Citicene are Commercial Landscape Architects and are members of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. We have a proven track record of successfully delivering a large range of commercial landscapes from small lot developments to large corporate office and residential subdivision and high-rise projects.
Commercial projects often require a more intense level of detail and response particularly during the construction period of the project.
Therefore we ensure that we are ready to assist promptly at this critical phase of the project and deliver answers when they are needed.
Landscape design and delivery of commercial projects can include a range of factors that should be considered throughout the design and construction phases of the project. This can include:
Existing site features and value;
Consideration of aspect;
Landscape contractor capability and experience;
Landscape contractor alliances with suppliers such as nurseries and sub-contractors.
Often achieving the local authority requirements is a priority for the landscape. However, with innovative thought the landscape can become an integral part of the project instead of simply added on as an after-thought.
Early input at the preliminary stages of the project will ensure an outcome that often results in a design that better accommodates the natural elements of the site. This can include physical elements such as topography, drainage, existing vegetation and other valuable features.
Contribution from the landscape architect at a preliminary stage of the project can often result in less delays through the Council approval process.
Contact us now to discuss your next commercial landscape.
It is amazing to see some of the ideas of Roof Gardens and Roof Terraces within high rise buildings popping up everywhere. Architect’s are racing to see if they can have a crack at Landscape Architecture as well as Architecture.
Successful projects seem to have got the hang of establishing greenery into the vertical concrete jungles created by Architects.
However, is it really all it is cracked up to be?
Picture this – a lot of skyscrapers with 50% or more vegetation amongst the footprint of the buildings.
Imagine the fire inferno that could potentially be created by combining dry weather, limited or poor maintenance and close combination of highrise structures in a densely populated area.
Wow – that could potentially be a huge risk.
Really, why are we trying to shove landscape into a place where it doesn’t really want to go?
After all, a landscape in a podium environment is only going to have a limited life span before it needs to be replaced.
5 years? 8 years at the maximum before it starts looking tired and the nutrients of the building contractors cheapest podium mix have been sucked out of each planter box?
Lots of planning documents are now appearing with the obligatory landscape tacked onto the side of a building or draped over the facade to make the artists impression more ‘impressive’.
However the reality is, creating these types of landscape spaces above ground for the long term is not a cheap exercise. Let alone a maintenance nightmare for body corporate down the track.
Additional weights for the building structure, additional watering systems and waterproofing issues.
More maintenance, limited life spans and numerous other challenges ensure these ideas are ‘booted’ as soon as the builder gets hold of the contract.
More Open Space?
Is a better approach to plan ground plane areas for more open space?
Open vegetated corridors in and amongst cities and urban areas is always at a premium. Not paved open parks, but significantly vegetated environments with large trees.
Not manicured lawns and water features but naturally occurring native bushland or forest space. Good for bush walking, mountain bike riding or general appreciation of the outdoor environment.
What about bigger communal deep in-ground recreational areas around the base of buildings that spread across sites?
Encouragement of residents to be a true part of the local community. Facilities that are hard to resist. Limited pavements and hard surfaces. Large urban vegetable gardens. Heavily vegetated in-ground spaces around entry points of buildings that adjoin neighboring sites, green spines, and parklands.
It is almost like the policy of squeezing water filtration devices into every development. Jammed onto the site boundary so the landscape buffer is then limited due to the Hydraulic Engineer’s horror of adding trees to their underground pipework.
A better approach is to treat the water downstream in a larger filtration basin – therefore eliminating the need for conflicts of interest on small lot developments.
Is trying to add significant landscapes to podiums the same scenario?
It is important to consider measures to make these developments liveable, functional and sustainable. Gardens of all kinds have been shown to have a positive effect on human well-being. In addition to this also achieving positive environmental effects.
One viable and practical measure is to incorporate productive vegetation for the benefit of occupants/users.
Vege Gardens in the City?
While the idea of a vegetable and/or herb garden may not be for some the ideal landscape solution for a high-use area, it is important to consider the potential social benefits.
