Landscape Design

Landscape Design: Aesthetics, Function and Safety

The design of any transitional space, whether for an indoor or outdoor facility, should include the following factors:

Aesthetics: The basics of landscape design are:

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sight lines that focus on the important features of a recreation area or facility

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spatial relationships (the use of space)

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the results of the finished area to enhance the quality of the recreational experience for the users

Function: The way the facility design enhances or constrains the programs and user needs, the amount of required maintenance, and the longevity of the building or recreation area.

Site selection is also a component of function and should address the following factors:

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the orientation of play spaces with respect to the sun angle and predominant wind direction;

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the topography of the developed and undeveloped outdoor space

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the existing and necessary surface and sub-surface irrigation and drainage

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the appropriate use of natural and man-made barriers

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environmental concerns, and

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the minimization of normal wear and vandalism (Macomber, 1993)

Safety

The landscape design should minimize risk to users and address the following items:

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signage in large lettering

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perimeter fencing or use of natural barriers

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programmable or light-sensitive night lighting

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pedestrian and vehicular circulation with ease of maintenance and unobstructed views at cross traffic intersections

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smooth (skid resistant) pavement for path or roadways

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appropriate use of bollards (permanent and removable barriers) restricting vehicular traffic on pedestrian and bike paths

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security surveillance

Surface and Subsurface Irrigation and Drainage

Irrigation

The commonly accepted irrigation principle is: deep and infrequent."

Too much or too little water will result in damage to the turf. Most turfgrass need between 1" to 1.5" of water per week during the growing season. The best time to irrigate is early in the morning just prior or just after sunrise.

Two Types of Irrigation Systems

bulletportable - a hose with some type of sprinkler head.
bulletinstalled - below ground water pipes with attached sprinkler heads.

Types of Sprinkler Systems

bulletunderground with sprinkler heads throughout the field,
bulletunderground with sprinkler heads on the perimeter of the field, or
bulletabove ground with portable piping and sprinkler heads or hoses.

The planners of the irrigation system need to consider the following elements:

(1) The safety of the participant (i.e., perimeter or within-field sprinkler layout ,
(2) Types of sprinkler heads,
(3) The watering pattern layout (i.e., the number of overlapping zones based on the available water pressure, to reach all areas of the field evenly),
(4) The source wells with a pumping system or government private water company),
(5) A timing system,
(6) A plan for winterizing in clod climates,
(7) Tie-ins for drinking fountains and hose bibs, and
(8) The possibility of a liquid fertilization option. (Mittelstaedt, 1999)

sprinkler.jpg (22611 bytes)
Pop-up sprinkler head

drain.jpg (23152 bytes) Drainage

The ability of a field to drain quickly reduces the number of games that have to be cancelled due to wet fields. Playing on wet turf will destroy the sod and increase the replacement costs. Playing field should be crowned (1/4" per foot towards the sideline drainage area) to allow runoff.

The typical percentage of slope for a sports field is between 1% and 1.75%

It is important to remember in the design phase, each field should be designed and constructed as an individual drainage unit.

Drainage Patterns

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Flat fields use a parallel or grid drainage pattern.

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Crown fields use a herringbone pattern.

* A fabric filter prevents the core collectors from getting plugged up with silt and fine sand.

Sport Grasses and Turfs

The planning and design of outdoor sport and recreation areas and facilities requires the expertise of a landscape architect or landscape designer. If the plan is for a sports field then a sports turf manager should be included in the project team. A good landscape design and development plan will reduce costs and add long-term value to the project.

Sport Fields

A sport field comprehensive plan would include:

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selecting the appropriate grass for the locality;

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mowing grass at the proper height and frequency;

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fertilizing at the correct rate and schedule according to the turfgrass growth;

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irrigating as needed for establishment;

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aerifying to reduce soil compaction or dethatching as needed;

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using the correct preemergince and postemergence herbicides to create a healthy turf.

