Louisville’s The Parklands at Floyd’s Fork – A Rave – Part 2

There are some splendid writings in current circulation relative to this park. Naturally, the park’s own website is rife with good stuff, especially that written by noted author and local resource and legend, Bob Hill. Bob’s ongoing blog which deals with the local history and the families who once owned these lands is enlightening and in depth. Eventful throughout history, from early pioneer settlements through the Civil War up to today, this strategic region has played abundant roles.

This is the link to Bob’s Journal: http://theparklands.org/category/bob-hills-journal/

(all pictures enlarge with a click) (The first one’s a bit too big) 😉

The Bridges

The bridges in this park – 7 of them – form an essential architectural feature but also reveal the playful sense of uniqueness which will forever mark the forward-thinking design team and its permanent edifice of a park for the ages. Once again, Bob Hill weighs in on his blog about the very bridge design and then the construction itself – and even the guys and gals who put all the pieces together. (Click for Bob’s blog entry)

From the blog: “Below the girders, massive rectangular blocks of limestone cut from a Bedford, IN., quarry had already laid in place along the river’s edge to provide stability – and heighten the visual effect.

The blocks – some eight feet long, five feet wide and almost five feet tall and weighing up to 16,000 pounds – also had been carefully inched into place on long cables. Limestone blocks would also be used alongside the bridge – and were randomly scattered about the landscape near the bridge – to add to its sense of place.

I was blown away by these gorgeous blocks of pure limestone, crystallized, heavy as hell and cut amazingly perfectly. I mean to a Tee. I kept climbing over them on my own visit, wanting to know more about them. I really wanted to weigh them, lol. Don’t tell anyone, please. I’m addicted to rocks.

They were everywhere

It seemed as though the producers had gone nutzo – the monstrous perfectly-cut boulders simply materialized in strange places together.

Now and then you can find them singly – just sitting there like a seat.

These, then, are the “Leaping Bridges” Bob Hill refers to. But here are two more absolutely gorgeous bridges – one which may not even be categorized as a bridge. This one:

I suspect this actually qualifies as a “culvert” which makes it even cooler. How beautiful.

Now this bridge happens to be my current favorite. Not “leaping” – merely flat and a span to just get over, ignoring what is underneath would be a mistake. Incredibly, the most remarkable facet of this span is all underneath.

Back to the ‘leapers’ –

Bob again: “It’s much as this deer is leaping over the fence,” said Walters. “That’s the idea of the bridge. It has this big muscular side that’s not an arch and it lands on the other side. There’s a sense of movement in the railings.”

These are not your everyday railings. These ones “lean”.  😉

Once again, every glimmer into this fab park reveals yet another level of a purely awesome concept, of fascinating and challenging design work and with a respect for installation craftsmanship of the very highest order. Much as how the bridges in Cherokee Park right in the midst of downtown Louisville express the same marvelous patience and control wrought by the best craftsmen of its day, the bridges here simply reflect an overall competence that matches the deliriously excellent designs.

Here’s a special section I created regarding the bridges at Cherokee Park. I believe you will see the same similarities I recognize with this gorgeous construction.


Louisville’s The Parklands of Floyd’s Fork – A Rave – part 1

The modest title notwithstanding, The Parklands of Floyd’s Fork is a world-class, cutting  edge project which has barely opened and already gathers astounded visitors who dive deeply into a park designed to, as Frederick Olmstead so eloquently put it: “Bring nature into neighborhoods.” The brainchild of visionary men who succeeded at commerce and who want to give back, David Jones and his friends listed in the links supplied below have created a wondrous and special place.

Louisville has opted to revisit Olmstead’s vision and they have succeeded magnificently so far. It is trend-setting, newsworthy to the rest of the world and illustrates humanity’s better angels in ways that take one’s breath. It’s a home run.

My Mom and I went out this past weekend to sample it, having read that November 10 was more or less the real opening date for traffic and visitors. I have followed the progress of this park through their website for quite some time, including from my days in Reno and Portland.

Recognizing that Fall has spent itself substantially, presenting the always-bittersweet vision of trees with few remaining leaves, the baseball World Series all tucked in (Go Giants!) and even football season 3/4 finished, we await dismal Winter. Here’s proof:

(all pictures enlarge upon clicking)

There was a buoyancy delivered like a good meal to our journey which we were frankly not prepared for. We got very lucky.