Communal gardens can provide a means of bringing people living in close proximity together to share and build relationships.
Many herbs, fruits & vegetables require good sunlight, so a rooftop location is an ideal situation for maximizing productivity.
As with any other climbers, fruit and vegetable vines can be trained to maximize the use of small spaces.
A significant design consideration is that edible and productive plants must be easily accessible as they will generally require more maintenance, as well as the obvious need to access the produce.
This is why it makes sense to position vegetable gardens near high pedestrian traffic areas. It is more likely that it will be maintained in a place that people walk past every day rather than a hidden corner.
In a highly built up urban environment, extremes in heat, cold, shade & sun are likely to occur, and only the right plants will thrive.
Design considerations are:
Make the gardens easily accessible;
Position vegetable gardens near high pedestrian traffic areas;
Consider extremes in heat, cold, shade & sun;
Provide maintenance guidelines for users.
In any case, only a small percentage of residents may actively take ownership of gardens to maintain and reap the benefits, which will normally be the people who know what they are doing.
The long-term management of productive gardens in any communal setup therefore requires flexible approach, as well as a backup plan if community participation does not happen automatically.
It worth considering the benefits that may come with a development that is recognised as an environmentally and socially conscious development. Productive vegetating of buildings can contribute to EnviroDevelopment recognition.
BHCL Creating Livable Communities and Citicene recently endeavored to include herbs and vegetables amongst the new planting of a few high-density housing developments.
Different herbs and vegetables were planted in communal areas and individual balcony gardens to encourage sharing between residents. At another development, a number of new residents have planted herbs and vegetables of their own initiative.
The successful incorporation of productive gardens into our urban environments could allow more of us to enjoy local produce while contributing to the sustainability of our cities.
Citicene are Landscape Architects based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. We have delivered many projects throughout the Brisbane Shire. Our Team have an excellent understanding of Brisbane City Council’s requirements for landscape.
Depending on your project type, there are numerous requirements regarding landscape that must be met to achieve Development Approval.
These are known as ‘Performance outcomes and acceptable outcomes’. From the protection of trees through to the connection of drainage for podium planters, landscape requirements are detailed.
The intention is to ensure quality landscapes across the Brisbane region. Landscape need to meet specific standards of design and construction.
Citicene Experience in the Brisbane Region
Our personnel have delivered many commercial projects in the Brisbane Shire. Our experience includes a large range of project types. From multi-story high rise through to industrial sheds and master-planned communities.
We offer professional advice from landscape concept plans through to on-site contract administration. This includes supervision of landscape contractors and quality control. We also work with a network of consultants and landscape contractors to deliver to your requirements.
Tender and Construction Drawings and Bill of Quantities Deliverables
Site Supervision and Inspections
Regardless of your type and scale of project, Citicene can tailor our services to your requirements. Contact us to learn more about what we can provide for your next project.
Apartments, shopping centres, corporate landscapes, bio-filtration basins and residential communities are just some of the projects we have delivered in Brisbane. A small snap shot of some of these projects include:
The geography of Brisbane is characterised by its coastal location in the south eastern corner of the Queensland state of Australia.
The greater Brisbane area of Queensland Australia, has many species of indigenous flora.
Brisbane City Council requires the use of native plants throughout the region. This is to enhance the natural environment, reduce the use of weeds and protect our natural landscapes.
As landscape architects we are seeing more and more exotic species replicated across developments throughout the region. Even professionals are repeating their plant palettes for many projects and this is causing concern for native species in the Shire.
‘Most (66%) environmental weeds have been introduced as garden ornamentals.’
Therefore, species that were once popular have become weeds for many different reasons and should be avoided. The Brisbane City Council provides advice on what are declared weeds. This weed identification tool can be accessed here.
It is important that species are carefully considered for all projects to add to the city’s urban forest and support the unique wildlife in the region.
Supply from commercial nurseries can also be an issue. Typically commercial nurseries will grow only what is popular and only what sells. There are native nurseries around and it is important for landscape architects to look deeper into using more suitable species. Species that are indigenous to the specific area their project is in.
