Tag Archives: California

Pre-cast Bioretention Planters Filter Stormwater

We’ve got some great images of a bioretention planter project that was installed in Mountain View, CA. We’ve been working with designers for some time on these kinds of projects, so it’s about time we can share some images!

Scuppers drain to surface plantings

The project, 1101 W. El Camino is a  newly constructed 52-unit condominium community located in the heart of downtown Mountain View, CA, which happens to be the home base of Google. The project is designed by Jett Landscape Architecture + Design, and installed by Regis Contractors.

California (and much of the West Coast) has introduced stormwater quality requirements on large new construction projects, commonly referred to as C.3 Stormwater guidance. This requires that all water coming off constructed environments be filtered through bioswales and bioretention areas to improve water quality. You’ve probably seen these kinds of filtering areas within parking lots and around buildings. You can learn more about the requirements at this website.

Note walldrains entering planters above

One common strategy used by architects and landscape architects is to introduce bioretention planters onto the structure of the building, which otherwise would have taken up footprint at ground level. These planters have traditionally been very large, cast-in-place concrete areas susceptible to waterproofing and drainage failure. They need to be large to filter the substantial amount of stormwater draining off the roof and exposed areas. Tournesol Siteworks has been working with designers for several years on developing pre-cast bioretention planters that serve the same function.

Walldrains at either end flow through all four planters

Typically a bioretention planter is at least 42″ deep, which allows for 12″ of gravel, 24″ of filtering soil media, and 6″ of freeboard area to accommodate the drainage from the drain lead. You can get an idea of how this works in the images above and below.  Drainage from the pre-cast planter may be channeled out by a plumbed drain line (as seen above), or may be drained from a scupper to a on-ground planting area.

Stormwater drains into planter

Pre-cast biorention planters are typically made of lightweight GFRC concrete. The live loads on the sidewalls of these very large planters typically demand the rigidity and strength of concrete (although we’re investigating the use of FRP fiberglass right now). The units may be used individually, or ganged together to filter a larger area.

Tournesol Siteworks has been developing, with input from our design customers, strategies for connecting planters, both together and to typical drainage plumbing. The product compares very favorably, both in terms of footprint and ease of installation, with both cast-in-place concrete and build-in-place CMU construction.  Because these are becoming ever more common, we’re putting our project teams to work on these projects on a regular basis.

Bioretention planters ganged together at the top and the bottom

The planters shown here all use custom decorative brass hardware. Tournesol Siteworks has developed standard non-decorative solutions for both connecting planters as well as drainage.

Detail of custom brass scuppers (by others)

1101 W. El Camino is an excellent example of this type of use of on-structure bioretention – we’ll look forward to providing you with more applications using this same solution soon!

Thermally-Modified Wood Planters – Before & After

This week, we’re looking back or giving a “second look” at a project Tournesol Siteworks took part in over a year ago. We’d like to show the weathering and patina of our Boulevard Thermally-Modified Wood planters over time, and to share how we’ve expanded one product line by offering the Boulevard Wood Mixed Media Planter options.

In Concord, CA, the Willows Shopping Center received a remodel two years ago. Many architects, contractors, and landscape architects were called to help beautify specific sections of this shopping center and modernize the area for the community. One project involved upgrading the exterior of Fuddruckers restaurant. Johnson Lyman Architects, out of Walnut Creek, specified Tournesol Siteworks’ Boulevard Thermally-Modified Wood Planters for the front entrance of the restaurant (shown above).

Photo taken 11/2016

Our Boulevard wood planters were installed by Lenzi Incorporated, out of Stockton, and arranged as a decorative barrier along the length of the dining area (shown in the installation photo above). Each planter is 48″L x 18″W x 36″H and was beautifully planted with various succulents. The wood planters are produced from Boulevard thermally-modified wood which goes through the thermal-modification process.  This 100% natural process changes the chemical make-up and cell structure of the wood, and creates lumber with exceptional resistance to rot, pest, and decay.