Commonly Used Turfgrass for Sport Fields

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Bermuda grass;

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Kentucky bluegrass;

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tall fescue;

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perennial reygrass; and

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creeping bentgrass.

Selection of turfgrass is normally based on weather zones (See USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map below).

Hypertext version of USDA Hardiness Zone Map

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Southern states: mostly Bermuda grass.

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Transition zones: mostly tall fescue and specifically developed Bermuda grass.

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Cold zones: Kentucky bluegrass and perennial rye grass

Types of Field Turf

  1. Synthetic Surface: rubber, polymer, pigment, PVC, thermset, or thermoplastic. They require a substrate which consists usually of crushed gravel or sand. Synthetic fields have a higher initial cost but eliminate most of the maintenance costs, water, mowing, aerating, herbicides, and replacement of worn sod, associated with a natural field. Also, games do not have to be cancelled due to wet fields. Life expectancy is around 15 years. Example FieldTurf. The earlier concerns about increased injuries on synthetic surfaces has been greatly reduced in recent years with improvements in the field materials and construction.

  2. Natural: Sport fields are  special facilities. When natural turf is chosen, a sports turf specialist is needed to oversee the development of a total field management program (Lewis, 1994). A comprehensive program should include the following:

    1) selecting an adapted grass for the locality;
    2) mowing this selected grass at proper height and frequency;
    3) fertilizing at the proper time and rate according to the turfgrass growth;
    4) irrigating as needed to encourage establishment and to reduce stress periods;
    5) aerifying to relieve compaction or dethaching according to the turf and the amount of play; and
    6) using the appropriate preemergence and post emergence herbicides. The goal is to first produce a vigorous turf that will be competitive to the weeds (Lewis, W. (1994). Weeding Out Unwanted Growth: Weed problems on athletic fields can be nipped in the bud by implementing a total weed management program. Athletic Management, 6, (3), 28).

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FieldTurf Synthetic Field Surface

soccer_field.jpg (32724 bytes)

Natural Turf Field

 

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Field Traffic

Field traffic is the number of events per field per year. Most field turf managers prefer the events to be limited to 64 in order to maintain an acceptable field.

Related Web Sites:

National Turfgrass Evaluation Program

Parking Lot Design

The parking design should be incorporated into the overall landscape and facility design. Implementing an accepted choice of parking options, based on the match of cost to convenience.

 Parking Systems

Different forms and combinations of reserved parking, zoned parking, and open parking have been offered to specific recreation and sports facilities. The following are advantages and disadvantages of each:

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    Reserved parking is typically the most expensive, with the lowest occupancy.

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    Zoned parking typically restricts parkers to an area close to their work site. The occupancy rate is generally higher than that for reserved parking.

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    Open parking, provides a system of parking on a first-come basis and has the highest occupancy rate. As the demand for parking increases, the level of frustration grows as customers perceive wasted time in not having available parking spaces.

. Parking Options

   Seven parking options is listed, in order, from the most expensive to the least expensive:

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    Reserved space or area. This option is usually the most expensive and has the lowest occupancy rate. If the demand exceeds the supply, the challenge may be to develop criteria for eligibility that customers perceive to be fair.

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    Core area parking. This option provides parking within a reasonably short walking distance to most recreation or sports facilities.

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    Perimeter parking. This option provides parking that requires a longer walk or a short bus ride to most recreation or sports facilities.

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    Motorcycle programs. Space that typically cannot be used for vehicle parking may be promoted for motorcycle parking.

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    Carpool/vanpool programs. This is a cost-effective approach for those who are willing to contend with the perceived inconvenience of organizing.

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    Bicycle parking. Bicycle parking should always be promoted and offered, from the traditional hoops to bicycle lockers. Because many bicycles are expensive, the provision of lockers may promote the use of bicycles over vehicles. Attended bike corrals are also becoming more popular.

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    Park-and-ride parking. This option may provide an opportunity to share resources with the surrounding community, to reduce operating costs, to take advantage of parking space that may be underused, and to promote commuting among participants.

[Class] [Indoor Recreation Facilities]

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