Cities and counties committed to smart growth practices increasingly require multifamily developers to incorporate green space into their projects. Multifamily firms are finding creative ways to make that space a place where residents want to congregate or just relax with a good book. “We’re always trying to find the best ways to utilize the green space, even if we can’t build on it,” says Joseph Cavanaugh, president of RPI Property Group. The Malvern, Pa.-based firm is currently brainstorming innovative outdoor amenities for The Courts at Weatherburn Commons, a 92-unit urban apartment project under development in Manheim Township, Pa.
Whether located at urban high-rise condos or suburban garden-style apartments, well-designed green space lets residents experience nature in fresh ways. Newly-designed projects often include a nontraditional mix of outdoor amenities such as walking trails; meditation areas and Zen gardens with gazebos, benches, fountains, and potted plants; along with exercise stations and dog parks.
Foster City, Calif.-based Legacy Partners Residential created an easement for a city hike–and-bike trail along the boundaries of its newest project, Legacy at Memorial, a 330-unit apartment project in Houston. To ensure privacy, the developer installed a “wall” to separate the open space from the units. “You want your residents to be able to use the green space, but you don’t want other people using the green space to be invasive,” says Spencer Stuart Jr., Legacy’s senior managing director.
Instead of using brick to construct its privacy walls, Legacy installed a wire trellis system where vines and flowers grow and adorn the space. Products such as greenscreen and CableTrellis (see product briefs) can be used to accentuate existing walls or installed as fences. —Jennifer Popovec
1 . Privacy Please: Manufactured from recycled steel, greenscreen is a 3D, welded wire trellising system that can be installed in both interiors and exteriors. The system creates a captive growing space 3-inches deep to allow plant materials to intertwine and grow within the panel. It can attach to a building façade, or it can span openings between floors or horizontally between posts to create a fence. For more information, call greenscreen at 800-450-3494 or visit www.greenscreen.com.
2. Gathering Place: Vixen Hill’s pavilions are the perfect addition to any open space, serving as the focal point of landscape architectural designs. Similar to gazebos, but larger and without sides, pavilions can accommodate big gatherings and public performances. For more information, call Vixen Hill at 800-423-2766 or visit www.vixenhill.com.
3. Flower Power: Feeney Architectural Products has developed two elegant and easy-to-install cable trellis systems for commercial settings: the wall-mount Somerset trellis and the freestanding Greenway trellis. Covered with greenery or flowers, the freestanding trellises can serve as privacy barriers or sunshades, while wall-mounted displays can turn an otherwise stark wall or fence into a colorful, textured backdrop. For more information, call Feeney Architectural Products at 800-888-2418 or visit www.feeneyarchitectural.com.
4. Ipe Impersonator: Composite decking and railing from TimberTech is now available in a new color that closely emulates the pattern and color of tropical ipe wood. Desert Bronze is available in the XLM decking line and is enhanced with TimberTech’s proprietary color streaking process that provides a distinct pattern to each and every plank, similar to real tropical hardwoods. For more information, call TimberTech at 800-307-7780 or visit www.timbertech.com.