Photo taken 11/2017

Technically, Boulevard Wood shares a 25-year preserved-wood-like durability level similar to South American hardwoods but is ecologically-friendly. The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption and makes Boulevard wood more resistant to warp, twist and other movement. Over time, weathering will reveal the wood’s natural patina to a silver, grayish color.  Above is a photo of the same planters taken one year later, showing the weathering and beautiful patina of the Boulevard wood.

Boulevard Thermally-Modified Wood Planter with Stainless Steel plank – Mixed Media option

Since this installation, Tournesol Siteworks expanded on the Boulevard Wood planters products; now offering options of swapping out one or more wood planks with planks of different materials, providing designers with more options to beautify spaces. The image just below shows a Boulevard Wood planter with the Mixed Media Panel option.

Boulevard Thermally-Modified Wood Planter with Weathering Steel Panel- Mixed Media Option

We can create wood planters with choices of either Stainless Steel Brushed No. 4, Weathering Steel (shown above), Powder-Coated Steel or lightweight GFRC concrete planks. We’re here to help make your next project a success – Successful sites start here!

Thermally-Modified Boulevard Wood Deck at Jefferson Platinum Triangle

Beauty is not only on the surface, but also what’s beneath. We find this is true at the Jefferson Platinum Triangle apartments, in the center of the Platinum Triangle in Anaheim, CA. The Platinum Triangle area is becoming the most sought after urban center in Orange County; close to restaurants, transportation, jobs, and entertainment (as well as Disneyland).

Jefferson Platinum Triangle is now an upscale, high-end urban living area. In the planning phase, the owner wanted to strive toward a more sustainable outdoor area, where the residents could meet up for social community time. Landscape Architects with Gillespie Moody Patterson (GMP) from San Diego specified Tournesol Siteworks’ products and designed an amazing amenity deck. GMP specified 250 of our Boulevard Structural Wood Tiles along with our Sliding Wood Tile Fasteners to connect the tiles in place.

Our wood tiles, installed by Woodcrest Grading, are 24″ x 24″ and are produced from Boulevard Thermally-Modified Wood.  The wood goes through a process that changes the chemical make-up and cell structure of the wood. The process creates lumber with exceptional resistance to rot, pest, and decay. Technically, it shares a 25-year preserved-wood-like durability level similar to South American hardwoods, but is ecologically-friendly. The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement. Over time, weathering will reveal the wood’s natural patina to a silver, grayish color.

Along with our wood tiles, they selected our VersiJack Adjustable Support Pedestals; VersiJack are twist-to-adjust height pedestals, needed to accommodate this project for heights from 1-1/2″ up to 11″. The pedestals create a broad, stable base that can support more weight than any other pedestal system. Due to unevenness and slope of the deck base, they required our Platform Slope Correctors which can correct from 0% to 5% slope at 1% increments. Because this type of corrector sits on top of the pedestal, it is faster and easier to adjust to the correct slope, as well as being less expensive than a bottom slope corrector.

The apartment tenants thoroughly enjoy the amenity deck at Jefferson Platinum Triangle, complete with comfortable outdoor lounges, BBQ grill kitchens and sunning areas.  The project came out beautifully and makes us wish we could enjoy it now.

Transbay Transit Center – VersiCell in SF’s Upcoming Park

We were thrilled to see the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle Newspaper on April 12 (online April 11), featuring the Transbay Transit Center currently being built in busy downtown San Francisco. The Transbay Transit Center is more than just a rooftop park, it will be a huge city park at 5.4 acres and a quarter of a mile long, within one of the busiest city sections on the West Coast.

Tournesol Siteworks is thoroughly involved in this high profile project, as 192, 000 sq. ft  our VersiCell sub-surface drainage panels were specified by PWP Landscape Architecture. In the SF Chronicle article titled “Transbay Transit Center rooftop turning into 5.4-acre City Park,” writer J.K. Dineen states,

The Transbay Transit Center is set to open late this year and will serve numerous bus lines, including AC Transit, Muni, Golden Gate Transit and Greyhound. It’s still unknown when it might connect to high-speed rail or Caltrain, which will operate the station, how much it will cost to operate, or what shops and restaurants will occupy the 100,000 square feet of retail space.