Also encouraging local nurseries to grow suitable alternatives will assist in ensuring we are protecting the natural habitats of the region.
Over almost 20 years, Citicene have been involved in delivering many projects across the Gold Coast region. We have participated in numerous small, medium and large projects from the northern end of the Gold Coast through to the Tweed Shire.
Gold Coast City Council Landscape Approvals
The Citicene team have a detailed understanding of Gold Coast City Council’s expectations regarding landscape. From statement of landscape intents through to detailed landscape maintenance plans and landscape assessments, we have delivered many projects of varying scales throughout the region.
Local Gold Coast Requirements
Gold Coast City Council have specific requirements regarding the landscape for any project. These requirements can be strict and it is important to seek professional advice to ensure a cost effective delivery of the landscape is achieved.
Gold Coast City Council have a ‘whole of city’ landscape strategy that aims to promote an integrated design approach to ensure the landscape of the Gold Coast is a positive component when designing and planning new developments.
The Gold Coast City Council landscape strategy is a Planning Scheme Policy attached to the Gold Coast City Planning Scheme and forms part of the Landscape Strategy for the City of Gold Coast.
This strategy is defined in 3 parts which include the landscape character, the landscape works manual and information sheets.
Gold Coast Landscape Character Areas
The entire length of the Gold Coast is broken up into Character Areas and each area has a defined character.
Shopping Centres, Marketplaces, Plazas and Malls – typically, these types of retail centres require a high level of detail and finish and this is why we enjoy designing in this industry sector.
The landscape is an important component of the entertainment and outdoor eating/foodcourt portion of any retail centre and normally requires a high level of detailed design closely coordinated with Architecture and Interior Design consultants.
Construction budgets can be significant and providing entertainment in outdoor spaces lined with shops, cafe’s, restaurants and retail outlets creates a strong atmosphere and character for shoppers to enjoy.
The landscape often includes:
intricate pavements and tiling;
feature walls and retaining walls;
internal planting areas and interiors-capes;
vertical climbers and green walls;
shade trees and structures;
significant water features;
striking plant selections;- play spaces.
Stand-alone Retail Outlets
Stand-alone Retail outlets often require a level of landscape that meets the local authority requirements while also accommodating restricted budgets.
Citicene has experience in delivering a large range of these types of projects while meeting these two important requirements.
Citicene has a broad range of experience in delivering the landscape component of retail projects. We have been involved in numerous shopping centres, retail outlets, malls, marketplaces and stand alone retail and commercial projects throughout Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.
We have experience in delivering both ‘hard’ landscapes and ‘soft’ landscapes paying a high degree of attention to detail.
Some of the exciting retail projects we have been involved in include:
With the growth of development in the Surat Basin, Toowoomba is changing at a rapid pace. Therefore, delivering landscapes and urban developments of a high standard is critical to ensure a quality standard of living for the residents of the city.
Toowoomba is a diverse region. The types of landscapes across the region are varied and include many picturesque rural landscapes. These are typically made up of flat agricultural black soil plains and rolling low hills. The forested range and an urban plateau makes up the Toowoomba City and Highfields areas.
Enhancing the amenity of these areas is a priority for Toowoomba Regional Council. Landscapes also need to comply with standards of the Landscape Code contained in Part 9.4.4 of the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme. This ensures they are suitable for the type of development proposed and also the micro-climatic conditions.
The overall landscape aim is to ensure aesthetically pleasing environments. Places where people work, live and play are to be comfortable and functional.
The landscape should be functional to the context it envelops. Each project is different and response to the local environment is important.
Protection and enhancement of existing vegetation and ecological values is important. Contribution to streetscapes, local characters and cost-effective maintenance are all important aspects of landscapes under Toowoomba’s Regional Planning Scheme.
Landscape Architectural Design in the Toowoomba Region
Enhancing the amenity of urban areas is a priority for Toowoomba Regional Council.
