Commercial Landscaping of Public Spaces provides quality open green and accessible places for the community. From walkable shady streets to the commercial landscaping around libraries, museums and community centres, these landscaped areas form the heart of local communities. It is through these areas that many people in local communities connect, play, walk or cycle. In these ways, the commercial landscaping supports the health and well being of local communities as well as providing essential environmental habitats for indigenous species. The design of the commercial building landscape has a significant impact on the success of these public spaces.
Many of the public spaces we see in cities today are reflections of ancient public spaces. Public spaces for democratic political discussion have their roots in the ancient Greek Agora of the Polis and were extended to ancient Roman Fora. The Romans also were instrumental in spreading the Greek peristyle courtyard garden, which later evolved into the cloistered abbey garden and courtyard, throughout Europe.
Ancient public spaces were primarily functional market places, thoroughfares and meeting places and as such were social spaces.
Going back even further, Persian gardens are described in the old testament as pleasure gardens. The gardens were designed to enable cool water and shade to be enjoyed in private. The landscaping also included man made hills with terraces planted with shrubs and trees.
Sport and public places were both big parts of Greek culture. Sports grounds developed into the academy and the lyceum and people gathered in these places. The public spaces in Greek life included groves of shade trees which is essential in a Mediterranean garden. Also included were some porticoes, spectator seating and the exercise ground itself. It was around this time that a courtyard garden design with rows of columns supporting roofs over covered walkway became part of the urban lifestyle. This garden design became known as “peristyle” from the Greek word “peri” meaning around (as in perimeter) and “style” which means column. It is thought that this style of architecture originated in temples like the Temple of Hera at Samos and was then adopted for domestic buildings.
The death of Alexander the great was the start of a new age in Greece where the country was less Athens centric. New luxurious gardens or pleasure grounds had sprung in the Greek colonies. Notable amongst these were the gardens at Syracuse and Alexandria. These gardens were more influenced by gardens in the east. Under Alexander the great Macedonia had formed a huge empire stretching from Macedonia to parts of India. Within the empire the spread of people brought architecture and landscaping to different cities. After the death of Alexander, the empire was divided, and the various kings spent money on gardens and architecture to impress their guests.
According to historian John Plumb, the 1700s in London was an age of commercialised leisure. This was largely due to rising incomes and the growth of the middle class in Britain. New ideas emerged about how people could converse and socialise with each other one of these being the pleasure garden. On the rural outskirts of eighteen century London, pleasure gardens sprang up in places like Hampstead, Ranelagh and Vauxhall.
The Cremorne gardens on the banks of the Yarra near Richmond was Melbourne’s first Amusement park. The concept of the gardens was based on the Cremorne Gardens in Chelsea London.
Botanical Gardens such as the Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens, have formed important public spaces for communities for hundreds of years.
The aim of the commercial landscaping design of public spaces should be to make the public space a welcoming and inclusive place for the enjoyment of people of all ages and abilities. This will necessitate the landscape architect designing in wheelchair access, bridges and ramps. The designers and urban planners need to consider the users as the primary focus of the landscape design.
Well designed commercial landscaping should also enhance the opportunities for socialising, recreation and relaxation and along with the aesthetic goals, contribute to the local character of the neighbourhood.
To these ends, the commercial landscaping and the facilities should where possible include a diversity of activities. Some examples of these include tennis courts, barbeques, scooter tracks, outdoor gyms as well as tranquil areas like urban wetlands. It is essential that these are community facilities that are often available for a wide range of users at different times of the day.
The provision of comfortable and durable seating is also an essential part of the commercial landscaping design. People in the public space need areas for relaxing and recovering as well as just having a chat with friends.
(Design by Angelo Carrafa Landscape Architects (ACLA) Commercial Landscape Architects )
Seating is particularly important for elderly members of the local community. Where possible curved seating will enable people to chat and hear and see each other better. This curved furniture design will benefit the hearing impaired when chatting with friends.