…But what is known is this: Tree by tree, San Francisco’s next significant public open space, a 5.4-acre green rooftop boxed in by towers of glass, is taking shape atop the transit center. And amid all the questions about the future of the transit center, it is the park — with its carefully curated collection of flora — that has the potential to make the project an attraction in the years before the trains arrive.

Our Versicell drainage panels were installed by contractors from McGuire and Hester out of Alameda, CA, just across the bay from San Francisco. VersiCell is a sub-surface drainage panel that provides the ultimate combination of strength and water flow capacity. The modular, connectable panels are frequently used in a variety of installations where fast, high-volume water flow is critical. In addition to sub-surface drainage, VersiCell is frequently used in place of heavy gravel aggregates for waterproofing membrane protection, for heat and sound insulation on structures, as a drainage channel, and on subterranean walls to prevent hydrostatic pressure buildup.

To read the entire SF Chronicle, Transbay Transit Center article, please click here. It is exciting to know that our VersiCell is highly inert, and won’t break down or crush over the life of this application, and that we are part of a project that will be enjoyed by people for decades.

 

 

 

Taking care of (someone else’s) business…

One of the most important things that Tournesol Siteworks offers is the promise to make sure that things are correct. Recently a project came to our attention that demonstrated that commitment.

The project in question was a mixed-use development in Oakland, completed in the Summer of 2016. Our Wilshire Collection planters had been specified both on a second-floor terrace area as well as along the corners of the main structure.

Wilshire Collection Square and Rectangular Planters

Northern California has had quite a rainy season so far. Shortly after it started, our regional sales manager Troy Nottingham received a call from the landscape contractor on the project, complaining about leaking and deforming pots. We quickly contacted our local distributor to figure out exactly what we sold on the project.

Before we got the information from the distributor, the general contractor escalated the issue by emailing us, the specifying landscape architect, owner, and everyone else. Troy adjusted his schedule and visited the project the next day to assess the situation.

Wilshire Collection Rectangular and Square Planters

It was a fairly simple answer – there were 60″L x 18″W x 36″H planters at the corners of the project, and the ones facing west had nothing to block the rain. The pots were plumbed for irrigation, but not drainage, and were filling up with water. As they filled, the walls flexed out significantly, something that won’t typically happen with our containers. In addition, the caulk seal around the irrigation penetration wasn’t holding, and water was leaking out.

Troy followed up the site visit with a full report to the landscape architect, general contractor, and landscape contractor. He gave an analysis of the problem, and provided several suggestions to relieve the stress on the containers and solve the problem.

The next week he called the project manager for the landscape contractor, and asked about the next steps. Sheepishly, the contractor admitted that Tournesol had provided the pots for the second-floor terrace (which were doing just fine), but that they had gone to another manufacturer for the ones on the ground floor(!). He hadn’t realized it initially when calling us, only finding out after speaking with their purchaser.

We were of course relieved to know that it wasn’t our product that was the issue. It’s also good to know that when contractors feel that something is wrong, they can count on us to make it right. However, we’d prefer not to have to troubleshoot someone else’s problem!

 

San Francisco Shipyard Coming to Life

The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard area in San Francisco, CA, is being transformed and will eventually be a residential extension of the Bayview neighborhood. This part of the city is up and coming, and is part of the city that outsiders see most rarely. The first phase of construction began in 2014, and first completed was a beautiful park for the community to enjoy. There will be residential housing that encompasses 800 units, and 20 acres of parks. Five residential units have been completed so far in this construction zone, and three more are underway, designed by four different architectural firms.

