East End Cooperative Ministry Community House Achieves LEED Platinum Certification

September 2015 ~ Pittsburgh, PA

The U.S. Green Building Council recently granted Pittsburgh’s East End Cooperative Ministry (EECM) LEED Platinum Certification. The Community House achieved 56 points out of 69 possible points, comfortably surpassing the 52 point threshold for Platinum.

The EECM is a non-profit, interfaith organization of 18 congregations in Pittsburgh’s East End that have pooled their resources to offer community services including a homeless shelter and soup kitchen, youth education programs, and a recuperative care facility. In 2009 Terra was asked to join Perkins Eastman Architects and a team of engineers and community leaders to design the outdoor spaces for the Community House. Terra provided site and planting design services which employed native plantings, storm water systems and pervious paving in support of the LEED Platinum standards.

We were able to stretch the traditional definition of “sustainability” to that which is not only good for the planet, but for the people and profitability of the organization as well. Outdoor spaces were aggressively programmed to grow food; raised beds and a production greenhouse on the roof are joined by food production gardens on land as well. These beds, along with courtyard herb boxes, are planted by Repair the World volunteers and maintained by members of the EECM work therapy program, who use the skills learned on-site as job training for future employment. The produce from these food gardens is then used in the soup kitchen.

Congratulations to all who helped the EECM achieve such high standards!

San Antonio Botanical Garden’s Family Adventure Garden breaks ground!

August 2015 ~ San Antonio, TX

Bob Brackman, Director of the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, recently checked in with an exciting update on their Family Adventure Garden. The grounds have been cleared and are nearly ready for the next stage of construction! Terra provided a Concept Master Plan for this expansion to provide visitors a unique opportunity for hands-on nature play to explore their native Texas landscapes.Through creative collaboration with national family garden and nature play experts and a passionate Garden Board, they are building a garden that captures the spirit of San Antonio’s natural systems in a way that connects with the child in all of us. Children and their caregivers will be invited to climb, build, dig, explore, and create in three re-imagined indigenous zones: Urban Neighborhoods, Southern Texas Plains and Texas Hill Country.  While plants, animals, geology, and weather are woven into the fabric of the Garden, the unique water story of San Antonio will be celebrated.

The Garden is slated to open Spring of 2017, and Bob has arranged for aerial photos to be taken monthly to document the evolution of the project. Stay tuned!

The Rainwater Cascades at Fellows Riverside Gardens Improves Ground Maintenance

July 2015 ~ Youngstown, OH

Terra Design Studios has been leading the implementation of the master plan for Fellows Riverside Gardens, part of Mill Creek MetroParks in Youngstown, Ohio, since its adoption in 2008.  Recent improvements as outlined in the master plan include the redesign of the Garden’s Great Lawn to remedy long-standing drainage issues.  Through collaboration with John Buck of Civil and Environmental Consultants (CEC), Terra developed a dry stream garden, called Rainwater Cascades, to artfully slow and treat the water during rainwater events while offering quiet beauty during dry times.

Gardens Director, Keith Kaiser, reported recently that “the Rainwater Cascades is doing exactly what it was designed to do.”  Since it was constructed, the Great Lawn has not had any issues with ponding and during the heaviest of storms, the water follows the streambed without erosion.  Good news indeed!

Plans for the Garden of Eatin’ Show are revealed at Monticello Sculpture Gardens

February 2015 ~ Godfrey, IL

Terra recently visited the Monticello Sculpture Gardens to present the final design for the fourth annual flower exhibit on the campus of Lewis and Clark Community College. The 2015 show, titled Garden of Eatin’, will invite visitors to take a sensory journey through visually stunning, sweet smelling, and tasty edible displays in thirteen pocket gardens within the Sculpture Gardens.  A student favorite is bound to be Spirits and Suds, featuring planted and sculptural displays with enticing titles such as the Beer Garden, Bourbon on the Rocks, Bloody Mary Medley, Martini with a Twist, Margaritaville, and Wine Country! Previous shows centered around our pollinators, called BeeDazzled!; new cultivars with animal names, christened Menagerie in Bloom; and bold and colorful tropicals, The Bold and Beautiful.

You can follow along on the Garden of Eatin’s progress by visiting here!