Community Health, Urban Possibilities and a Sense of Place

Happy New Year to you all, we wish you the best in this coming year and look forward to 2017. Being that we are located in Los Angeles, today I will talk about urban cities and the role us design professionals can play in making urban cities a better place. For all of you reading this who may be living in rural areas, do not worry, as one of my next blogs will be written on the rural landscape.

It is in our hands as design professionals to help urban communities through what we know best, landscape designs that provides opportunities for people. 

A major problem urban communities have is the lack of accessibility to healthy food options. Urban communities are located in food desserts, where one must drive miles and miles to have access to fresh foods. We as landscape designers must designate in our designs land where the community can grow their own food.  Community gardens are a huge success nationwide but yet are not always implemented when needed in our designs. Community gardens create the opportunity for people in the community to connect, learn a trade and heal. Community gardens provide the opportunity for those with physical and mental sicknesses to heal in a holistically way. It also provides the opportunity for those who are not able to drive many miles to buy fresh organic food the opportunity to have access to healthy foods.  Many people wish to have access to healthy food but because that is not an option they are forced to eat unhealthy foods.   We as landscape designers have to create employment opportunities within our designs. Whether it is creating employment for years to come in what we design or providing the community the opportunity to work in the implementation process of the design. This provides the opportunity for people in urban communities to learn a trade and build a connection with the project. This also allows the opportunity for the community to add their personal touch to the project as well. It is in our hands to provide the opportunity for communities to create a healthier urban community that will benefit themselves. We must trust and work closely to the community of which we are working in and provide them the opportunity to add their own personal touch. We must design sustainable affordable housing, community gardens and other features that lead to happiness and well being in urban communities.

I wish you all a prosperous 2017 and hope you all are having a great week.

Best wishes,

-Jessie Salazar

 

The Effect of the Landscape On Me

Hey everyone, sorry for the delay on the blog. Today i will share my personal experience and why I thrive to design the best spaces for people. I would like to introduce a bit about myself to you all. As landscape designers whether we know it or not we create certain biases towards different landscapes, which we have an emotional connection to, and those of which we don’t. Many times we design off of inspiration and love towards a landscape or any space in general. My personal childhood affects the way I design and the way I create spaces for other people.

For me my personal childhood bliss would be my backyard, throughout my childhood years. Its landscape spoke to me in many ways in which I had not realized until now. It is a place where I got to connect with vegetation, with my siblings and with the spiritual world. Summer vacation afternoons were the best in my backyard. As a young kid I would help my father with his landscape maintenance route, he would pay me a dollar for every house we would maintain a day. As a 6-year-old kid, I couldn’t be happier. I had money to spend buying ice cream or whatever I wished. Throughout the day I saw many landscapes; landscapes that were more natural and also very artificial landscapes with trimmed hedges and cut grass. Throughout the day I would want to get creative, however that was not possible. Going through the day with little use of creativity from my part I would get home and experiment on my backyard. As a kid I loved cactus, so I started propagating cactus. Propagating cactus sounds a lot harder than what it actually is, you simply cut off a stem, dig a hole and burry the stem and in a few weeks you would have a cactus growing.

I hope you all have a had a great week and have a good weekend. Until next time.

-Jessie Salazar

            

Healing Gardens

Hey everybody! Thank you for tuning in to our second blog. Today I will talk about about healing gardens and the effects these landscapes have on our mental, physical and overall health. Healing gardens are an art of design and also relatively easy to implement into your landscape.  

Healing Gardens have a long rich history extending from the Japanese Zen gardens to today’s assisted living healing gardens. Healing Gardens are defined as spaces created for a specific population with the goal to promote positive health outcomes. Due to their medicinal properties healing gardens have become a central part of various healthcare centers and assisted living centers. Research has shown a relationship between positive health outcomes and contact with nature. As well as a role in disease prevention and health promotion. With all the stress that our day to day brings healing gardens serve as an alternative therapy. Nature therapy promotes healing in a holistic method.

