Working Around Services on Site

During the recent Jasmyn installation at the University of Pretoria one of the toughest issues the contractor needed to deal with was the myriad of services traversing the site. Information on existing services was limited and often incorrect. Needless to say a few pipes and cables were hit during installation. So what can be done to minimise the cost implication and time set back that services can cause?

 

-          Try get as much information beforehand as possible. Request As-Builts and if none are available request site walks with people who are knowledgeable about existing services on the site.

-          Make allowance in the costing for unforeseen damage and repair to services.

-          Have a clear action plan in place if a cable or pipe is uncovered or damaged during the installation that is communicated and discussed beforehand. E.g.: Stop working immediately, try repair where possible and contact the relevant people.

-          Communication between Contractor, Client and Landscape Architect is essential.

-          Have regular site meetings to assess progress of damages and repair work.

-          Lift Manholes, Stormwater Outlets, Valves, etc. according to new levels of site.

-          Update services drawing during installation and provide accurate As-Built on completion.

- Be prepared to have your whole landscape dug up when an unforeseen problem arises (like when the Sewer Infrastructure needs to be replaced!)

Jardínes del Turia in Valencia, Spain

"The Turia Gardens is one of the largest urban parks in Spain. It runs through the city along nine kilometres of green space boasting foot paths, leisure and sports areas, and romantic spots where you can unwind. From Cabecera Park to the City of Arts and Sciences, the Turia Gardens are the perfect place for runners, cyclists, families and nature enthusiasts. Crossed by 18 bridges full of history, the former riverbed passes by the city's main museums and monuments on either bank. The vast gardens are built on the former riverbed of the Turia, whose course was altered to prevent constant flooding in the city.

After a devastating flood on 14 October 1957, the Turia's course was diverted south of the city, leaving a huge tract of land that crosses the city from West to East, bordering the historical centre. Several urban planners and landscapists designed different sections of the park, recreating the former river scenery. They created a unique itinerary of palm trees and orange trees, fountains and pine woods, aromatic plants and ponds, sports facilities and rose beds. The gardens were inaugurated in 1986. The Cabecera Park and Bioparc border the huge gardens to the west, and the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences border it on the opposite side, near the mouth of the river. " (http://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-visit-valencia/parks-gardens/turia-gardens)

I visited the Jardin del Turia a few years ago but wanted to post these pictures because I was so impressed with this park and it is a reminder how a successful green space can contribute positively to a city. The green belt is actually an old river bed that has dried up and been converted into a park and stretches over 9 kilometers. It is frequented all year by joggers, cyclists, families and tourists. It is a great connector for various parts of the city and a wonderful precedent of how a linear park can become the seam within a city - bringing things together to provide positive public space.

According to Project for Public Spaces (PPS) successful public spaces all generally have these four qualities in common: they are accessible; people are engaged in activities there; the space is comfortable and has a good image; and finally, it is a sociable place: one where people meet each other and take people when they come to visit. PPS developed The Place Diagram as a tool to help people in judging any place, good or bad: 

 https://www.pps.org/reference/grplacefeat/

https://www.pps.org/reference/grplacefeat/

This park is certainly all those things, with emphasis on the access and linkages point, and you can see how successful it is by the number of people that make use of it. You can also see that there is an organisation managing the park with importance placed on safety and comfort as well as maintenance.  It may not be realistic to look at European parks as precedents for application in an African context because the challenges we face are so vastly different (crime, vandalism, homelessness, lack of funding etc.) but there are still lessons that can be learnt from them.

Some images of the Park follow below:

europe 074.jpg
Jardin del Turia
Map of Park
Bridge
 Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

Inspired by South African Indigenous Flora

I have been fortunate to listen to two presentations by Elsa Pooley: one hosted at Random Harvest Indigneous Nursery in 2015 and the other at the ILASA Conference held in September 2015 (See Previous Blog written on ILASA Conference). I also recently attended a course at The Cavern in the Drakensberg where I was able to view some examples of beautiful indigenous plants  and see examples of these plants growing in the wild.

 Turrea floribunda flowering at Random Harvest Nursery

Turrea floribunda flowering at Random Harvest Nursery

To see more about the tree in the above image visit: http://www.randomharvest.co.za/South-African-Indigenous-Plants/Show-Plant/PlantId/112?Plant=Turraea%20floribunda  

Elsa Pooley is an advocate for using indigenous plants in public and civic spaces and strongly believes that any form of rehabilitation should exclusively make use of locally indigenous species. She has spent many years studying the indigenous flora of South Africa, particularly in Kwa-Zulu Natal and knows the great potential that South African plants have, but are unfortunately not commercially grown and therefore not well known by landscapers and home owners. Fortunately for us Random Harvest is one of only a handful of nurseries in the country growing indigenous plants, many of which have until now been unavailable.

An indigenous garden can have colour all year round and although this may not always be bright flowers it can come from foliage and the variety of colour and texture from different plants. Elsa mentions how South African plants are used throughout the world but we do not necessarily appreciate their true value as we prefer to make use of exotic plants in our designs. The temptation for landscapers is to use the same old plants they always use because they are easy and work well but there are so many other plants that we could be using.

Some plants I saw in the Drakensberg that I hope to use in the future in my landscape designs:

  Pelargonium reniforme   (photographed at Engen Garage in Harrismith, all other images taken at The Cavern in the Drakensberg)

Pelargonium reniforme  (photographed at Engen Garage in Harrismith, all other images taken at The Cavern in the Drakensberg)

  Helichrysum sutherlandii  - look at this wonderful grey foliage

Helichrysum sutherlandii - look at this wonderful grey foliage

  Kniphofia northiae  - large Poker highly rated by Elsa, impressive flowers

Kniphofia northiae - large Poker highly rated by Elsa, impressive flowers

  Hesperantha coccinea  - Pink Variety, normally Red Flowers

Hesperantha coccinea - Pink Variety, normally Red Flowers

  Monopsis decipiens

Monopsis decipiens

  Inulanthera calva

Inulanthera calva

  Helichrysum hypoleucum  - likes a bit of shade

Helichrysum hypoleucum - likes a bit of shade

  Merxmuellera macowanii  - beautiful ornamental grass ( Gomphostigma  on Right)

Merxmuellera macowanii - beautiful ornamental grass (Gomphostigma on Right)

  Syncolostemon macratnhus  - tall purple pink flowering shrub

Syncolostemon macratnhus - tall purple pink flowering shrub

  Helichrysum acutatum

Helichrysum acutatum

  Metalasia densa

Metalasia densa

  Gladiolus crassifolius

Gladiolus crassifolius

  Wahlenbergia

Wahlenbergia

  Lotononis pulchella

Lotononis pulchella

  Thalictrum rhynchocarpum -  soft and delicate foliage for shady areas

Thalictrum rhynchocarpum - soft and delicate foliage for shady areas

  Seriphium plumosum  (Bankrotbos) also known as  Stoebe plumosa

Seriphium plumosum (Bankrotbos) also known as Stoebe plumosa

  Polygala virgata  (Purple Broom)

Polygala virgata (Purple Broom)

  Clematis bracteata  (Travellers Joy) - beautifully scented dainty white flowers make this an ideal creeper 

Clematis bracteata (Travellers Joy) - beautifully scented dainty white flowers make this an ideal creeper 

I hope that you will also be inspired by these beautiful plants and experiment with indigenous plants in your garden!

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