The best landscapes work with the buildings they surround , so the area surrounding any building has to be planned as carefully as the building itself. Designing a building and the areas around it so that the local landscapes of geology, hydrology, ecology, and culture work together is a kind of integrated design. When we design landscapes around a building,we must consider both how we shape the landscape and how we cover the landscape. How we answer these concerns will take into consideration how the area will be used (by people, vehicles, animals) and how it fits into the broader landscape of the site.
How is the landscape around the science center an example of integrated design? For the Cascade Meadow team, there were a lot of issues to consider, such as keeping water away from the building, choosing trees, shrubs and grasses, and planning pathways, sidewalks, and areas for vehicle flow and parking. Many of these issues are universal for anyone with a building site.
- pervious pavements
- green roofs
- bio cells
- native plants
When practicing integrated design, however, making a plant selection isn’t just about the color or location. Trees or shrubs can reduce the building’s energy use by blocking the hot sun in summer or slowing cold winds in winter. Other plants can slow storm water run-off and help the water be absorbed more quickly into the ground. In addition, by choosing native plants that are adapted to the local environment, maintenance costs can be reduced at the same time that we benefit local wildlife. To learn more about the benefits of landscaping with native plants, click here.
Similarly, shaping the landscape can have drastic impacts on the site. The slight rise of a hill or swale can provide a micro-climate for a native shrub at the same time that it guides storm water away from the building and into storm water infiltration basins. To see a complete list of the storm water features at Cascade Meadow, click here.
*Coming Soon* See a diagram highlighting some of the integrated design features of the landscapes surrounding the science center.