We need to move from mow-and-blow maintenance, to an ecological stewardship of the property.
San Francisco, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) April 05, 2011
A vast number of large private properties in the Bay Area, were designed in the 1960s and 70s, without thought given to the long-term impacts of their landscape. They are now encountering issues such as overplanting, which shades out other plants, inappropriate plants for the immediate microclimate, and the need for excessive water, fertilizers, and fossil fuels to manage them. The problems have been exacerbated by lack of forethought in the original design, poor management practices and the fact that these properties have now reached the end of their viable life cycle.
San Francisco Bay Area landscape architect design firm Simmonds & Associates, Inc., in association with Gardeners Guild founder Linda J. Novy, are offering sustainable landscape rehabilitation plans and sustainable landscape maintenance specifications for owners of these properties.
“We work with clients to establish a program that is phased to their budget requirements,” said San Francisco Bay Area landscape architect Warren Simmonds. Simmonds says that landscape rehabilitation may be phased over several years to make it affordable. The initial steps involve discovering and mapping what is already on the site and taking inventory of what is working and what is not.
Simmonds and Novy take a sustainable approach to rehabilitating landscapes seen at corporate campuses, homeowners’ association properties, and medical campuses. They analyze the microclimates on the property, the current condition of the soil, the water use, the state of plantings, and the native vegetation that once prevailed on the property. From that point, they can develop a plan that significantly reduces all the negative impacts and can save the owner significant amounts of money in landscape maintenance costs.
“We will likely bring in an arborist for a thorough evaluation of the trees, an irrigation consultant for a detailed assessment of the watering system, and a soil testing lab to analyze the soil for us,” said Novy. “Once we have all the data we can prioritize which areas need immediate attention. By the second or third phase, the savings in maintenance and water costs can be reallocated to future phases of rehabilitation.”
Simmonds and Novy use plants that require little or no summer water, that will thrive in the location they are planted in, and do not require constant pruning. “We need to move past the kind of maintenance where pruning the shrubs into little round balls is seen as good maintenance” says Simmonds. Another benefit for sustainable commercial landscape design, apart from the reduced maintenance costs, is that without the chemical fertilizers and herbicides, the ecological balance of the property improves dramatically. “We take care to specify plants that offer food and habitat to birds, butterflies and beneficial insects” say Warren Simmonds. “Those in turn, help to keep invasive pest populations down, and enrich the quality of life for the people using the property”.
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome in developing a sustainable landscape is educating the people who maintain the property, said Simmonds and Novy. The Bay-Friendly Landscape certification for landscape professionals is an ideal place to start. The organization offers a seven-week class in Bay-friendly and sustainable landscape techniques.
“We need to move from mow-and-blow maintenance, to an ecological stewardship of the property,” said Novy. “This requires a degree of re-training maintenance personnel.”
Simmonds and Novy also work with the maintenance personnel to help them understand the principals of sustainability and the ongoing needs of the plants and trees they are installing to ensure their long-term success.
“Providing a maintenance specification is not enough, we provide ongoing support and periodic review of each property to ensure that the maintenance team is on the right track, and the full potential of the property is realized,” says Simmonds.
For more information about sustainable landscape rehabilitation or any of Simmonds & Associates, Inc.’s services, call them at (415) 578-9880 or visit them on the web at http://www.simmonds-associates.com.
About Simmonds & Associates, Inc. in the San Francisco Bay Area
Simmonds & Associates, Inc. is a San Francisco Bay Area landscape architect, urban and equestrian design firm. They specialize in residential, equestrian facilities design and sustainable commercial landscape design in the San Francisco Bay Area. The firm is founded on over tweny five years of practice on three continents, bring a vast and varied experience to their projects. Simmonds & Associates serves the San Francisco Bay Area communities.
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