Block 51, Wilshire BOx Hanging Planters

One of the firms, Ian Birchall and Associates, specified Tournesol Siteworks products for the four-story condo building they designed. We referred to the project as Block 51 which has a large courtyard, accessible from the street. Inside the courtyard, IBA designed a modern wall of green vegetation beginning with our Wilshire Box Hanging Planters. Landscape contractors Shooter & Butts, Inc. installed the hanging planters on a metal wall with metal trellises where vines grow/climb up the wall.

block-51-3
Courtyard of Block 51, Wilshire Box Hanging Planters

We design the hanging planters so that the product doesn’t take center stage – we prefer the plants steal the show. The hanging brackets are powder coated with stainless mounting studs. The brackets tuck into the back of the box, so the planter can snug up next to the wall.

img_0553

The plants quickly grow and expand onto the trellis screens. Using our WB-1218 (12″W x 18″H in, 72″L and 96″L) boxes maximizes the room the plants can grow. Typically, the more soil there is in a pot, the bigger the plant will get (the roots expand as much as the upper part of the plant will). IBA also chose various sizes of our lightweight FRP Fiberglass planters from our Wilshire Collection now located around the perimeter of the building.

The installation looks amazing and we’re sure the tenants will enjoy their surroundings full of warmth and color.

 

 

Tournesol Nominated for Local “Outstanding Growth Company” Award

san-francisco
The Association for Corporate Growth is a national business group that promotes itself as the “pre-eminent organization dedicated to helping middle-market companies grow.” Tournesol Siteworks was recently nominated for their “Outstanding Growth Awards” as one of the standouts in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s a recognition of the business we’ve worked hard to build over the past 20+ years, as well as a reflection of the construction market climate that we’re enjoying right now.
This from the ACG-San Francisco website:
SF-ACG seeks to identify, understand and disseminate those qualities that lead to superior growth and overall performance in Middle Market Companies. Each year we recognize the company or organization that exemplifies these superlatives with our Outstanding Growth Award.
2016gawds_nomineesimage1
We’re honored to be included in this group of impressive companies. We’ve been able to grow at a 30% rate over the past few years, thanks to the hard work of the entire Tournesol Siteworks team. This recognition is one that we can all be proud of – and one that we hope to continue to build on!

Thermally-Modified Wood Planters Presentation

In Concord, CA, the Willows Shopping Center has been receiving a remodel for the past few years. Many architects, contractors, and landscape architects have been called to help beautify specific sections of this sleepy shopping center, and modernize the area for the community of shoppers and diners. One project in particular involved upgrading the exterior of Fuddruckers restaurant. Johnson Lyman Architects, out of Walnut Creek, specified our Boulevard Wood Planters for the front entrance of the restaurant.

fudds

Tournesol Siteworks’ wood planters were installed by Lenzi Incorporated, out of Stockton, and arranged as a decorative barrier along the length of the dining area (shown in the photo below). Each planter is 48″L x 18″W x 36″H and has been beautifully planted with various succulents.

plant-2-small
Thermally-Modified Boulevard Wood Planters

Our wood planters are produced from Boulevard thermally-modified wood which goes through a process that changes the chemical make-up and cell structure of the wood. The process creates lumber with exceptional resistance to rot, pest, and decay. Technically, it shares a 25-year preserved-wood-like durability level similar to South American hardwoods, but is ecologically-friendly.

wood

The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement. Over time, weathering will reveal the wood’s natural patina to a silver, grayish color.

planter-1-smaller

As the Willows Shopping Center continues to be remodeled and renovated, we look forward to seeing the outstanding results.