We visited this excellent parkland.

Needless to say, I scurried around as my interest grew, taking pictures. After spending that day and parts of this morning over there, allow me to opine that I am other-worldly impressed with the attention to detail in the construction and the mature and professional  naturalism in their restorations. This park is something special. No – it is stunning.

Bike trails, hiking trails, a kid’s playground of heavenly dimension, all studded and redolent with craftsmanship at the installation end. Hidden excellence abounds throughout as we see otherwise innocuous plantings and obvious new construction details of plantings, grass seeding and restoration via native plantings which comprise the landscaping end of things. It is a virtual horticultural museum in the making.

Scenes as simple as this – above – hide a deeper planning whereby every single blade and shrub or tree in this picture is carefully considered as an organic contribution to a whole. The same applies to this one below:

The species’ of grass itself, including wildflowers in many cases, is illustrated as “selected” by virtue of the straw still seen everywhere as it nurses with a typical protective cover – this region’s typical Winterizing tactic – the young seeds underneath.

You have to love the Egg Lawn. 😉

The playground I could live at, but then, no one is surprised at that, as childish as I tend to act on a regular basis. What’s perhaps most noteworthy, aside from the cool apparatii, all shiny new and swirling in playful invitation, are the various dry stone walls, shown in depth here and so perfectly made. But it may be their placement – 3 layers deep – which provide an eye-catching asymmetry both subtle and arresting and existing for no real reason at all. It reminds us of the perfect role “play” has played in invention and the progress of us all. This is a playful and satisfying design of the first order.

What a wonderful park – parts natural and man made elements combine in serendipitous fashion, enhanced by deeply considered effort and playing off one another as elements at play. Nothing conflicts that I could see. Everything fits into synch with this wonderfully historical area, so rich in history and in beauty.

Next time, we’ll investigate the buildings and bridges – both elements of totally surprising artfulness. For now, for anyone the least bit curious, here is the link to both the park and a small history of its generation.


The World Of Brick Pavers

Things move so fast in our world. Every day, by plying away with so many hours at the computer as I seem to any more, I learn so much which is new to me and I see such wonderful accomplishments by others. It really just blows my mind. What one would consider a very tightly-niched subject – paving materials – is frankly immense, it turns out. What has occurred over time is a stunning array of breath-taking artisan creativity, from even ancient days up to now.


I am old enough to recall a time when “interlocking concrete bricks” was a term given to either the straight-ahead ‘blocks’ of square and rather boring brick pavers or to the ‘star-shaped’, or the serrated engineered brick of the past. At the time, the revolutionary aspect of this product was in their structural properties, above all. With a PSI Rating of 8,500 PSI, they seemed the next thing to Granite itself. By using manufacturing processes which produced absolutely perfect fitting elements, the segmentation and the physical durability seemed just plain off the charts, even then. But they were not known at the time for being particularly gorgeous.

My, my, what a few years has wrought:

(left click images to enlarge)


This piece above was installed by a company entirely devoted to installing “Labyrinths”. I adore looking at their work and gladly share it with you now. Their success as an incredibly successful niche business is testified to at this website – Labyrinths In Stone – and it supplies the outermost reaches of sheer professional craftsmanship, to say nothing of their fascinating designs. Below is a somewhat “pedestrian” issue of almost “average” quality:


But these gorgeous constructions are mere reminders of what is possible. I have personally worked with products whose mere shape and color provide a stunning effect, simply by laying them down properly. Design, in these cases, means far less than simply presenting a course over which they can be seen.

Here is a favorite brick style of mine called “Bishop’s Hat” (Tan and Cream) we installed for a Reno family:

(enlarged, this looks incredible, even up close)


There are some things which – installed in the right spot – make it more than it was and maybe better than someone might have hoped. Paver technology has advanced like a rocket, from occasional patios and walkways to entire airports such as that of  Hong Kong. Once again, as I have mentioned often in this blog, their innate durability, their breath-taking level of ‘hardness’ – 8500 PSI – and their amazingly engineered tight fit make them a superb choice of surface. Obviously, the ability to simply replace those ruined by stains or breakage factors in as a huge plus.

