Jeff Basset of Unisource Global Solutions, in Chandler, AZ, recently worked with our regional sales representative Jon Willingham to design an interior living wall for their offices. They enlisted the help of Joe Zazzera and his team from Plant Solutions in Scottsdale to install and maintain the wall.
We frequently have people ask us whether it is complicated to install a TerraScreen system. This series of pictures answers that question better than anything…
Joe Zazzera of Plant Solutions in Scottsdale just sent us over a link from an article that was just published on the www.drweil.com website. If you follow this blog you may have seen this post about Joe’s TerraScreen wall in his conference room, or this post about his exterior VGM edible wall/vegetable garden. The VGM edible wall just won an award at the Calscape Expo awards in San Diego, but we’ll save that for another post.
Joe has been experimenting with nearly all the different living wall systems out there, and coming up with a few ideas of his own. He installed a large living wall at a restaurant in Orange County, CA, which somehow got the attention of the staff of the Dr. Weil MD website. Dr. Weil, for those who don’t recognize him, is a best-selling health and wellness guru. According to Joe, the editorial staff of the website came over to his facility and took an extensive tour, learning about the different wall concepts. Their favorite system, and the one mentioned first in the article, was the TerraScreen interior living wall.
A few of the highlights they mentioned:
- Plants sit in individual plastic pots, each held within a larger wall-mounted metal frame
- Can be built with attached irrigation tubing or plants can be hand-watered individually
- No extra wall waterproofing needed
- Typical uses: behind a reception desk or in an office lobby
- Professionally installed cost: $120 per square foot
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Thanks to Plant Solutions and www.drweil.com.
A while back, we published a post about a TerraScreen® living wall installed by Joe Zazzera of Plant Solutions, an interiorscaper, landscaper, and all-around green plant guru in Scottsdale, AZ. That post was picked up by Gavin at Livingwallart.com, and has gone viral!
In the meantime, Joe has been busy installing a demonstration VGM® living wall at his facility in Scottsdale. He was nice enough to document the whole thing – pictures after the break…
I wanted to feature this installation because it showcases the durability of the FRP material in demanding circumstances. A few posts ago (Hyatt Regency Gainey Ranch) I repeated something I’d heard from a local contractor in Phoenix (and I paraphrase) – “after one year outside in Phoenix, most fiberglass containers are toast”. These pots were installed in Dec. ’07, and these images were taken in April ’10. The “AAA-five diamond” Fairmont Hotel in Scottsdale, AZ isn’t exactly a low-traffic installation, and the pots are still looking great. It’s a direct result of the way we manufacture our fiberglass. We use 2-3x more fiberglass than most manufacturers and won’t ever “cut” our product with fillers that add to the weight without adding strength. More images after the break…
In the heart of the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch, a magnificent 4-star hotel, you’ll find the fountain courtyard, filled with majestic palms, fountains, and streams as it leads you from the lobby to the main pool area. About two years ago the hotel horticultural staff added Urban Collection containers and CWM Modular container irrigation for additional color along the paths. More images after the break.