"You are tasked with the planning and design of the park and open space system for the Tustin Legacy. The design intent is to accommodate a wide variety of activities and uses for all ages of people while integrating environmentally-responsible land use practicies and principles such as storm water management and water-wise plant palette."
Two previous design phases were group efforts. This is the third and last stage, an individual effort.
I chose to design a Native Californian Plant Trail, to educate and reconnect people of the community with the natural beauty and look of the Californian landscape. I wanted to illustrate how there were showy, garden-worthy plants native to the area that were specifically evolved for the site; coastal sage scrub. No extra water or fertilizer needed for beautiful color, texture and scents.
The individual planting beds I wanted to have maximum impact. I didn't want to emulate typical botanical gardens, which often had only one particular specimen of an individual species. I wanted oomph. You want blue? I'll give you blue. Swathes of California lilacs from the over 15-foot 'Ray Hartman', medium sized 6-8 foot tall 'Celestial Blue', to the groundcover 'Joyce Coulter'. I wanted to pack sages until you could smell them before you saw them. I wanted to turn this particular section of the park into a bird, insect, and small mammal magnet. Hummgingbirds would think they were in heaven from the sheer square footage of blossom. Butterflies. Songbirds and squirrels would go nuts over Coffeeberry and Mahonia.
The Plant Trail I placed next to a planned elementary school. To capitalize on the educational opportunity, I incorporated an outdoor classroom into my design.
My professor noted that my design had my typical playful swirls and curves and he said it was a really lovely, 'necklace effect'. I hadn't even thought of that!