Supplement Feature - April 2008
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Trends in Park Landscaping

By Sue Marquette Poremba


Calpino is also seeing more public interest in community parks. "There are a lot more volunteer gardens," he said.

But he is also seeing another community involvement trend. "There is a broader appeal to incorporate art in public parks," he said. "That can be traditional sculpture in gardens or it can take a more sophisticated approach."

For example, in the park area near the Federal Building Center in Rockford, Ill., a grove of crabapple trees has been planted. From the ground, it just looks like a grove of trees. From a window high above, the trees actually spell out a message.

"That's the art," Calpino said. "The way the trees are planted and the message they create."

Landscape itself is an art form, he added, and more people want to see that type of art enhanced.

Calpino isn't completely sure why there is a growing interest to create landscaping that either is a work of art or includes art pieces, but he does have a guess. "I think it is technology," he said. "People go online and see pictures of other communities and the landscaping in those parks, and they want to see their community do something similar." And once the idea is suggested, it often isn't difficult to find someone willing to donate a work of art or help fund a beautifully landscaped park.

He said it is growing more common to incorporate local artists to help create work that fits a particular theme of a park. "The art piece is more than something of quality," he said. "It's a community coming together to do something beautiful."