Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUL 2014

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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(Continued from page 20) p l a y g ro u n d edge. Several ash trees had to be removed, but many mature trees in and around the park were retained to maintain the site's shade canopy. Several rare native tree species were introduced, and more trees stood in the park when construction ended then before it began. Shades of green and blue can be found throughout the park, creating a lively but naturalistic aesthetic. Children from the community played a special part in selecting the colors and equipment at Merryman Park, including a rainbow-colored rope in the net dome. The design provides inventive, exploratory play experiences and physical challenges for ages ranging from two to 12, and accommodates a number of disabilities, including physical, cognitive, and emotional limitations. The playgrounds all meet or exceed municipally mandated accessibility standards. The landscape at each park focuses on easily maintained and native or adapted species. Canopy trees, ornamental trees, and deciduous shrubs were specified for their bright spring blooms and lively fall colors. Specimens were hand-selected at the nursery by the landscape architect for their unique color and structure. With only four months from the receipt of contract to the completion of the bid set, the massive effort and coordination that went into these parks is notable. The design and construction of these parks, although small in physical scale, was large in scope. Above, Left Plantings at Mellin Park included Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance,' Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' and cornelian cherry dogwoods, and were selected for seasonal interest and low maintenance needs. Above, Right Mellin Park's orange/blue/gray color scheme was vetted through community input and selected for its congruity with the Chicago Bears football team and the nearby University of Illinois' school colors. The safety surfacing and rubber mounds (Total Surface) cover 8,870 square feet of the park. Middle Merryman Park, a .15-acre pocket park in a residential neighborhood, was transformed with an explorer dome (Kompan), swings, seating areas and 3,350 square feet of safety surfacing. Bottom Merryman Park was designed to foster exploratory play, provide physical challenges for 2-to-12-year-olds and accommodate users of all ability levels. Unanticipated sewer and water tie-in issues proved challenging during the installation, but construction was completed within the three-month timeframe provided by the Chicago Park District. 22 Landscape Architect and Specifier News

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