Designing landscapes

As Sustainable Settlement’s Landscape Architect, I am leading the charge on all things landscape design. My portfolio influences many areas throughout the Ecovillage, including residential cluster community gardens, streetscapes, plant specification and public open space planning and design.

During the last month, I’ve been working largely on the streetscape detail design. As mentioned on our Facebook page last month, we recently revised the overall concept plan and, as part of that, the design of the entry road into the Ecovillage. We now have the opportunity to achieve a landscape outcome that offers richer amenity and visual outcome for residents, pedestrians and traffic and this will be my focus in the next couple of weeks.

I’m currently finalising street cross sections and paying close attention to the streetscape plant species list, both around the entry road and the residential clusters. Our aim is to provide a mixture of hardy species that will provide beauty without fail, and herbaceous species and fruiting trees in line with the Ecovillage principles.

The entry statement off Bussell Highway is an important part of the streetscape and the initial concepts were prepared in 2017. However, now with detail design of the Bussell Highway intersection nearing completion, the landscape outcome is being refined and is shaping up to be a beautiful entry.

Stage 1 community gardens have also come a long way, following the creation of a draft landscape guiding document, which explains the design strategy behind the gardens. These principles will be amalgamated into the Community Garden Handbook, which will be given to residents along with the Strata By-Laws as twin guiding documents for life in the Ecovillage.

From a design perspective, there has been significant progress made on the path access and network, drainage basins / swales and the exclusive use vegetable gardens. Careful consideration has been given to the integration of the path and drainage networks that run through the community gardens and how they will impact on the garden’s functionality and aesthetic.

In the coming months, I’ll be focused on completing the streetscape drawings and moving into detailed design of the Village Square and oval public open space. I’ll also be progressing Stage 1 community gardens, in particular, the garden we plan to construct as a working model. We’ll also get started soon on planting of the earth bunds along Bussell Highway.

The unique aspect of this project for our team, and me as a landscape architect, is that we are 100 per cent focused on one project. As with most professionals in the residential development industry, we usually have very limited time (from weeks to a few months) to spend on each project. However, with this project, we have literally spent years completely focussed on this one incredible village.