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Entries in green design (3)

Tuesday
May052015

The Truth about Ecological Restoration

Currently, climate change and its validity is a hot debate in this country, but many people are seeing the effects first hand and have no doubt.  The world’s top scientists agree that tides are rising, land is eroding faster, rivers run with heavy metals, and oceans have become our wastebasket.  Climate change is an unstoppable natural process, but we can create a more resilient nation through the Restoration, Reclamation, and Rehabilitation of the landscape. 

This seaside property was restored to withstand the ever changing climate.When you read our blogs here on Outdoor Spaces, we talk about anything and everything landscape.  You might be thinking about all your trees, shrubs and flowers on your property, but the truth is that the term landscape holds a deeper meaning.  Landscapes are far more than the scenery in your backyard, or your neighbor’s gorgeous Crape Myrtle, because landscapes are 3 dimensional compositions of earth, water and atmosphere.  The landscape is our home to share with nature and it is our duty to ensure its healthy longevity.

Globalization in the past decade has been a bitter sweet part of our lives.  We live in a post-industrial society and in the midst of a technological revolution.  Communications are being optimized and almost everyone is carrying a small computer in their front pocket.  Now, more than ever, we can see the evolution of technology manifest within our lifetime.   As a result of this globalization and urbanization, mankind has put an unprecedented amount of stress on the environment.  For example, many rivers have become engineered channels of concrete, and sometimes piped underground, which has reduced their ability to provide ecosystem services.  Ecosystem services are the environmental benefits associated with a functional ecosystem.  This channelization of rivers has increased the number of people living in flood zones.  When a storm surge happens, the capacity of the engineered concrete channel is exceeded, resulting in destruction of the local community.  A solution is to restore the stream to a more naturalistic meandering form, with tidal buffers and constructed wetlands.  This doesn’t mean we abandon engineering.  In fact, environmental engineers can calculate what it takes to build a restored river ecosystem just like an engineered concrete channel.

This residential woodland path creates a space for humans and wildlife to thrive and live in harmony.After Hurricane Sandy, Long Islanders were faced with restoration projects both large and small.  Houses, beaches, canals, streams and properties needed to be repaired and updated to withstand a greater force of nature.  Ecological restoration provides added benefits in addition to an improved aesthetic.  Projects of any scale can restore habitat for flora/fauna, and this directly influences your life.  Some people may think they are isolated from nature in their urban and suburban world, but the truth is quite the opposite.  Humans are just as important for a functional ecological web of life as plants and animals.  When we truly become stewards of the land, we can create a healthy and thriving landscape for all.  Goldberg and Rodler has design experts who are passionate and dedicated to the sustainable environment.  Give us a call if you would like to create a sustainable landscape, and a Goldberg and Rodler designer can help bring your vision into reality. 

Written by, Nick Onesto 

Wednesday
Feb122014

Sustainable Design in a Changing Climate 

Post Hurricane Sandy redesign for waterfront residence: no lawn, salt tolerant plants, bermed to deter floodingOver the past few years, you may have noticed the growing publicity regarding global warming. What can we do to stop it or slow it down?  In reality, global warming (also known as global climate change) is a natural process that has been occurring on and off since the formation of the planet. Industrialization has accelerated this natural process, releasing chemicals and particles into the atmosphere and waterways. Recently, strict regulations regarding clean air and water have been put in place to ensure the health and safety for people and our planet.  Keep in mind; regulations do not stop climate change.  Instead, they awaken industries, governments, and citizens to the sensitivity of our environmental resources and how much of an impact humans have on natural systems. 

As a result of climate change, we need to adapt our current lifestyles and adjust to new trends in weather. Global climate change is associated with large scale changes in weather patterns in various forms related to both heating and cooling. Sustainable design, also known as ‘Green Design,’ can aid you in this lifestyle transition and make life more eco-friendly. A sustainable design is defined by its sensitivity to environmental systems such as local hydrology, topography, and native plant communities. There are many benefits of sustainable design for the homeowner and it can prove to be a vital landscape investment.

Examples of sustainable landscape practices include:

Rain Barrel: A 55 gallon drum with screen and piping that is connected to your gutters. Rain barrels can have attached hoses, or irrigation lines to feed your plants with recycled water.

Vegetated Swales: A mildly sloping depression that directs flowing rainwater to existing drainage systems, while promoting water to infiltrate the soil and reducing stress on public sewer systems.

Porous Pavement: Layers of permeable material with void spaces that allow water to pass through the pavement and eventually infiltrate the soil beneath.

Green Roof: A living roof with plants that are drought and sun tolerant. Helps reduce heating and cooling expenses and is a beautiful contemporary aesthetic.

Retention Basin: Any constructed area designed to hold water and allow infiltration over time. Designs range from highly vegetated rain gardens to precast drywells underground.  

Award winning green roof, Eaton's NeckSustainable design practices can be implemented to mitigate the issues that homeowners face during climate change. To find the practices that work best on your property, start by identifying which natural systems affect you. Here on Long Island, wind can be a major destructive force that causes erosion. Windbreaks are a design solution that can help relieve some of the stress provided by windstorms. Plants can be used to screen wind and provide a comfortable microclimate in other seasons. Tidal surge is another erosive problem and is associated with sea level rise, wave action and severe flooding events. That is why it is crucial to have efficient stormwater management practices at your home, whether you are on the shore or inland. It is important to have a comprehensive analysis done for the existing conditions of soil and plant health on your property. This information can guide you in preventing erosion, slope stabilization and proper plant selection. Wildlife, plant life and human life can coexist symbiotically and evolve in unison with climate change.  

 

 

Goldberg and Rodler’s staff can help you with this process, while assisting you to design a beautiful and sustainable landscape. 

Written by Nick Onesto

Thursday
Jun202013

Introducing: Nick Onesto

Continuing our year of expansion at Goldberg & Rodler: Newest hire Nick Onesto interned for us in the summer of 2012 and recently graduated from SUNY ESF (State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry) with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. He spent his second to last semester in Santiago, Chile and expanded his professional interests in  ecology and sustainability and developing an urban design thesis analyzing existing public spaces in Santiago and making recommendations to serve as models of greenways, native plantings and green infrastructure for the city's future development. Nick is an amiable person and always ready to lend a hand, whether it's installing annuals on a hospital campus or archiving Goldberg & Rodler's 55 years of photographs piled high in the barn out back.

In his free time, Nick likes to hike and listen to and make music. He's currently studying to become a licensed landscape architect in New York State. If you'd like to contact him, email us here.