When Verdant Enterprises moved to our new studio office on Henry Street in Savannah in 2012, we immediately saw the hidden potential in the weedy dirt strip in front of our studio. The project speaks to our firm’s interest in promoting dynamic and ecologically inspired landscapes in Savannah. It was quite a journey to plan, seek city approval, and install the new landscape but we are pleased to now be nurturing the evolution of this linear urban garden.
The sidewalk would flood to our doorstep in heavy storm events. Years of neglect had muddled the interface between soil and pavement. We noted the thirteen species of ruderal weeds, a frustrated mocking bird’s nest, the variety of litter and heavily compacted soils.
Our goal was to demonstrate progressive principles in sustainable landscape design and showcase indigenous plants of the Georgia Coast. We focused on creating an all native bio-diverse landscape that would also function to absorb stormwater while yielding to the needs of an urban space. From our observation, we noted distinct zones of sun and shade and various moisture gradients which could help to inform representative plant communities.
The plan utilizes hardy, native plant material and subtle grading to utilize storm water runoff and increase infiltration. Elements of our plan include:
- The planting of four native evergreen trees complements the existing single trident maple.
- Bands of hardy, native grasses and perennials replace the existing weeds.
- Container plantings against the business façade to soften the wide sidewalk
- A river rock drainage system collects stormwater from the adjacent side walk and conveys it to a low area with a pond liner backfilled with heavy bog soils. This basin area is planted with bog species
- A concrete basin with aquatic plants serves as a focal element within the bog garden. A solar powered pump will create an ambient gurgle on axis with our office door.
- In the future, vertical environmental sculpture and a natural, sculptural snag will enliven our streetscape.
Location: 3 West Henry Street, Savannah, GA
Completion Date: Summer 2013