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Water World: LEED the way

February 13, 2020 -  By

Company: Pacific Coast Land Design
Location: Ventura, Calif.

Across 20 acres and 320 housing units, sustainability has served as a key factor in an affordable housing redevelopment project, overseen by The Housing Authority of the City of Ventura.

Pacific Coast Land Design (PCLD) designed the irrigation system, while American Landscape, a landscape company near Los Angeles, performed the installation and maintenance. The project is expected to be completed by 2022 and will meet several LEED requirements.

“The design weighs on factors like stormwater management and using drought-tolerant, native plants and high-efficiency and graywater irrigation,” says Eric Berg, senior associate at PCLD. “It’s pretty pioneering for Ventura County.”

In fact, one phase of the project implemented collection basins under laundry units to capture (nonpotable) graywater and use it to irrigate the community’s public park. The park is primarily irrigated by subsurface and drip irrigation units using Hunter’s Ecomat product. To help calculate the water usage and demand for the drip irrigation systems, PCLD used Vectorworks software’s built-in irrigation tools to help calculate the project’s water usage and demand and stay up to date with California’s water requirements.

Challenges included managing 10 separate controllers, which PCLD handled using the Rain Bird Central iQ system. The company also experienced a lack of labor and production delays due to a 2017 fire affecting the utility companies that performed the predesign consultation.

Irrigation project in housing development. (Photos: Pacific Coast Land Design)

Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design

White sage, dwarf pomegranate and lavender are just a few of the edible plants implemented in phase one of the project.

Blooming artichoke (Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design)

Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design

Seasonally blooming artichokes are both an edible and aesthetic resource along the “garden trail,” constructed in phase one.

Irrigation project in housing development. (Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design)

Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design

Next to a some of the Phase 1’s offices and community space, and central to the entire project, is the community garden demonstration area where the residents will be able to take classes and learn how to grow and manage gardens for small production.

Irrigation project in housing development. (Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design)

Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design

Phase 1 also features a dedicated community garden area with raised and at-grade garden beds. These will be divided amongst interested residents, providing them with an outdoor recreation activity and the ability to grow healthy, local produce themselves.

Irrigation project in housing development. (Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design)

Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design

The demonstration area includes a garage rollup workshop with a freshly painted mural by a Ventura artist.

Irrigation project in housing development. (Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design)

Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design

Part of the Phase 1 portion of the public park in the project included an outdoor exercise area, complete with fully accessible equipment. It is partially nested beneath a large fig tree preserved during construction.

Irrigation project in housing development. (Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design)

Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design

In the Phase 1 public park, the primary recreation feature is a multiuse sports court, which is configured for basketball, football or volleyball.

Irrigation project in housing development. (Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design)

Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design

As indicated by the sign in this photograph, the Phase 1 public park is irrigated entirely by reclaimed “laundry-to-landscape” gray water. This irrigation source is collected from resident’s laundry facilities in the surrounding units, treated, and redistributed to drip irrigation and subsurface driplines beneath the park’s turf areas.

Irrigation project in housing development. (Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design)

Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design

At the grand opening of the Phase 1 public park, the sports court was dedicated to local hero James Ennis III, an NBA basketball player who grew up at the old Westview Village.

Irrigation project in housing development. (Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design)

Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design

Storm grates dot a new street created in the project. This practice slows stormwater runoff and helps treat it before it heads to the nearby Ventura River.

Irrigation project in housing development. (Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design)

Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design

This “tot lot” playground is adjacent to one of the project’s community rooms.

Irrigation project in housing development. (Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design)

Photo: Pacific Coast Land Design

The sidewalk leads to a fig tree in the distance that anchors the community’s park and provides shade for spectators.

Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's associate editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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