Citicene have been involved in numerous commercial developments in the Toowoomba Region including:
Grounds for education facilities should be a great place to gather, relax, play and learn whilst protecting children with clear sight lines and good surveillance.
The grounds of any school or childcare facility are areas to provide learning opportunities that can address needs of students from a range of perspectives.
Excellent surveillance for administration personnel, shade, ease of maintenance and robust plantings are desired landscape design principles for schools.
Needs of Students
School grounds should be environments that address the needs of students from a range of perspectives.
Student’s needs may include:
– outdoor learning;
– physical challenges;- a sense of inclusion;- a sense of ownership.
The landscape environment should also:
– provide a safe place to be;
– provide equitable access to all areas;
– allow multiple use area for a variety of activities;
– provide passive and active recreation opportunities.
Landscape Design Principles
Establishing appropriate landscape design principles at the outset of the project will assist in delivering a cohesive landscape design.
Landscape design principles to consider include:
– the existing environment, site location, topography and existing landscape elements;
– landscape character;- sense of place and ownership;- cultural backgrounds of students;
– shade, colour and spatial arrangements;
– overland flow and stormwater requirements for large areas such as sporting fields;
School grounds often have a range of uses and therefore need to be flexible and accommodate various community groups. A priority for the landscape of any educational facility is to provide an environment for learning and appreciation of the outdoors. This will assist in ensuring consistent and high performance outcomes from students.
Citicene have been involved in numerous Schools, Education facilities and Child Care Centres including the following:
Buildings that Breath, Green Walls, Vertical Gardens or Podium Landscapes
Whatever you want to call them, these types of landscape elements are an important aspect of modern Architecture and Landscape Architecture. They are making a significant difference to the living and working spaces where we spend so much time.
These elements have some notable benefits when incorporated into the urban fabric. There are important considerations that must be addressed both during construction and for the lifetime of the building including additional maintenance requirements.
Gardens in the Sky
Essentially, planning for ‘green space’ for each individual apartment throughout each level of a building takes a reasonable amount of planning.
However, through clever design, incorporating the interior and exterior space provides huge opportunities to maximize living spaces. Utilizing every part of the minimum floor allowed within the building footprint constraints is desirable.
In addition to this, ‘aspect’ plays a critical part of planning these areas as each side of the building receives different climatic conditions.
Careful consideration of light and numerous other conditions is required to ensure the success and longevity of any particular species.
Green walls are simple solutions to provide vertical green elements without taking up significant space. There are now countless products available and methods to installing a green wall.
Two main types of green walls that are becoming more and more popular are;
those that are really facades of vegetation growing up a wall, trellis or wires
those where plants are directly planted into a vertical structure that includes a growing media.
All forms of green walls require on-going long term maintenance. The amount of maintenance expected can be less than you think.
The most cost effective method to achieve a ‘vertical green effect’ is to train a suitable climber to an existing wall or fence. An effective example is the ‘Creeping Fig’ (FICUS pumila) pictured below growing directly on a concrete wall. It will work just as effectively on timber, brick or stone, and will provide almost 100% cover in a suitable position.
However, most climbers will require some kind of trellis system and training to suitably cover a wall. Particularly many of the flowering species.
Below is an example of another flowering species trained to a wire cable system. A fairly dense cover has been achieved with this species rather quickly due to the sunny position.
Using several climbing species can provide more colour and texture variation, but could look messy if not controlled.
One advantage of a utilising a trellis is that it is not restricted to a flat plane. Trellises can be designed to include varying shapes and angles, and can be designed to include something 3-dimensional as demonstrated below.
The many design possibilities can provide significant impact, particularly when dealing with a large monotonous building facade.
The challenge with climbers is to provide for their longevity, which is essential to the success of the green wall. Climbers will require access to deep soil at ground level or planters of a suitable size.
These factors need to be considered early in the design process to ensure required loads are factored into the engineering of structures.
Maintenance requirements depend on the desired effect, but providing access to all areas is a good idea so that maintenance can be carried out if and when required.
