Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Public landscapes

I'm really tired of cookie-cutter commercial and public landscapes. It's SO refreshing to bumble on a business with an interesting landscape or a public area that's actually creative and reflective of the surrounding region.

This legal office in Portland, Oregon had a lovely landscape.

I've found that there's a bit of synergy that can work in a community. If one business starts to do something different, then their neighbor catches on, just like in residential communities (which can be equally unimaginative).

How about this oil change place in Asheville, North Carolina?
(click on the photo for a larger version)

Up and down this busy street, there are now pockets of truly nice plants, in front of offices, furniture stores, quick check places, etc.

Parking lots don't have to be a monoculture.

A new bank in my town features an elaborate new landscape of lawn, crepe myrtles, Japanese hollies in rows, and purple-leaved heucheras in full-sun (hmmm). It's a contrast, to be sure, to the nicely developing and diverse 'Gateway Park' put in by the city several years ago. I guess I should be glad that our small city requires landscaping at all, since it does result in green, but I just wish that landscapers (and developers) would be a bit more creative in their approach.

I think that landscaping creates a mood that creates a better environment for businesses of all kinds, from banks to groceries to doctors' offices. I know that I, for one, enjoy visiting my current dentist with his dental cubicles looking out into gardens and bird feeders a lot more than previous dentists that I've had.

A recent visit to a medical specialist found his office surrounded by lovely plants (several substantial white oaks, very nice shrub plantings, and a recently installed pond that he put in himself). What's not to like about that?

Recent travels have found me noticing out-of-the ordinary parking areas and streetscapes, container plantings, and office entrances. Why shouldn't this be more the norm?

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