Tag Archives: Native Plants

We’ve been working for a while with the Middleton Group on a great project in what was once the Dwell Smart building at 804 Meeting St.  Bounded by  Meeting on one side and Morrison Drive on the other it is adjacent to the well known  Tattooed Moose Restaurant.  Faced with many  unusual constraints, we were forced to come up with a few innovative solutions to the tight spaces. A drive of permeable concrete pavers snakes through the space connecting Meeting Street to Morrison Drive.  Custom designed Corten steel bollard lighting follows the drive on the North side, protecting the building and guiding traffic.

Goat. Sheep. Cow., the well loved eatery located on Church St., has their new location here  and we designed a great outdoor courtyard for them.  Using a Corten steel and wood fence the space is buffered from the drive.


















Due to the tight conditions, plantings are minimal and include native Palms, Scouring Rush in planters and native grasses, perennials and shrub palms along the boundary fence.  Other unique elements include a lower fence next to Tattooed Moose, permeable paving for the drive and parking, custom bike racks and custom steel bollards that double as lights.











Inside the building in one of the second floor offices, we collaborated with Michael Whitfield of Green Roof Outfitters to create a green wall feature on the interior.




The result is another great addition to the neighborhood, adding more life, interest and great food to the already bustling upper peninsula area.


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After much anticipation the newest addition to the growing upper peninsula district has opened.  Pacific Box and Crate offers wonderful new additions to the food scene with the Workshop and Bad Wolf Coffee, along with much needed office space within a unique, modern campus.  From the great lawn to the courtyard at the Workshop, the spaces created for gatherings great and small really shine here.  We expect many outdoor events will utilize these spaces in the future.

 The Great lawn bordered by poured in place planters that act as seat walls.

Workshop courtyard with custom ‘box’ seats.







The woodland walk along the northern edge of the campus overlooks the great lawn and the entrance to Boomtown’s offices.

The large rain gardens both at the eastern edge of campus and in the parking lot are designed to filter runoff and provide wildlife habit.

Taken all together, this design-driven project creates a functional, engaging and high-performing landscape.

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Lewis Barbecue is one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the summer.  Considered part of the Half-Mile North redevelopment in the upper peninsula, with architecture designed by The Middleton Group, it is a great addition to the neighborhood. The attention to detail and quality construction is evident in the work done by contractor Tom Lennon.

The site details, such as stucco knee-walls and custom bike racks are consistent with those we designed for all of Half-Mile North.  And the plantings also provide continuity with innovative mix of native grasses and perennials, shrub palms and street trees.

The show stopper is the great outdoor space under the existing Live Oak.  A custom designed metal wood locker acts as a back drop on one end, with custom corten steel planters providing pops of color and defining outdoor rooms.  The crushed gravel paving allows water to get to the tree roots and is a soft counterpoint to the hard metal elements.  Custom lighting by NiteLites gives a great ambiance in the evenings.

Additionally, the neighborhood is enhanced by the newly defined street edge with street lights, sidewalks, street trees, and walls at the corner.

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There are many creative ways to add more ‘green’ to your space.  Whether it is a narrow walkway between buildings, a small courtyard, outdoor patio or open air shade structure, there is no reason to be limited by your available outdoor area.  The following are some creative ways to make the most of underused or small spaces and add a little more green to your life.

This greenwall in a courtyard for Half-Mile North in the upper peninsula provides a great backdrop of beautiful native perennials and grasses.  A system of Woolly Pockets were attached to this custom designed cypress and steel fence.  The pockets are a modular system that provide a perfect vertical growing environment and can be customized to any design large or small.

 This narrow walkway connects the courtyard above that sits between two buildings to the street and a parking lot.  Instead of being limited by the narrow dimensions and lack of light, the design embraces the constraints and provides an innovative solution.  The push and pull of the sidewalk creates a dynamic feeling and allows for the planting of native perennials and shade loving plants.

At Blue Acorn’s office across the street, the steal arbor we designed boasts a lush green roof.  This shows that a green roof isn’t just for buildings.

A simpler way to bring a little green to a courtyard is to plant a vine like fig vine at the base of a wall and let it grow.  Here, the courtyard at Edmund’s Oast gets a verdant boost and the orange sign pops from the green background.

As a final example, the crisscrossing stainless steel wires set against the wall of this building provide just enough structure for this native honeysuckle vine to climb.  The result is a fun pattern of green leaves and coral blooms.

Although the examples cited are from commercial projects we have done, the elements would be equally applicable to a residential project. -H

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Seaside, Florida

We recently had a great opportunity to travel to the Gulf Coast of Florida in the Panhandle.    We visited Seaside and Rosemary Beach and Watercolor and were so taken with the beauty of each place.  They each have their own distance feel, but definitely benefit from similar design goals and strategies.  Many books have been written about their design, so I will not attempt to do that here.  But I will share what I feel is a lesson to be taken in terms of celebrating the native landscape.

Seaside, Florida

Of course their location is the draw, and the beauty and unique character of the place is inherent in each town.  What struck me was how much the native vegetation was wholeheartedly embraced.  So often we take for granted the natural ecosystems and plants we are surrounded by.  In so many ways people want what they don’t have.  But not here.  The scrub palms, coastal live oaks, pines, dune vegetation and native grasses are used extensively within each development along with conservation of existing areas of native terrain.  This gave each community, although obviously designed, a sense of permanence and authenticity that I don’t think would be achieved otherwise.

Seaside, Florida

Watercolor, Florida

Of course not every space used native plants exclusively, but where non natives were used it was appropriate because of its location in an urban park or within the immediate surroundings of a private home or an amenity. It was definitely refreshing and inspiring.  One would hope this particular lesson would be embraced on a larger scale by cities and towns across the region. -H

Watercolor, Florida

Rosemary Beach

Rosemary Beach


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