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Project Portfolio: Building Community

April 11, 2012 -  By

Provide beautiful, meditative and functional outdoor spaces to help a community center better serve its members.

As one of nearly 100 subcontractors on this $33 million project, the DeSantis Landscape team was continually faced with coordination, scheduling and logistics challenges. But as President Dean DeSantis notes, “We are proud to say that we have become the general contractor’s landscape contractor of choice, based on our performance on this unique project.”

The 10-acre landscape, which surrounds a 92,000-sq.-ft., LEED Silver-certified, multi-functional community center, was completed in two phases over a period of approximately a year. The project involved the procurement and installation of nearly 35,000 plants and trees.

“The first phase included the irrigation, bioswale construction and planting and large lawn areas around the perimeter,” DeSantis says. “The second phase included the entry water feature; prayer garden and water feature; amphitheater; entry pavers; ‘turtle back’ stone feature and swale; and the planting and irrigation around the exterior of the building.”

The entry water feature consists of four boulders, each weighing between 25 and 40 tons. They were hand-selected by DeSantis and landscape architect Christopher Freshley from a mountainside in the Columbia River Gorge. A stone artist was then brought in to bore and cut the stones before they were loaded and trucked to the project site.

DeSantis credits three suppliers in particular who helped his team significantly with this project: Hunter Industries, John Deere Landscapes and the Andrusko Group.

1 | Show and shell. What became known as the “turtle back” stone feature courses through a swale and planting bed near the front entry. “It is a unique feature of dry-set, three- to five-inch-thick stones laid in a rolling pathway that creates a fun element for children and adults to walk through the landscape,” says DeSantis.

2 | Making an entrance. Behind the boulder water feature at the center’s entry are 30-ft.-tall specimen Acer circinatum, dug from a local, native forest.

3 | Bould over. The two water feature boulders have 2-in. bores intercepted by 36-in. cross cuts to create a weir. All the paver work was also completed by DeSantis Landscapes.

4 | Sewer soother. The parking lot swales were constructed using these round rock “dams” to slow stormwater as it passes through, using phytotechnology to cleanse the water before entering the sewer system. Also, curb cuts throughout the parking lot direct stormwater to the swales for filtering.

5-6 | Tranquil space. The prayer garden’s water feature is a mortared stack wall. The team was charged with keeping the water from running horizontally across the stones and directed into the basin. The solution? “All of the stones had to be laid at a slight canter,” DeSantis says, “while maintaining a nice horizontal stack line.”













DeSantis Landscapes is a family-owned, nationally recognized landscape company with offices in Salem and Portland, OR. Projects range from commercial properties and large private estates to intimate residential gardens. This project garnered a 41st Annual Environmental Improvement Grand Award from the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).


LM Staff

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