    Essential plants to a healing garden are aloe, calendula, sage, and lavender. Below I will show you pictures of these plants. This plant’s have distinguishable fragrance as well as beautiful color and great aesthetics.

 

I hope you all enjoyed learning a bit about healing gardens. Have a great week and weekend!

Best wishes,

-Jessie Salazar

Benefits of replacing your Sprinkler System with Drip System

Good Saturday to you all, I will be starting a weekly blog that will be published every Saturday that will offer landscape tips, education and ideas to you all whether you are a homeowner, contractor, designer or future client.

I will start by talking about the importance of being as sustainable as possible when it comes to landscape irrigation. Most landscapes to this day still are irrigated with a sprinkler system. There are many types of sprinklers: rotors, sprays, bubblers, most require the same amount of water. It is safe to say that any type of sprinkler irrigates an average of more that 1.5 gallons per minute. This may not seem much to you, but if you consider that often times in a landscape you have hundreds of sprinklers in different zones, it adds up quickly. The bad part about them is very little water often reaches the root zone of what you wish to irrigate, whether it is because of wind or other factors. Below I will show you the most common sprinklers for you to have an idea and be able to identify the sprinklers at your home/office/park or anywhere there is a landscape:

 

Spray Heads:  http://www.romanslawnpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/irrigation.jpg

Spray Heads: 

http://www.romanslawnpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/irrigation.jpg

Impact Sprinklers tomlinsonbomberger.com

Impact Sprinklers

tomlinsonbomberger.com

The pictures above are some of the most common irrigation sprinklers and methods of irrigation for residential and commercial landscapes. They get the job done, but at a high cost. 

The solution to reducing water use, water cost and simply being more efficient is to implement a drip irrigation system. You may be thinking to yourself, well how can I do that if I already have a sprinkler system? It is definitely possible. 

The first step and item that will be needed would be a pressure reducer and drip filter. As you can imagine, you will be using a lot less water and need a lot less water pressure to not blow up your drip line. A pressure reducer reduces the pressure going into your valves to 30 psi(depends what water pressure reducer is chosen). The pressure reducer must be installed on each valve. The second item to purchase is a filter that will also be installed. The filter prevents the pressure reducer from getting clogged up and will save you a ton of headaches in the future. 

The next step would be to purchase the drip line you will be implementing. I would highly recommend Rain Birds because of its durability however there are many more options. For example, rain birds drip line has emitters(little holes) every 12" that irrigates 0.9 gallons per hour. This is definitely recommended when you have a cottage style garden or lawn. However you can purchase a small material that allows you to close whichever emitter you which to not irrigate.

Drip Line: Keep in mind that the drip line can be sub surface or in other words under the dirt and not visible. landproaustin.com

Drip Line: Keep in mind that the drip line can be sub surface or in other words under the dirt and not visible.

landproaustin.com

After purchasing the drip line, the next step would be to remove all sprinklers which now will not be used. You can cap all off and leave only where you will be tapping in with your drip line. After this is done, it is a matter laying out drip line which often times is sub-surface, either underneath bark, gravel, grass or other materials.

Replacing your sprinkler system with a drip system will save thousands of gallons of water. Recently I completed a project which was using 54,965 gallons per month. By implementing a drip system as stated above we got the water usage down to about 9,000 gallons per month.

Keep in mind that once you do this you have to figure out your SWP: Soil Water Depletion,  MAD: Management Allowable Depletion, AWHC: Available Water Holding Capacity, Plant water needs and many more complicated equations. Which is why it is highly recommendable for you to hire a professional to complete this process, as the process stated above is the general overview of what it takes to transition your sprinkler system to a drip irrigation system. If needed, here at Salazar Landscaping, we can take care of this process for you.

I thank you all for taking the time to read and learn a bit about landscape irrigation. I look forward to continuing to reach all of you with a post every Saturday. I hope you all have a great week and weekend!

Best wishes,

-Jessie Salazar