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LAPD Lineup

July 23, 2010

One end ...

When the newly-built LAPD Headquarter’s landscaping was first unveiled last October, it was a welcome surprise for me. I never expected it would be the succulent showcase that it is. I also never suspected other plant faves of mine, like palo verde trees, would make an appearance. Now, almost 10 months on it’s been interesting watching the plantings grow and mature. Much of what was planted has thrived, with some specimens actually becoming overgrown, like the rosemary and grasses that fringe the block. Other elements haven’t fared so well: The controversial acre-sized lawn only lasted a few months before becoming an ailing mess after an LAPD fundraiser was held under a massive tent on it. Sickly after the event, the lawn died completely when the weather became really warm. It was finally replaced with fresh sod just last week. Also there seems to be a lack of maintenance of late and weeds now crowd some beds; other plants are in need of trimming and dead-cutting. I’m hoping these issues are dealt with soon, since it’s hard for me to walk past some areas and not reach out and pluck off a dead flower stalk or pull a weed from where it’s crowding a plump aloe. This post, though, is focusing on a feature of the landscaping that’s doing quite well: the tiered planting beds that lead up to the HQ’s front entrance. The stone-framed beds extend the full width of the plaza that fronts the main building and they alternate with pathways of long grasses and decomposed granite. It’s fun looking at the tiered beds from the ends, and seeing all the textures and colors of the plantings visually layered against each other. But even more fun, is walking along the beds themselves to take in the variety of plantings separately and to see the thoughtful arrangement that went into their creation. Click to the jump to take your own tour of one …

All my favorite design elements are included in this lineup: contrasting colors, interesting textures, visual rhythm, geometry. Mostly succulents, there are tiny grasses that lend textural and visual variety, as well as taller grasses that take the eye back up. Rounded, clumpy foliage-types rub shoulders with spiky and elongated ones; cool-colored characters slouch while more hot-hued numbers writhe and tangle. Providing a neutral background for all this is tiny polished gravel, its earthy tones working to settle everything down.

... to the other.

At the other end of a tier, I like to look back. It’s a very different view than at the beginning and I like that. I also like walking a zig-zagging path, going from row to row, back and forth, checking out all the plants and their progress. It’s calming to do this before work some days, especially when I know I’ll be on deadline. I wonder if the people staring at me while I’m doing it can sense that?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2010 12:01 am

    Love the planting and love your coverage of it. The vertical picture is genius!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      July 24, 2010 12:14 am

      Thanks, Loree, nice to see you outside my spam folder!


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