The main advantage of this option is that is can be installed nearly anywhere, particularly when a space is not purpose built, and the weight of significant podium planters is not an option structurally.
Installation of a living wall of any significant size will require a survey of the structural features of a building or wall to ensure safety. Permits may also be required in some situations.
A substantial green wall made up of a variety of plants can provide the instant effect of a lush vegetated wall.
There are a number of suppliers around that specialize in installing these types of green walls. This example in King George Square provides a rich variety of colour, texture and form to what otherwise could be a very dull space.
Something like this may cost up to $2500/m2 to install, depending on the overall size and complexity of the project.
Hydroponic systems contain no soil so rely on the nutrients being added to irrigation water. Some sources report that these systems may be environmentally damaging as these nutrients may be released with waste water and end up in the sewer system.
The fact that these systems are made up of a few layers of felt means they can only support small plants. If plants get too big, these areas of the wall will need to be replaced otherwise large plants can rip the matting apart. Because of this, a hydroponic setup is more suitable for smaller areas.
This type of system is ideal for using epiphytic plants. Epiphytes derive nutrients and water from the air and water, and are therefore an ideal option for a wall. The use of epiphytes as green walls is one way easy way to achieve a striking result, as long as site conditions are suitable for the plant selection.
Other systems are effectively a large flat bag of planting medium in a supporting cage structure. This is managed much easier with small vertical gardens. A large area is normally broken up into multiple panels for ease of maintenance.
Module systems are made up of plastic interconnecting modules containing planting mix. These also require the mix to be replaced on a regular basis depending on position. The benefit is that modules can be replaced individually as required, the volume of growing media allows for more significant planting. These systems are generally the most expensive to install.
The cost associated with any type of vertical garden depends on many factors such as location, plant species, height, framing, lighting and irrigation requirements.
A professional installer will need to know specific details about the project to provide an accurate quote.
Finally . . .
All forms of green walls require on-going long term maintenance. Not only the installation cost, but accessibility, practicality and the desired outcome should be considered thoroughly.
Does the space warrant the expense of an instantly stunning feature or will ‘greening up’ the area be adequate?
Is ease of maintenance a priority or are you happy to pay for specialist maintenance personnel where required?
The Queensland Government is committed to increasing the amount of renewable energy supply across the State. The target is a 50% (per cent) Renewable Energy Target (RET) for Queensland by 2030.
To determine if this target is credible, the Queensland Government established the Renewable Energy Expert Panel in early 2016 and a draft report was released in October 2016.
Already there has been an uptake in the number of Development Applications for renewable energy facilities such as PV Solar Farms particularly in the West of the State.
These types of facilities are significant in size and spread and as a result many issues are raised within the Planning Approval process to address Community concerns.
Due to the nature of these types of developments, understandably communities are concerned about the impacts on their surrounding environments and therefore Local Authorities are requiring detailed, specialist advice.
Landscape Architecture plays an important role in the approval of these types of renewable energy facilities and can greatly assist owners achieve development approval while helping to put communities minds at ease.
Inherently, the landscape is a major factor in such broad, areas of land that these types of projects cover and many aspects within the landscape need to be considered carefully. Visual Impact is an important consideration and Visual Assessment should be completed to determine the likelihood of impacts on view-sheds and possible mitigation strategies to address these impacts.
Any Landscape Character is often considered unique by any one community and analysis of the landscape character is an important consideration throughout the assessment process.
Other important considerations are reflectivity, stormwater and overland flow impacts, changes to surrounding infrastructure and levels of activity during operation.
As the Queensland Government is committed to increasing the uptake of renewable energy to drive jobs, investment and emissions reduction, there is an underlying importance to deliver these facilities to a high standard to protect our communities and importantly our landscapes as these types of facilities will be around for a very long time.
Citicene have been involved in delivering development approval for PV Solar Farms including delivering landscape architectural advice and visual impact assessments. Contact us to learn how we can assist with your renewable energy project.