Much of the cost of commercial landscaping of public spaces is in the hardscaping infrastructure. This includes structures such as flowing insitu concrete retaining walls, agricultural drainage, irrigation systems and concrete paths.
Some other important factors for the success of the commercial landscaping of public space include size, location and interfaces with adjoining properties. Ideally, pathways will provide a commuting thoroughfare for walking or cycling as well as a pleasant stroll for exercise.
Modern commercial landscaping makes extensive use of drought tolerant Australian Native plants and drip irrigation systems. Attractive Australian native grasses are used in both mass planting and individual planting schemes. Where planted as individual plants, it is expected that they will naturally spread to fill an area. Much more use of rainwater harvesting is happening in commercial landscaping as well as the use of rain gardens, permeable concrete and permeable paving to filter and retain storm water in commercial landscapes as well as apartment blocks. There is also a trend in commercial landscaping towards much greater use of recycled materials for construction of asphalt roads and paths as well as the use of eco-concrete.
The university of South Australia conducted a study in 2009 on the relationship between active living and the provision of public open space. Amongst the key findings of the study were that attractive commercial landscaping lead to a higher likelihood of people being physically active. This is just one more way that the aesthetic design of commercial landscaping contributes to the health and wellbeing of the community. Another key finding was that “High quality open space design and amenities are crucial.”
Well designed and constructed commercial landscaping will serve to attract visitors to the public space by providing important street appeal. When attractive vistas are available from the interfacing properties and thoroughfares, the public space becomes a people magnet. Commercial landscaping through the provision of trees, shrubs and other greenery will create an aesthetic that people will want to visit. One important factor in Melbourne commercial landscaping is the provision of shade trees over seating areas and car parks. As with residential landscaping, kerb appeal of a public space is important.
To quote from the Project for Public Spaces; “Great public spaces are those places where celebrations are held, social and economic exchanges occur, friends run into each other, and cultures mix. They are the “front porches” of our public institutions – libraries, field houses, schools – where we interact with each other and government. When theses spaces work well, they serve as the stage for our public lives.” – Project for Public Spaces
Landscape Design Credit ACLA
The tennis court surface is a fundamental part of the game of tennis.
Without any doubt, tennis is one of the most entertaining and favorite games among millions of people of all ages across the globe. It improves both physical and mental health, brings positive emotions and gives you social benefits as well. What a pleasure to play tennis with your friend, especially outside! All you need is a racquet, tennis balls, a court and a partner. Alternatively, you can even play on your own, practicing serve on the court or hitting groundstrokes and volleys against the wall.
Tennis can be played on different surfaces and each surface has its own characteristics, which affects the speed and style of play. I guess you wondered which tennis court surface is the best. It’s quite difficult to answer this question, as each type of surface has its advantages and disadvantages and appeals to a certain playing style. For example, Rafael Nadal, an extraordinary Spanish player, is the best clay court specialist, when Roger Federer performs better on grass courts. Novak Djokovic, another genius tennis player is more confident on hard courts.
Let’s take a look at the most popular tennis court surfaces and compare their characteristics. There are four major types of courts, depending on the materials used for the court surface: clay courts, hard courts, grass courts and carpet courts.
Clay courts are made of crushed stones, shale and bricks and have red or orange color; less frequently, when they are composed of basalt, a natural stone, they have green colour. The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, is played on clay courts, when green clay is used only for the tournaments in the United States.
On clay, tennis ball bounces slower and higher, than on other courts, which gives advantages to confident baseline players, who adds a lot of topspin and play mostly in a defensive style. Another key feature of clay courts is the ability to slide to the ball, so the player needs good flexibility. Among the reasons why the play on a clay court is a good idea are the following: the softer surface of this type of court is not so harmful to the body; this surface improves endurance and physical condition, as the player needs to run more and tries to chase every ball. Moreover, a slower game teaches patience and gives more time to make a right decision. Definitely, the most talented and award-winning player, is a Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who managed to win The French Open trophy 12 times and is rightly called “the king of clay”.
