water and design
For much of the last 100 years few landscape architects thought much about conserving water as a design principle. Often the standard design included moderately to extremely thirsty plants with little considering for the site’s microclimate, in-ground irrigation systems to keep plants alive, perhaps a water feature or pool, and (with the exception of Mcharg and a few others) no notion of engaging stormwater ecologically, and capturing and using rainwater.
And yet what we have come to understand is that while water is not as a scarce as gold it is more precious, and deserves to be thoughtfully and conservatively used in the landscape. Recently, there has been growing discussion of whether we are also approaching a comparable point of “peak water,” at which we run up against natural limits to availability or human use of freshwater.www.worldwater.org
Over the next two decades global use of water is estimated to increase by about 40%. On average, Lower Mainland residents use more than 340 L per day for activities such as washing dishes and clothes, showering and flushing toilets. And water consumption can increase up to 50% in the summer months when people are watering their lawns and gardens.
water is scarce; conserve it
We believe in designing landscapes that are not dependent on the use of potable water. We look for every opportunity to:
-Use Water Sensitive Urban Design strategies (http://www.wsud.org)
-Model up water flows using the Water balance model (http://www.waterbalance.ca/)
-Employ waterwise/xeriscape design strategies
-Select micro-climate appropriate plant selection,
-Integrate cisterns to harvest rain water harvesting,
-Use Best Management Stormwater Practices http://www.metrovancouver.org
-Minimize disrupting natural drainage pathways.
This water catchment system (left) channels water to a cistern where it is stored and used for irrigation.