In 2016, the congregation of Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Longmont, Colorado decided to expand their existing building to better serve their growing congregation. The proposed addition to the existing building would impact the existing landscaping, so our company was hired to design the renovation and adjustments of the landscape around the building.
The remodel of the building will be done in multiple phases. So far, phase 1 of the renovations has been constructed.
Like many church construction projects, this one had to be cost conscious. Due to budget constraints and various budget reviews, the proposed plantings were adjusted several times during the planning stages to best fit the current needs of the budget.
One particular technical challenge was the assessment and modification of the existing irrigation system and pumps. Our irrigation specialist was dispatched to the field multiple times to work with the Church’s maintenance crew to puzzle out the best way to adjust and modify the existing irrigation system. In the end, we were able to bridge the new and existing irrigation systems into a cohesive whole.
From a planting design perspective, the client had a few key points they wished to address: Blend new and existing plants seamlessly; create a low maintenance & low water use landscape; and add seasonal focal points to pair with the liturgically appropriate seasonal milestones that are critical to the Church.
Our team worked with the Church’s maintenance team to ensure the plantings and other landscape elements would be low maintenance. Hearty and reliable plant species were chosen for the design. We also wanted the new plantings to blend seamlessly with the existing landscaping. In addition to these criteria for the plants, we also ensured the plantings in the expanded parking lot would not obscure any critical sight lines for pedestrian and vehicle safety.
To create seasonal focal points, we considered different plants that might be at their peak during significant seasonal holidays. One good example of this is forsythia shrubs with their glorious yellow blooms that appear close to Easter, a very significant holiday in the Catholic Church. Not only are the seasonal focal points a visible manifestation of seasonally significant biblical events, these planting nodes provide attractive backdrops for photo opportunities during church sponsored events such as weddings.
Working on the landscape renovations for the Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church was a wonderful experience for our design team. It was satisfying to help the Church achieve their landscape design goals for their congregation and stay on budget.
Your outdoor living space is a great place to unwind. The cool breeze of air and the warmth of the sunlight can provide relaxation to you and your family.
There are many ways to enhance the aesthetic of your outdoor living space. For instance, the addition of a simple but comfortable furniture and a cooling misting system can turn your regular patio into a cozy haven.
However, if you’re in need of other ideas on how to enhance your outdoor space, here are a few ways:
Clean it up.
Before turning your outdoor living space into the patio of your dreams, you must first clean it. Getting rid of unwanted debris and raking the leaves can prevent unwanted growth like weed and molds.
A clean outdoor space will provide you with better air quality as well as deter insects from swarming your place.
Decorate your porch.
The outside of your home should be just as inviting as the inside.
Simple landscaping can do wonders to your home – specifically to your porch. Adding a few plants and trees that complement each other will not only make your house look more appealing; it can also protect your home from bad weather conditions.
Moreover, adding vines and hedges will make you feel more at ease, as plants can provide you additional privacy.
Add a shade.
One of the best ways to make your patio more comfortable is by adding a shade that will help deflect the glare and protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
On the other hand, if you do prefer some sunshine in your patio, then adding sky lighting or a pergola to your lanai roof can give you just the right amount of light.
If you live in an area where there are a lot of bugs and insects, consider adding drop shades or shutters to prevent them from entering your place.
Cool down your patio.
While it’s always nice to lounge in an outdoor space on the weekend, some days are just more discouraging than others. The sunlight can sometimes be too scorching for you to want to hang out in your patio.
Investing in a good quality fan or misting system for your outdoor living space is a great way to cool you down; it can also provide additional humidity to your patio.
Additionally, a misting system is great for the plants in your greenhouse.
Invest in good furniture.
If your porch or patio is big enough, consider adding comfortable yet functional furniture. There are countless designs to choose from that will fit your style and space.
Smaller spaces, on the other hand, can still be enhanced by adding a simple set of chairs and an umbrella.
Install an outdoor fireplace.
Colder temperatures shouldn’t dissuade you from relaxing in your outdoor living space. An outdoor fireplace will make an excellent addition and may also serve as the focal point of your patio.
However, if a fireplace doesn’t seem feasible, a traditional fire pit should be a good alternative.
A seating area around the fireplace or fire pit is a great place to relax with your friends and family.
Your outdoor living space is an ideal place to bond with your family and friends. It is also a versatile area that can cater to events like simple gatherings and barbecue parties.
Turning your outdoor space into a place for fun and relaxation shouldn’t be laborious or costly. With a little investment, plenty of effort, and lots of creativity, you can transform your porch or patio into the perfect hangout and leisure spot.
Project Highlight: A Neighborhood that incorporates Sustainability and Community Building Principles as its Core Values
As the population boom along Colorado’s front-range continues, many housing developments have been popping up throughout the area in an attempt to satisfy the need to house the burgeoning growth. While many of these new developments tout their environmental and community principles to attract buyers, one PUD (planned unit development) project we have had the opportunity to work on takes those ideas seriously and is truly committed to building a green and inclusive community.
This project, called Main Street Erie, is still in the approval process. When it is ultimately built, Main Street Erie will provide new housing options for the growing town of Erie (located in Weld County), while simultaneously following many of the environmental and community ideals that the citizens of Colorado hold dear to their hearts.
The design of Main Street Erie is informed by New Urbanist concepts and inspired by the idealized small town of America’s yesteryear. White picket fences blend with detached walks, traditional architecture with inviting porches, and cozy alley homes to bring back the charm of an idealized residential development your grandparents may have grown up in as children.
To be efficient with land area, homes are placed closer together with smaller yards. Because most of the lots do not provide a large amount of outdoor space, and also because many of the lots have extra accessory dwelling units (ADU’s), it was determined that a community garden space would be a good addition to the project. A large portion of the property was set aside for a garden area with nearly 30 garden plots. In the community garden spaces, residents can work together getting their hands dirty nurturing their green thumbs, while interacting with their neighbors.
The inclusion of ADUs in this development will help address the need for multiple housing types. ADU’s can help provide variable housing sizes, which in turn may lead to a more diverse cross-section of community members.
Near the community garden plots will sit a clubhouse with outdoor gathering spaces, including a whimsically oversized chess board to entertain young and old alike.
Just north-east of the clubhouse a large communal lawn space is planned that will make a perfect community gathering spot for residents and their families to relax and have fun with their neighbors.
This project is an efficient use of the land due to the manner in which housing types are sited together. Homes are situated and designed for maximum solar gain. This will help maximize the efficiency of solar panels. But at the same time, care has been taken to incorporate vines and other plantings along the south sides of buildings to shade the structures from southern exposure, to help minimize heat gain as much as possible.
Main Street Erie has been a great project to be involved with. With no foreseeable slow-down in development along the Front Range of Colorado, it is good to see neighborhoods and communities like Main Street Erie being planned with sustainable and community building aspects being included from beginning.