In support of the South Carolina Youth Team‘s ongoing work with Mustard Seed Jamaica, Smart Landscapes is proud to donate a percentage of our 2013 children’s play and therapy design profits.
The team returns to Jamaica this December to help care for, play with, and learn from children and young adults who have mental and physical disabilities and children affected by HIV/AIDS.
The team will complete work projects to improve the physical structures of the Mustard Seed community homes, such as Sophie’s Place.
And, the team will bring smiles, love, and much-needed supplies. Learn more>>
Reading the world around us… it’s part of our definition as human beings.
Nationwide, collaboration is emerging among traditionally unlikely partners — developers, environmentalists, parents, schools — to intentionally keep and grow opportunities to connect with nature. Often these opportunities also lead to better citizenship and closer-knit communities.
In his recent article in Orion Magazine, Richard Louv advocates for bringing nature back into education:
“…children in outdoor-education settings show increases in self-esteem, problem solving, and motivation to learn.” Read more…
Talk to us about your playground dreams. Smart Landscapes is an Atlanta‐based design firm, specializing in nature-based play and community engagement. We’ve designed playgrounds throughout metro-Atlanta, working with public and private schools and faith communities to bring nature into children’s learning experiences.
Volunteers get to work at Briar Vista Elementary School, breaking ground on the new outdoor classroom in the Stevens Courtyard. Smart Landscapes worked with the entire school community during Winter 2013 to gather input on a Master Plan for the outdoor classroom and outside lunch area for the children.
The PTO is sponsoring volunteer days to build phase one of the design: lunch tables, memory garden, benches, rain garden, relocating shrubs, and planting the hillside meadow. Find out more by contacting the Briar Vista PTO. (website: bvebriarpatch.org )
Downloadable Resources for Briar Vista PTO and volunteers:
Parents & Kids working together on Saturday’s Volunteer Day:
Posted in Projects
Tagged atlanta, Briar Vista, habitat, intown, master plan, native plants, natural, outdoor classroom, play, playspace, raingarden, school
Briar Vista Elementary School is poised to break ground on a new Outdoor Learning Classroom in the Stevens Courtyard. Many thanks to teachers, students, and parents whose input shaped the final design. Take a look…
Downloadable Resources for Briar Vista PTO and volunteers
Winter 2013 – view of the courtyard:
Proposed Design – phase one to be installed Spring 2013:
Posted in Projects
Tagged atlanta, Briar Vista, charrette, intown, master plan, native plants, outdoor classroom, play, playspace, school, wild
Spending time in nature heightens your creativity and problem solving abilities by 50% according to a recent report on CBS news. It’s as simple as a walk by the river after work or a little time in the community garden.
Our favorite nature spots around Metro Atlanta:
* Stone Mountain Park’s Nature Garden and Trail -ever changing scenery
* Frazer Forest (Lake Claire / Druid Hills neighborhoods) -quick access to big trees
* Chattahoochee River National Rec Area (Sope Mill Creek or Cochran Shoals or Whitewater Trail) -endless trails, beautiful water views
* Two Doves Farm (Fayetteville) -organic farming & bird habitat
* Sweetwater Creek State Park (Lithia Springs) -sunset canoe trips
Here’s hoping you take time to watch fireflies, listen to birds, and breathe fresh forest air.
Posted in News
Tagged atlanta, benefits, chattahoochee, creativity, frazer, health, nature, NPS, outdoors, spirit, stone mountain, sweetwater creek state park, two doves farm
We had a wonderful and energetic crowd for the Briar Vista Elementary School PTO Design Session on Thursday.
Elise Cormier facilitated the evening, giving an overview of the project and inviting community input. Parents and students joined Principal Tutson and teachers to share ideas ranging from socially-conscious economic ventures to rain-watching shelters to ant farms and hummingbird habitat.
All enjoyed thinking back to their favorite childhood playspots in nature: lightning bugs, forts in the woods, sandcastles and mud puddles, crickets and ladybugs, climbing trees, wading in creeks. The ideas voiced at the Design Session will combine with additional input from students and teachers to build a Master Plan for Briar Vista’s courtyard. Stay tuned for the Master Plan in late Winter.
Talk to us >> Smart Landscapes loves working with groups to bring diverse ideas into crystal clear community action.
Have a playground that could use a little renovation?
Need a skilled facilitator to build consensus for your community group?
We’d love to hear from you anytime.
Stevens Courtyard ~ looking towards playground
Briar Vista Elementary School PTO asked Smart Landscapes to provide a Master Plan for outdoor social and learning space within the school’s courtyard.
As part of the master planning process, Smart Landscapes will gather community input through a “design session” for parents and teachers at the January PTO meeting.
The Design Session captured parents’ visions for the courtyard space, its maintenance, and its use by the school community.
Stevens Courtyard ~ looking towards school
We’ll also talk with teachers and students to capture full community input. The Master Plan will be shared with the Briar Vista community in late winter. In the Spring, plan to break ground on the first phase of the design.
Tuesday, July 10th @ 7pm (Atlanta Botanical Garden)
Sponsored by Georgia Native Plant Society - free and open to all
Catherine Zimmerman presents meadowscaping as a lawn alternative in her lecture Meadowscaping in Urban & Suburban Spaces. She will explains why meadow and prairie habitats are so beneficial both economically and environmentally and give a step-by-step primer on reducing lawn size and organically installing a beautiful meadow or prairie in your own yard. No space is too small! Join the movement to bring back native habitat for wildlife and human life!
Books & Plants!
Catherine Zimmerman will be selling her Meadowscapingbook and video (cash or check only).
A bright selection of recommended meadow plants will be for sale, provided by the GPC Native Plant Botanical Garden.
Posted in News, Resources
Tagged bird, book, butterfly, ecosystem, event, habitat, lecture, meadow, meadowscaping, native plants, restoration, wild, zimmerman
Howell Lake bed encompasses an approximately 9-acre floodplain and 1400-linear foot stream channel. The lake drained in September 2009 and a new ecosystem developed: wet meadow, riparian, and forest plant communities colonized the lake bed and the pre-existing drainage systems began to re-form. The stream carved a partially-defined channel ending in a pond near the dam before continuing to a downstream series of scenic and recreational lakes.
Smart Landscapes assessed the stream channel and its associated plant communities and delineated emergent wetlands. Field visits in both rain and shine ensured a fuller understanding of the hydrology. Smart Landscapes developed conceptual plans for restoring the riparian plant communities and the stream channel and recommended mitigation approaches for high-energy stormwater flows.
By focusing on the most critical areas, incorporating on-site materials, and recommending volunteer engagement, Smart Landscapes minimized estimated construction costs and provided a way for an interested public to participate in the re-emergence of this floodplain ecosystem. To further engage park visitors in understanding wetlands and successional landscapes, we proposed interpretive signage and boardwalk access into the wetland from existing trails and adjacent scout camp.
Posted in Projects
Tagged conservation, eco-restoration, ecosystem, habitat, headwaters, native, restoration, riparian, stone mountain, stream, streams, watershed, wetland, wild