Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUN 2015

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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Page 44 of 157

June 2015 45 Another challenge was a campus maintenance staff stretched thin by a tight budget. Maintenance strongly pushed for incorporating more hardscapes over softscapes to ease maintenance requirements. Also, the staff wanted any installed softscapes to have minimal plantings to ease maintenance requirements. The landscape architects pressed for a balance on the hardscape/softscape issue, pointing out that large expanses of hardscape would of course capture too much heat and create a distracting glare for students viewing the space from the levels above. For a solution, MLA developed a graphic banding pattern in the hardscape to complement a planting scheme that breaks up the lower plaza and allows the steep slope to spill onto the lower plaza. Also a planting mix of fescue grasses— Festuca rubra communta (Chewing's fescue), Festuca longifloia ('hard' fescue, a grass native to Britain's Channel Islands and Southern Devon) and Festuca ovina ('sheep's' fescue, a densely tufted perennial) with a hydraulic mulch ('Flexterra' growth medium) to allow quick stabilization of the steep slopes. Above The narrow and steep landscape slope between the new Mesa College Student Services Center (left) and the retained I-300 Building (center) had uninviting switchback stairs connecting the lower parking area to the upper campus. Right The San Diego Mesa College logo on the Student Services Center is framed by magnolia trees on the lower plaza level. AFTER BEFORE

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