Work by John WhiteRemembering The Ones We Have Lost
We were given the site of a centralized courtyard within the quarters of Daniel High School. This site was designated for a memorial garden and seemed to be neglected for some time. This site was built to honor those who have lost their lives while attending Daniel High. The site was visible from many areas within the school yet it seemed the whole school had lost sight. The plant life within this courtyard was deprived of care and needed immediate attention. The existing plant life consisted of several damaged dogwoods, three red maples, scattered azaleas, and other plants that were placed without reason. There was a strip of plant life that encompassed the memorial. This strip was the only element that looked like it received attention. The president of student council had taken it upon himself to see this change. The first time we visited the site there had already been work done to improve it. There is a centralized fountain that already exists and the school wanted to keep this element. John had already designed a preliminary plan to improve this fountain. Our plan was to take what he had already planned and possibly improve upon thinking about finances as well as seclusion for memorial purposes. We also wanted the courtyard to be used for relaxing purposes, such as butterfly watching, bird watching, and possibly an outdoor classroom.
When we first started our design process, we wanted the courtyard to be used by everyone who attended the school and possibly those who did not attend. We took all of these ideas and came up with a master plan. We started with the centralized space surrounding the fountain. We designed our fountain to where one person or twenty-one people could take advantage. We took John's plan of a walking/sitting area around the fountain and simply enlarged it. We made the entrance to the fountain wider at the beginning and closed it down as it approached the fountain. This gives the user of the site a welcoming entrance. We also used a trellis to create a gateway to a special area so the user would know they have entered a different element of the site. We chose to plant Yellow Jessemine along the trellis to further this idea. We also took some of the existing plants and filled the in so they would not seemed scattered and they would have a sense of unity which is an important lesson that can be learned in high school. We used many different and very colorful plants in our design to attract people as well as wildlife. These plants could also be a lesson in identifying plant life. We added benches along the walkway to encourage the use of the site. One would not have to experience the fountain area only.
A far as plant material we chose to keep as many plants as we could and added several more plants enclose the space while attracting wildlife. To attract wildlife we knew we would need our plant material to be colorful as well as safe. We chose to keep the three existing butterfly bushes. We moved these plants to create a terminal point for one of the axis created by our fountain area. We kept all of the red maples and also the dogwoods. Next we moved a few of the dogwoods to create more cohesion. Augusta National is one of the world's greatest golf courses in the world. They achieve this by having numerous colorful and healthy plant life. We used three different azaleas to create a solid colorful planting scheme. The plum trees were placed around the fountain area to create shade while giving another powerful color. The plum trees are a vibrant red and their flowers are pink. The Otto laurel created under story for the plant life selected. We chose to place four podocarpus plants at the entrance of the fountain area to create a literal gateway. Lastly we chose impatiens, daylilies, and liriope, for ground cover. Most of the plants were chosen for their ability to survive in sub par conditions. The azaleas will require good drainage and the impatiens will require good soil. Other than these few conditions the plant life should be able to withstand the existing conditions if mulching is added. Most of these plants are fast growers, which means the design, will reach it potential quickly.
With the combination of plant life, wildlife, student life, and the remembrance of those who have lost their lives, the courtyard will be able to give a sense of place that everyone will use and take pride in being a part of. High school is a place where life long friends are made. Incorporating this courtyard design within the high school could possibly create the place where those life long memories begin.