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challenging clients’ perspectives of what is required for landscapes,” he says.
“When established, waterwise, local plants need very little maintenance...
We’re pushing for these plants and we’re getting them – it’s happening.”
Other considerations include the use of durable local or recycled materials
and/or materials with low-embodied energy, as well as retaining existing
vegetation to minimise impact on the native landscape. Longevity is another
aspect that landscape architect Craig Carpenter from Blackwell & Associates
says largely comes down to the quality of design. “If people can appreciate
the quality of an outdoor space they will want to keep it,” he says.
Blackwell & Associates’ work with LandCorp (the State Government’s land
and property developer) on the redevelopment of the Perry Lakes Stadium
incorporates a lot of material reuse. Craig says this is fantastic, not just in
terms of sustainability, but also for retaining some of the history of the 1962
British Empire and Commonwealth Games site.
Thousands of metres of old wandoo seating have been turned into decking,
crushed brick from the site has been used for paving and signage has been
kept to be reinterpreted as artwork.
WALKING THE WALK
Craig says sustainability has too readily been used as a buzzword. “For a long
time, there’s been a lot of talk but not much walk,” he says. “And sometimes
it’s actually regulation that can make it hard to buck the trends.”
Howard Mitchell, director of landscape architecture and environmental
planning practice EPCAD, agrees that regulation can hinder the pursuit of
sustainability, particularly in WA. For example, he says, the requirement for
minimum gradients on roads. This leads to the flattening of the topography
and the removal of trees and native vegetation when sub-divisions are
developed. Combine that with most authorities supporting the flat-lot
TOP A living wall by Sheoak’s Landcaping at Frasers Landing estate softens the modern structure.
ABOVE Illuminated seating is practical and eye-catching at Northbridge Piazza (also see p242).
“Landscaping needs to create inviting
spaces and can play an important
role in enhancing safety. On a larger
scale, it can help to define an area or
precinct as being unique” Perth Mayor Lisa Scaffidi
principle sought by volume builders, he adds, and you have a situation of total
clearance. “Restrictions on the use of recycled wastewater for irrigation are
being slowly eroded but we’re still a long way from achieving what is accepted
practice in the Middle East and other dry-climate locations,” he says.
Howard says it’s easier to resolve many of the issues on projects where
strata titles allow controls over many of the public authority and utilities
standards that can adversely affect green-titled developments.
Craig points out that regulatory problems are often made harder because
landscape architects are brought in at the end of the project, when it’s too
late to change decisions that have already been made. However, experts agree
attitudes are changing and landscapes are becoming less of an afterthought.
It’s vital to be involved through the conceptual design process, says
Anthony. “A good structural framework leads to good opportunities for
outdoor spaces, rather than landscapes being created from leftover spaces.”
Craig agrees that it’s coming to a point where more and more clients are
realising landscape has value, both economic and social.
Research shows a development with a well-presented landscape design is
perceived better by the market than one with a poor one, resulting in a much
higher return for the developer. “It’s not just about making things beautiful,
but also trying to establish a character,” says Tony of Blackwell & Associates.
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