Tag: geophysical modelling in landscape design

Spitzbergen glacial river jump

 

After finishing A-levels, I joined the British Schools Exploring Society‘s summer expedition to the island of West Spitzbergen in the high arctic.

The nine week expedition was broken into three phases: scientific exploration, adventure and for my group, geology. Our science phase was spent studying the 24 hour daylight conditions and monitoring how sea birds have adapted their breeding and ‘lifestyle’ strategies accordingly. Sadly the Ptarmigan which we were hoping to study had been decimated by hunters shortly before our arrival!

Whilst in the Arctic I witnessed first hand the retreat of glaciers and the thinning of the ice sheets and the impact of such changes on the flora and fauna.

Target species

mykonos 12 hrh villa

From original survey work of mesotrophic grasslands in East Anglia, to Mangrove Surveys in the Arabian Gulf to studying vegetation communities in the Cyclades, ecological surveying and ecologically functioning planting design have been important in my career from school student to professional.

I always incorporate shelters for wildlife in my garden and landscape designs, and wherever possible incorporate endemic, locally sourced plant species.

Sadly a great deal of scientific literature is ignored by landscape design professionals, and so often the same mistakes are repeated time and again, such as ignoring edaphic (soil) factors and the importance of geophysical modelling in softscape and hardscape specification as well as species selection.

I also consider that ecological improvements implemented through public landscape design and management need to be advertised to the guest or visitor through interpretation and educational awareness. Without fostering a demand for such enhancements, little will be supplied.

Vertical Green Wall 09

Designed by world renowned botanist and pioneer of the mur vegetal system, Patric Blanc, this interior wall covered approximately 3.7 x 7 metres.

The clients requested me to coordinate the construction of the structure, oversee the irrigation and ‘secret fabric’ installation, and personally undertake the planting of the sub-tropical plants from receipt of delivery of the plants from Paris to completion of the wall.

Despite the house being full of painters and decorators at the time, we managed to plant-up the entire surface in under two days, with the help of a pneumatic staple gun and scaffolding.

 

Ecological 03

Ecological 03The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary Buffer Zone surrounds the core zone sanctuary, and extends into The Lagoons project, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The proposed landscape treatment required special attention due to the Environmental Impact Assessment’s wise recommendations. I was fortunate to receive UNESCO scientist and other NGO backing for my proposed native species lists and plant procurement proposal (tissue culture, seed collection, vegetative propagation) procurement methods.

The design and brain storming exercise also included cultural references and numerous geo-physical modeling features for habitat enhancement and ecological functioning as well as the design and location of ‘target species fauna’ shelters and interpretation boards.