Feature Article - November 2006
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Open Invitation

Landscape design brings in visitors

By Jessica Royer Ocken


Consult the following online resources for further insight and ideas on what makes a truly excellent outdoor space.

City of Oshkosh Riverwalk Design Plans:

The Garden Maze at Luray Caverns, Virginia:

Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design:

Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park:

Mesa Design Group (landscape design firm):

Outdoor Arts Foundation:

Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy:

Sholom Park Labyrinth in Ocala, Florida:

The Labyrinth at Audubon Park, New Orleans:

The Great Park Conservancy in Orange County, California:

As an added bonus, visit this link to see awe-inspiring parks The Great Park Conservancy has discovered all over the world:

Aim for education

With all this greenery grooming you're doing, why not go the extra mile and ensure that your new-and-improved outdoor extravaganza functions in an educational, as well as recreational, capacity? The more reasons there are for folks to visit your facility, the more likely they'll be to stop by. Professionals from landscape architects to park managers to outdoor artists suggest including informative features as part of the terrain you're sculpting and shaping.

The plans for Orange County, California's Great Park include assorted "climates and biological zones," explained Great Park Conservancy Director Rick Hume. "One of our themes is education and lifelong learning, so informing the public about different microclimates will be very important."

As COGdesign worked with the Boston Park District and area community members to revitalize a park that had fallen into disrepair, they thought it important not just to spruce up the grounds, but "to bring healthy activity in," Droby explained. "We hired a naturalist to do activities with kids in the park over several months—nature journal writing and drawing, local geography, looking for bugs, identifying leaves, talking about weather."

Teachers discussed these experiences with their students throughout the school year, and then the students returned to the park.

"It was so interesting to see their new level of comfort," Droby said. "The kids brought their families and claimed the park...meanwhile, neighbors came by and saw kids enjoying the park. Sometimes you have to change the culture [to make an area successful]."