In addition, “en-tout-cas” courts are worth mentioning. En-tout-cas, which means “in any case” or “in any conditions” in French, is a top-quality and the most famous court construction among tennis court builders. This is the well-known artificial sports surface builder, made from crushed bricks and stone. The main advantage of these courts is greatly improved drainage system, that helps the courts to drain quickly after the rain. In Australia, en-tout-cas courts are mostly used in Victoria.
Grass courts are the fastest of all four types of the surfaces, the ball bounces fast and low to the ground, that is why the rallies become much shorter, than on hard, and especially than on clay courts. They are made of natural grass, which demands high maintenance cost, due to constant watering and mowing, that’s why they are not as widely spread, as other tennis surfaces. The most famous tournament, played on grass courts, is Wimbledon, which takes place in London in July. Grass courts favor serve-and-volley tennis players, as serve plays a vital part there, as well as confident net skills. Roger Federer, an outstanding Swiss player, is “unbeatable on grass”, thanks to his perfect technique, quick reaction and good footwork. However, in 2019, Novak Djokovic proved that he could be a decent opponent on grass court as well, winning his 5th title in an epic match on Wimbledon courts.
Hard courts are made of rigid materials and are favorite for most of the players worldwide. They have a smooth surface, so the bounce of the ball is rather predictable and the player can control the game easier. On this type of tennis surface the ball bounces fast and high, so players can hit a big variety of strokes, add spin and make the game more dynamic. Hard courts are suitable for players with aggressive and attacking style, who have powerful serve as well. Two Grand Slam tournaments, the US Open and the Australian Open are played on hard courts, the only difference is that the American Grand Slam uses an acrylic hard court, while the Australian Open uses a synthetic one. An interesting fact is that the Australian Open was played on grass courts before, but switched from them to hard courts in 1988.
The only disadvantage of a hard court is that it has the higher risk of getting an injury, players’ joints suffer a lot when jumping on hard ground. Nevertheless, there is a solution: the cushioning makes the surface softer, which minimizes shock on the body and helps to prevent injuries. A cushioned tennis court is a system with a concrete base with several layers of cushioned rubber, applied before the standard acrylic finish. It helps to reduce impact on athlete’s most vulnerable parts of the body: knees, ankles and feet.
Novak Djokovic, a real mental giant and one of the most complete athletes to have ever played the game, is definitely considered one of the best players on hard court. A Serbian is a record holder of Australian Open titles and won his 8th trophey on Australian tennis court surface in 2020, beating an Austrian Dominic Thiem in an epic 5 set match.
Carpet in tennis means any removable court covering, which is installed temporarily for tennis events. It has soft surface, can be made of different materials, from turf to rubber and may have different bright colors. These courts are similar to grass courts, as the ball bounces fast and low, so they are suitable for players with a good serve and a confident net game. Carpet courts are not used in professional events anymore, they have been replaced by removable hard courts, but some big tournaments, such as the Australian Open (until 2007), WCT Finals, Paris Masters, U.S. Pro Indoor and Kremlin Cup were held on this type of surface before.
Indoor tennis courts are rather convenient, as they are easy to install and maintain and allow to play during any weather conditions. These courts are used for modern indoor professional events such as the ATP Finals.
As you can see, tennis has a great variety of surfaces to choose from, you just need to try out different kinds of courts to find the most suitable for your style of play.
The Tennis Court is a popular addition to many of Melbournes public spaces. The surface needs to be both hard wearing and low maintenance. Sand filled artificial grass, PMMA (Acrylic), or polyurethane with fine aggregate are often selected for commercial landscaping tennis courts. For the tennis courts at Balwyn Community Centre, Euroclay was chosen for the playing surface. This is a high quality synthetic surface that provides all of the features of a clay tennis surface with very low maintenance. It even looks and plays like en tout cas, but does not require rolling or watering. Even better, tennis can still be played in wet conditions. Ideal for the diehard tennis enthusiast home owner as well as public spaces.