Garden Tour 2012

Parks Can Be ‘Greener Gardens’ Too

Phase II of Van Doren Park was the first in the Cosumnes CSD whose design and construction had to comply with Assembly Bill (AB) 1881. AB 1881 or the State of California’s Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance was adopted in September 2010. Local agencies, including the City of Elk Grove, were required to adopt the Model Ordinance or adopt their own landscape ordinance that was at least as effective in conserving water as the updated model ordinance.

The ordinance generally applies to all new public and commercial landscaping of which parks are included. The ordinance has many requirements specific to the design and construction of landscapes intended to meet the desired goal of saving water. Van Doren Park includes several features and design elements in response to these requirements.
  • All planter beds are irrigated with a subsurface drip irrigation system. This system eliminates overspray and reduces run-off by delivering water to the root system of the plants. A network of polyethylene tubing fitted with integral drip emitters is buried a few inches below the soil surface

  • The size of turf areas was reduced significantly compared to previous traditional park designs. The ratio of turf to planter beds and other hardscape areas in this park is approximately 60:40 compared to 90:10.

  • Plants are predominantly low water using selections, with the exception of a few that fall into the medium use category.

  • Storm water is collected and/or allowed to percolate on site via both pervious decomposed granite paving and pervious pavers used in the seating plaza.

  • Low flow rotors are used in turf areas adjacent to the public sidewalk to reduce runoff.

Other ‘greener garden’ concepts at this park are the preservation of existing oaks, drought tolerant plantings and minimal drip irrigation at the limit of their driplines, the use of plant material that requires minimal pruning which results in less waste to the landfill and the application of thick layers of mulch to retain moisture in the soil and prevent weed growth.

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