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Carpenter Park Wins NALP Award of Excellence for Landscape Construction

Deep in the highly trafficked area of downtown Dallas, across from major corporate offices, and underneath an interstate highway sits a 5 ½ acre park. What was once pavement contributing to the endless noise of the 21st century has become an oasis to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Tree sourcing and logistics comprised of every tree being hand selected and tagged. Carpenter Park has a vast variety of trees featured throughout the park. On the left side of this picture there are 32 Allee Lacebark Elms featured in two symmetrical rows along Pearl St. Featured in the lawn are rows of flowering tree varieties that range from Mexican Redbuds, Oklahoma Redbuds, Texas Red Buds, Texas White Buds, Mexican Plums, Golden Rain Tree and Magnolias. Each flowering species is grouped and aligned together in one row. There are numerous shade trees as well including Live Oaks, Chinese Pistache, Bur Oaks, Mexican Sycamores, Chinquapin Oaks, and Bald Cypress.

The original park, split by a major intersection, was now supposed to support a landscape. There were many challenges of renovating an existing location that was once neglected and a prime spot for homeless camps. While the new landscape was being created there were unforeseen setbacks that constantly had to be addressed with the project team, owner, and contractor based on how this site was previously used by the public.

A series of pictures during installation were taken of Silva Cell Installation. Silva Cell is modular suspended system that is used to support pavement and holds lightly compacted soil. A Silva Cell system provides support for traffic loads beneath the paving while providing an antiquate environment for large trees and management of storm water. This picture shows the excavation profile for the system which was precisely grades using a laser grading machine. Each Silva Cell condition includes a 4” drain pipe that is tied into storm water pipe to allow for proper drainage. The tree location was surveyed so that it was perfectly centered. The system is then put together almost like a puzzle using a base and 6 pillars per base.

Once the “puzzle” below grade level is put together and backfilled with soil sub slab pavement is then poured around the opening left for the trees final placement. Once pavement is cured and stable we then place the tree in its final location. In this picture you will see that the tree has been placed and is slightly higher than the sub slab to allow for its final layer of pavement.

The final layer of pavement over the silva cell location is pavers. Once pavers were added soil backfill was added to the remaining opening of the tree pit and decomposed granite was added as the final layer. This picture is the final result of a Silva Cell installation and a healthy environment for the tree for years and years to come.

There is a total of three gardens that are featured in the plaza of Carpenter Park. Each garden includes its own perennial mix that will differ from the other 2 gardens. This garden that is shown includes Cherokee Sedge, Winecraft Black Smokebush, Mexican Bush Sage, White Cloud Muhly Grass, Little Bluestem, Sedum Matrona and Indian Grass ‘Sioux Blue’. Carpenter Park was designed to include a large variety of material for texturing and layering.

This second photo of a garden grouping showcases a Chinquapin placed within the gardens and is surrounded by an entire different grouping of a perennial mix. In this perennial mix you will find Sideoats Grama Grass, Henry Duelbuerg Sage, Brown Eyed Susan, Mexican Feathergrass and Dwarf Fountain Grass. To make all plant material show ready we engaged in a contract grow with a trusted local source. Unfortunately, during that process a hard freeze swept through Texas and destroyed all plant material being grown and the process had to be restarted.

Looking at the hedge notice the spacing between all the plant material even though there is a gap from above, if you look at it from ground level it is viewed as one continuous hedge. This design intent also matches the hexagonal pattern of the paving while showcasing the twelve different varieties of deciduous shrubs in various groupings.

This view is from the bottom of the portal slice, you can continue to see the elevation changes. The Live oak’s shown were transplanted in to give an established look to the park. These had to be hand watered and maintained during the construction process until the newly installed irrigation system was completed.

This picture is taken from the top of portal slice hill it shows the typography changes throughout the entire park. Grading was a significant challenge that was guided by thermal and laser technology. The portal slice is a significant art piece that had temporary irrigation set up to spray and allow that natural rust look that gives its charm.

In this picture you can take a seat and enjoy the gardens and listen to the flow of the different grasses featured in this one particular garden out of 3. The park is intended to have scheduled events during the day and night for people and pets.

You are able to see one of the many ways this park can be used to help bring the community together. During the construction process there were certain events planned leading up to the ribbon cutting event that created challenges with punch listing certain items. We struggled to get our planting punch list completed due to damage from it being a public use area and having streets on all sides for vehicular damage.

Carpenter park’s design intention is to bridge the gap between Downtown and Deep Ellum. With that there were issues with vandalism to trees and plant material. Even with those minor issues the park does an excellent job of being eye-catching landmark in the city while looking great Day or Night.