TWIG Benches and Urban Planters in Walnut Creek, CA

The Pacific Plaza in Walnut Creek, California, is an office property of CBRE which offers tenants unobstructed views of nearby Mount Diablo. Recently, the exterior landscape received a renovation to modernize and refresh the building, and to increase the curb appeal. Gates & Associates Landscape Architecture was the specifier and chose Tournesol Siteworks‘ products for the project.

crop-3
White TWIG Benches with Urban Collection rectangular planters

Gates chose our Urban Collection planters with matching container irrigation. Along with the planters, Gates liked our TWIG benches in lightweight GFRC concrete. The three TWIG benches are highly configurable, modular seating that presents a pleasant, casual area in the front entrance of the Pacific Plaza. The installation of the planters and benches was completed by Brightview Landscape Development.

crop-2
Round Urban Collection White Planters

Various sizes of our lightweight FRP Fiberglass Urban Collection round planters were arranged, and 15 Urban Collection rectangles measuring 36″ x 24″ x 24″. Inside the white planters, matching CWM Modular Self-Watering Systems reduce maintenance and are designed for use in any large planter, freestanding or otherwise. Reservoir modules are linked together and buried within the pot. The hand-filled reservoir utilizes Tournesol Siteworks’ vacuum-sensor system to precisely monitor the soil moisture in the container, giving plants exactly the amount of water they need.

Gates & Associates also specified our Drainage Control Products, which are used to evacuate planters where no drainage can be tolerated (such as this plaza), provide overflow for excess water, and control drainage. Our Drainage Systems are designed to integrate with our irrigation and containers, yet can also work well with pots or planters from any manufacturer. We now feature a special level of waterproofing (called TourneSeal) for critical applications like this.

photo-aug-18-7-29-19-am
Pacific Plaza Front Entrance

Gates & Associates created a nice, comfortable atmosphere at the Pacific Plaza and we were happy to have been chosen as part of this landscape remodel.

 

TerraScreen Green at Herringbone Santa Monica

Beautiful Santa Monica, CA, draws travelers to well-known places such as the Santa Monica Pier, Muscle Beach and Pacific Palisades. This beach-front city, West of Los Angeles, has something for everyone from shopping and beaches, to entertainment and amazing restaurants. One such restaurant is the trendy Herringbone with the tagline “Where Fish Meets Field.” Herringbone strives to create an atmospheric experience, rather than just a meal. The ambiance reflects nature with indoor trees, plants and greenery, and serves the “best of the sea” and the “best of the land.”

Herring 1
Entrance to Herringbone’s Santa Monica location

Our partners at Instant Jungle International were contacted by Herringbone, which was looking to build a living wall inside the restaurant. Greg Wallace from Instant Jungle collaborated with their designers to design an amazing living wall. Greg was instrumental in the design phase and chose Tournesol SiteworksTerraScreen Interior Green Wall. Greg described how the TerraScreen offers more flexibility than any other green wall system. It is designed so that the planting may be easily updated and maintained which helps to ensure the installation remains appropriate to each project’s environment and style.

Herring 2
TerraScreen Interior Green Wall in Herringbone

Instant Jungle installed 16 TerraScreen Interior Green Wall panels 49″W x 49″H x 4 5/8″D and 9 panels 70″W x 49″H x 4 5/8″D – planting a whopping total of 715 plants! Greg recommended the best greenery and a beautiful plant pallet including Spider Plants, Wandering Jew, Gold, Green and Neon Pothos, Bromeliads,  Red Maranta, Calathea, and Kangaroo Ferns.

Herring 4
Plant selection close-up

TerraScreen panels are made of powder-coated galvanized steel wire, with removable brackets to fasten the panel to the wall. Plants are placed in their 6” nursery pots directly into the black no-hole cachepot, rather than plants directly grown in soil media. This allows a light, easy-to-mount support system, which disappears behind the plants as they are set into cachepots on the frame. It is the solution to the challenge of installing a living wall that is instantly lush, A controlled sub-irrigation system prevents run-off or spills, and allows for easy replacement of plants as wished, and is easy to refresh and maintain.

Herring 3

The lush green wall at Herringbone is stunning and we are thrilled that their clients are as pleased with the living wall as they are! In fact, there have been a number of Herringbone’s clientele that have inquired about the green wall build and installation. Their clients also want a TerraScreen living wall installed at other locations around southern California.