Truly sustainable landscapes serve the needs of their users and respect their surroundings. They make efficient use of natural resources and minimize waste. Bob Clark, principal with leading landscape architecture firm Clark & Green Associates, made sustainability his goal when designing the Headquarters project at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine, California.
In 2005, the City of Irvine partnered with developer Lennar Corporation to convert the retired military base into a master planned community and park. Lennar conducted a design competition, issuing an RFP for landscape architecture firms to design the Headquarters site that houses offices for Lennar, the City of Irvine and the Orange County Great Park Commission. Lennar was looking for eco-friendly plans as it sought LEED® certification for the site.
Clark & Green won the competition with a regionally focused, multi-species landscape habitat that maximizes water efficiency and minimizes runoff pollution. Bob Clark’s design for the
three-acre Headquarters site includes more than 25 hydrozones featuring a diverse plant array including ornamental grasses, succulents, native California plants and an orange grove.
The design provides creative solutions to the site’s environmental challenges, such as pockets facing north, south, east and west as well as a mix of flatlands and slopes. Additionally, the design meets the City of Irvine’s stringent water use and runoff guidelines. Successfully implementing the winning Clark & Green design required an easy-to-operate water management system with zone-by-zone flow flexibility, sensitivity to orientation and topography and wireless ET-based watering adjustments. Mr. Clark chose the WeatherTRAK smart water management system.
A WeatherTRAK product specialist teamed up with Clark & Green and Park West, a WeatherTRAK-authorized landscape maintenance firm, to develop an implementation and irrigation maintenance plan. Today the vegetation is thriving, and the Headquarters site uses less water than allotted by the Irvine Ranch Water District, steering well clear of costly water penalties.
In addition to looking great and maximizing resources, the Headquarters site avoids hardscape and property damage caused by water intrusion. The runoff-free parking lot will last about 30 percent longer, and the dry pavement makes the site safe for pedestrians.