We are today in an era of perpetual governmental gridlock. This has not always been the case. In 1972 legislators on both sides of the isle had the courage to do what was right and not merely politically expedient. It was then that the U.S. Congress enacted The Clean Water Act (CWA). To pull this off, Congress had to go beyond a simple majority to muster sufficient votes to overcome Richard Nixon’s initial veto of the act. The President’s veto was brought on by his concerns over the... MORE >
Not many people can say that they have dedicated their life to the landscape industry. Kelly Duke can. His diverse background ranging from maintenance to estimating, to design, along with a passionate commitment to his trade has given Kelly a lifecycle perspective to landscaping. As the leader of the ValleyCrest’s Pre-Construction Services team, he analyzes early conceptual designs to determine whether or not and how they can be built within budget while meeting long-term design and maintenance goals. Many of the projects that come across Kelly’s desk require he examine the cost and savings of baseline water use in comparison to high efficiency alternatives.
In his spare time, Kelly works on home improvement projects that reduce his household water usage and helps interested neighbors make similar upgrades. Kelly is also involved with the Design-Build Institute of America, where he contributes as a thought leader on applications of design-build for achieving project sustainability goals. In addition, Kelly volunteers as an ACE Mentor (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) to high school students in underserved schools to introduce the next generation to career opportunities in the landscape profession.
Water Management as Art: This year I was again privileged to attend Rain Bird’s Intelligent Use of Water Film Festival. The program, a water management film competition now in its fifth year, encourages professional, student, and amateur film makers to apply their craft toward a more sustainable relationship between man and water. The event drew over seventy entries from the U.S. and abroad. At stake were $15,000.00 in prize money ($10,000 to the jury selection and $5,000 to the audience... MORE >
Further Adventures in Drip Conversion: In my last post I wrote about converting from individual point source emitters to a drip emitter line in a portion of my yard . That project was relatively easy in that each of my two parkway areas were already partially irrigated by an emitter line system. All I had to do was modify the existing supply header and add new drip lines to extend to the underserved end of each parkway where I installed a terminal... MORE >
As I may have possibly mentioned in prior posts, I removed all of the turf from my yard and switched over to a landscape of trees and shrubs. This included a drip conversion that eliminated overhead spray heads in favor of drip emtters. I did all of the work myself and, as such, it did not happen overnight. Rather, it has been a slow journey of experiment and discovery all in the name of “sweat equity.” Several years back I removed about... MORE >
I recently wed my long-term girlfriend after some 23 years of extended dating. We held our ceremony at the Ardbeg distillery on Islay, Scotland (pronounced Eye-lah). We then stole away for a few days in the Lake District of Northern England. Some of you may recognize “The Lakes” as the home of Beatrix Potter and the setting of Jane Austen’s beloved social commentary / romance novels. So for a couple of days, I got to play Mr. Darcy, strolling the... MORE >
We all know PVC pipe, which comes in a variety of colors. These colors include white, blue, green, purple, gray, and tan; each color of pipe is generally associated with a specific use (potable water, sewer or drainage, reclaimed water, etc.). Missing from the list is black. You have probably seen black pipe on job sites or at supply houses. We haven’t overlooked black pipe. The fact is most black pipe is not PVC but either ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) or HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). ... MORE >
As a follow-up to my post on the Dry Lands Design Conference I have to confess that the program left me in a very up-beat mood. This was in spite of the sense that it may be too late to attack climate change at its many contributing causes, but not to late to figure out ways to adapt or lives, diet, means of transit, or ideas of government , commerce, or societal values to it. The idological future may well... MORE >
On March 22 I attended the Dry Lands Design Conference. The event was co-hosted by the California Architectural Foundation and the Arid Lands Institute, the brainchild of Co-Directors Hadley and Peter Arnold, faculty in the Architecture program at Woodbury University in Burbank,California. The Conference was held on the Woodbury campus where it brought together noted experts from academia, architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, infrastructure, and public policy to consider the topic of “Adaptive Design”. The goal of the gathering was to... MORE >