But suppliers and designers of brick also brought an “Antiquing” ability, by tumbling pavers inside sand-filled machines and prematurely aging them. “Tumbled Pavers” now represent an entire niche of their own and supply a very ‘walked-on’ appearance. Combined with media such as concrete edging, the results can be impressive:


My own constructions, for example, have led from the above to the below over the course of an ‘old favorite’ project:

(combined with the soft security lighting (7 Watts) along the edge, this very rural home had a minimum of interference with the gorgeous night skies.)

doug20and20ed20020 But these are the more pedestrian examples, pardon the pun. There are far more bizarre and excitingly-designed edifices out there to beguile us with, created by wondrous designers and installers, both.


Interlocking bricks can now be made as custom pieces, allowing a range of creativity that unleashes an entire new galaxy of possibilities.

Now a brick can be engineered for purposes of producing patterns in their actual laying which reveal a designer’s intent in its display of complexity or resonance with other factors.

The patterns below are seen outside the Music Conservatory in Toronto, Canada. The architect worked with a computer simulation of phonic graphs, displayed in these laying patterns, whereby the patrons cross over the very music they are entering the place to hear.


Sound wave City!

Landscape Development – Where Things Start and What They Become

I love time lapse photography. The developments of landscapes are one of life’s little rewards for those who install them. In fact, aside from the pleasure of rendering a bowl of dust or mud into something far more than that, it is the second-most Primary Benefit of the trade. You can enlarge many of these pictures by left-clicking.

Here’s a project whose photo’s were taken pretty much as we were leaving – the day we “finished” installing all the plants and mulches and what-not. I was supremely satisfied, feeling certain what we had put in would develop well. This is the “real” version of what many of these places look like when first completed. To say patience can pay dividends is quite an understatement. We worked within a tight budget here, selecting smaller sized plants from nurseries, opting for “more bounce for the gold ounce”. These guys were also incredibly good at taking care and nurturing their place, I hasten to add. Steve and Mary, I salute you!  😉


This was the result, not that long afterwards, I’m thinking 2 years:

Doug and Ed 105

Maybe an even  better perspective of the same angle:

Doug and Ed 123

Another perspective, same project. I am so in love with Penstemons, it’s almost sick, lol:


Same time frame:

Doug and Ed 109

The combination of intense and plentiful sun, mixed with a very, very scrupulous addition of brand new and upgraded topsoil in huge amounts, make Reno, Nevada – where this project was completed – almost uniquely situated to produce phenomenal growth in certain types of plants. Perennials absolutely love Reno, or at least the sun-loving varieties such as Penstemons, Lavender, Salvia and the likes. Give the soil a touch of acidity, give the roots a medium to grow in and – whoa! Needless to say, the Aspens shown here grow at an equally phenomenal rate:


Two years is a short period of time for a landscape. After one, this actually approached what it looked like.

Doug and Ed 108

And here’s a totally gratuitous look back:

Doug and Ed 113

And here we have another year under the belt, showing us yet more recent growth:


This next project was my business partner, Bill’s house. Now, this is a bit unfair, because we could tinker with this one on days off or when Bill had emergencies – like visits from family, lol. So we began with something along these lines, just after we completed the creek and waterfall (which we later raised!):


And the lawn! Can’t fergit the lawn!!


Anyway, these became something else, too (I think we improved the lawn):

Bill and Donna newer

And we wrought some other changes in a couple short years, too:


Incredibly enough, I actually get paid to do all this!


Then there are the Supremely Big Humongous Projects of acreage and plentiful dust. The onset of projects such as this are impressively intimidating as heck. Showing up with a 3 or 4 man crew makes the owners go “Huh?”

“You mean you work too?” (Truth is, I said the same “Huh?” when I saw the darn thing – in almost every case. It always seems to have an element of “Gulp!” to it, to be perfectly honest.)

My response is always “Sure! We ready!!”  😉

Starting with this you can plainly see there is a “ways” to the second picture, especially considering we placed those rocks:


But we did it:


From the other direction:


Next time, we’ll visit a water feature ‘time lapse’, where we will wonder how we got anywhere at all from here. Poor Leo, lol. Another day of liquid sunshine in Portland, Oregon!:


To here ( a nicer day 😉 :


To this: