Friday quiz – landscape design

Down the street a ways from where we live is a relatively new condo complex wedged between a hill and the street.  A narrow planting strip separates the sidewalk from the street, as shown below:

The driveway at the top of the photo bisects the planting strip and dead ends in the parking area for the condos.  I have photoshopped this a bit, for reasons you’ll see on Monday.  But this is a true representation of the landscape.

I’d originally taken photos of this area for my ongoing “why trees die” collection (since all but one died within 2 years), but there’s something else wrong in this landscape related specifically to the design.  Can you figure out what it is?

Answers and more photos Monday!

8 thoughts on “Friday quiz – landscape design”

  1. Looks like rain/irrigation water flows across the sidewalk from the landscape area on the left, through the section on the right (with the tree), washing mulch & soil into the rain gutter.

  2. The planting strip between the sidewalk and the street look a bit like a ditch. Also, there’s not enough of a groundcover to prevent erosion.

  3. Tree is shaped too low for street/sidewalk.
    The branches will interfere in future with passersby.
    Also,no leader, and branching off like that could cause breakage in future.

  4. I agree that the tree is planted too deeply. It’s hard to tell whether the soil is rubble/hardpan excavated for the condos, but I think I’m seeing a lot of rock that might indicate so. As for the low branches, depending on the tree, they can be pruned to make room for passersby. Another issue is that the soil level is raised above street level by the curb, so the roots are likely to not grow on the street side. MY ANSWER: I would say that the driveway coming from a higher-elevation, impermeable parking lot could cause a veritable river to charge down that driveway, in addition to water flowing over the sidewalk. Possible results: erosion, raised pH from the massive amount of concrete around the tree, and possible tumbling of the tree into the street with flooding and roots missing on the downhill side.

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