8 Great Landscape Demonstration Projects

Curated by Landscape Architecture Foundation

What’s a bioswale? What are alternatives to turf? How can rainwater be captured and used as a resource? Can a new product or technique work in my area? Through displays, tours, and often an online component, these projects are using innovative approaches and demonstrating how sustainable landscapes can be visually stunning, low-maintenance, and water-smart.

  1. Case Study Brief


    Frontier Project

    Rancho Cucamonga, California

    “This non-profit organization and demonstration facility was created by the Cucamonga Valley Water District to showcase sustainable design practices most suitable for Southern California. The landscape features visually stunning, low-maintenance, water-wise plantings that are readily available at local garden centers. Some 5,000 annual visitors see the facility and attend on-site demonstrations, tours, special events, and workshops.”
  2. Case Study Brief

    Chicago Museum-After

    Chicago Museum of Science and Industry Smart Home

    Chicago, Illinois

    “The exhibit features a sustainable modular house within an ecologically functional landscape of stormwater and rainwater management systems, fruit and vegetable gardens, and an energy-producing green roof. Intended as a one-year display, the exhibit continued for 5 years due to its popularity, receiving updates in green technology every year. Today, the vegetable garden continues to serve as a teaching garden for Master Gardeners and Chicago Public School teachers.”
  3. Case Study Brief

    ASLA Green Roof-After

    ASLA Headquarters Green Roof

    Washington, District of Columbia

    “With extensive media coverage, over 5,000 visitors, and an interactive site that includes performance data, a virtual 360 tour, live web cam, and resource guides for teachers and students, this green roof has increased understanding, engaged the public imagination, and inspired others to adopt green roofs. ASLA plans to create a similar world-class model and educational tool at ground level with its Chinatown Green Street Demonstration project, whose multi-year master plan effort got underway in July 2014.”
  4. Case Study Brief


    Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center, Cornell Plantations

    Ithaca, New York

    “This project was part of the ‘Plantations Transformation’ effort to make the area a more effective gateway and model of sustainable practices. Educational signs on the site and in the building explain how the bioswale works, describing it as ‘a ditch that cleanses.’ Surveys showed that 68% of 71 respondents achieved the bioswale learning objectives.”
  5. Case Study Brief

    One Drop-After

    One Drop At A Time

    Elmhurst, Illinois

    “As the first residential green roof and stormwater demonstration project in the Chicago suburbs, this ultra-low budget retrofit was the brain child of the landscape architect who lived on the first floor. Through a website, signage, and tours, the project has taught thousands about the water cycle and sustainable landscape solutions at the residential scale.”
  6. Case Study Brief

    Ann Arbor-After

    Ann Arbor Municipal Center

    Ann Arbor, Michigan

    “With a green roof, open runnels, and cistern-fed fountain, this urban site was designed to raise awareness of water cycles while serving as an engaging open space. One-third of city employees and visitors surveyed reported that their experience at the Municipal Center encouraged them to consider adding rainwater retention features on their residential properties.”
  7. Case Study Brief


    Charles City Permeable Streetscape Phase 1

    Charles City, Iowa

    “This green street project served as a pilot/demonstration project for both the city and local residents. Because of the success and the lessons learned in design and maintenance, the project has spurred additional phases in adjacent neighborhoods and serves as an important blueprint for others considering similar sustainable stormwater systems.”
  8. Case Study Brief

    Ruth Mott-After

    Ruth Mott Foundation Gilkey Creek Relocation and Restoration

    Flint, Michigan

    “The relocation and restoration of over 1/2 mile of Gilkey Creek and its riparian corridor was chosen from four design alternatives to address recurring flooding problems at the historic Applewood estate. Not only did the project save the foundation $10,000-$15,000 annually in flood-related clean-up costs, it also expanded the foundation’s grounds and educational offerings to include a focus on habitat restoration and wetland ecology.”

Educational value, Learning landscapes

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