CHC 7: PLANTED BUFFERS


We've been focusing this week on the design of the planted buffers around the buildings. It is clear from resident's comments and feedback that sound mitigation is an important consideration in the design of the campus landscapes. Today, voices and traffic sounds are amplified by the brick walls and concrete paths. These hard surfaces bounce sound around.

We are selecting buffer plants for their ability to break up sound. At the edges of the buffers, we're looking for plants with broad leaves and dense branching. Closer to resident's windows, we are looking for plants with more open habits so that the light can still get in and views from windows feel screened but not blocked by foliage.

In addition to these functional benefits, we are also considering the character of plants. We are thinking about bloom color and timing, the mix of fall colors, plants that are favorites of song birds, and plants that are especially fragrant. It's a big mix of considerations, and our horticultural consultant, Patrick Cullina, is helping us to focus on the ideal species and varieties to balance all of these goals.

On Day 1, the plants, shrubs, and trees in the buffer will be relatively small and transparent. As they grow and fill in, the buffer plants will develop into a screen which will provide privacy and sound buffering. Within the gardens, people will feel surrounded by plants rather than buildings. From inside apartment windows, the layers of planting will increase the perception of distance from users of the gardens. Over time, the planting will provide multiple layers of protection and screening. 

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