How can a project's landscaping play off its surroundings?

Set on a pier above the Delaware River at Penn's Landing, The Residences at Dockside offers 360 degrees of sights and sounds you won't find anywhere else in Philadelphia. Our surroundings are unique, so our owners aren't interested in designing a run-of-the-mill garden terrace. So where do we suggest they start? Native plants, which grow well in the local climate, provide a hardy, drought-resistant, low maintenance landscape. Native plants save time and cut costs by significantly reducing or eliminating the need for fertilizers, pesticides, water, and maintenance equipment.

Pictured here is a Delaware River-inspired terrace design completed by two landscape architecture students from Delaware Valley College. We wanted the terrace to reflect the river's impact on our quality of life with an organic design inspired by the river itself. The students spent more than a month designing the 330-square-foot plot that balances red cedar, winterberry, and native grass andropogon. This terrace project is what landscape design is all about—drawing inspiration from the natural surroundings, and integrating that with the built environment.

Victoria Teschner is director of marketing and sales for The Residences at Dockside, a 242-unit community developed by Bluebell, Pa.-based The DePaul Group.

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