05-10-23 | Feature

Jones Valley Legacy

Bostick Landscape Architects
by Staff, Photos by Daniel Cothran, Thru the Viewer Photography

This is the second phase of a multifamily development in Huntsville, Alabama. Bostick Landscape Architects was selected to do the site design, which highlighted an extensive courtyard with an impressive-sized pool at the center. From the start, Bostick and their team members, which included Trice Engineering and the architectural firm of English & Associates, were faced with dealing with the grade changes posed by the hilly site. This led to the creation of an elevated courtyard.
The pool's decking is poured-in-place concrete with a special finish meant to reduce temperatures on the surface. Its coping was provided by the local pool manufacturer All-Star pools. Besides specifying the pool deck elevation to the lip of the pool, Bostick provided the spot elevations for all the drainage to keep water from draining back into the pool.
The hillside in the background is indicative of the grade changes the design team had to deal with while creating the outdoor amenities. In the pathway planter filled with pine straw mulch are Carissa hollies along the ground and small Arborvitae trees.
With its distinctive shape, the pool includes a beach entry, a tanning ledge, integrated seating in the pool at the edges, a swim up table with barstools, and plenty of space. At the beach entry area (top of pool), visual separation is created by planters that follow the contours of the pool and are integrated into the coping's edge. The 6" deep tanning-ledge (middle, right) faces due south to receive the most sunlight. The area of the pool at the bottom was deliberately designed to be completely separate to encourage lap swimming, water aerobics, or other water sports and not interfere with others.
Two separate grilling areas were specified for the courtyard. The owner provided the pergolas and outdoor kitchen appliances that are housed in a CMU block structure veneered with a faux stone (for budgetary reasons).
Sidewalks around the courtyard and throughout the complex were designed to bring residents together and to lead them to the fitness room, clubhouse, and other interior common spaces, and this case, the second outdoor grilling area. The walkways are all 3,000 psi, poured-in-place concrete. The darker plants between the 'Adagio' Miscanthus (foreground) and the Indian Hawthorne are 'Purple Diamond' Loropetalums. All the turf in the development is Bermuda 419. Irrigation is provided by a combination of Hunter and another manufacturer's spray heads and rotors, which are controlled by a two-wire system.
In this planter along the pool path are Indian Hawthorne down the middle with 'Adagio' Miscanthus to the right of them. Though the landscape architect advised the client on the types and locations of the outdoor lighting, the landscape contractor ultimately made the final decisions on their installation.
This round planter/seatwall was constructed with CMU block and veneered with 1" thick faux rock. It has a precast concrete cap that was specified to match the color of the coping. Installed in the planter is Mexican Feathergrass.
At the beach entry area, the scuppers in these CMU-constructed, faux rock-veneered planters were requested by the landscape architect but the mechanical design was created by the pool contractor. Not only are the planters integrated into the edge of the pool and its coping, the bottom edge of each overhangs the coping. The bubbling jets that light up at night were a pleasant surprise to the landscape architects - provided by the pool contractor.
The design included two firepits - one close to the pool and this one set apart from it. Both are Corten Steel gas firepits. In the background are 'Limelight' Hydrangeas.

In Huntsville, Alabama, the construction of a second phase of a multifamily development situated in Jones Valley, an urbanized region of the town (which is in the north-central part of the state) brought a wonderful opportunity for Bostick Landscape Architects (BLA) to design a recreational outdoor site with a courtyard acting as one of the main selling points to potential residents of this new phase. But this courtyard ultimately had to be tailored to a demanding setting.

The Challenge
As a part of the urbanization of Jones Valley, the development, named Legacy Apartments, is facilitating the ever-changing workforce in a growing metro population. The apartments are located at the edge of a working urban farm and nestled at the foot of a mountain.

One of the main challenges from the moment this project was taken on by Bostick Landscape Architects and their team members, which included civil engineer Jennifer Trice from Trice Engineering, another Huntsville company, and the architectural firm of English & Associates from Atlanta, Georgia, was deciding how to most effectively account for the various grades of the adjacent rocky hillside.

After considering different solutions to this challenging issue, the design team decided upon a multi-level approach, which in the end, created the opportunity for an attention-grabbing, elevated courtyard.

The Wish List
The owners, G.W. Jones Properties from Huntsville, requested a variety of amenities that they wanted to see in the outdoor site design for this new phase of the complex.

Their list included a large, new resort style pool, grilling locations, firepits, shade structures, seating of all types, a dog park, and a lush landscape which would complement the new building as well as help integrate this second phase into the complex as a whole.

Getting to Work
With this wish list in hand, Bostick Landscape Architects began the design process of the placement of these amenities.

First was the courtyard pool. From ideas the owners provided, BLA created a pool shape that would have a beach entry, tanning ledge, lap lanes, and integrated seating in the pool at the edges. In-pool features such as a swim up table and barstools creates socialization opportunities for residents to mingle while staying cool in the Alabama heat.


Space, in the Pool, if You Prefer
The different elements are large enough for residents to spread out throughout the pool and not feel too crowded. At the beach entry area, this space is visually separated with planters that are integrated into the edge of the pool and its coping. This area also includes the added elements of small scuppers that create water spillways into the pool and bubbling jets ?EUR?(that light up at night).

Midway through the pool and facing due south to take advantage of the best sunlight is a 6" deep tanning ledge. On the opposite end of the pool is an area that is really out of the way, making it perfect for lap swimming, water aerobics, or other?EUR?water sports.

Complementing the Pool
Sidewalk connections bring residents into the courtyard and provide an outdoor link to the fitness room, clubhouse, and other interior common spaces inside the building throughout the complex.

Two separate grilling areas are framed with pergola structures that have views over the pool and common areas.

A pair of firepits were added to the design to provide diverse opportunities for socializing. One was set close to the pool - intended to be a primary location for gatherings. The other firepit was situated further off the path to provide a more low-key setting for socialization - such as a glass of wine after a long day of work.

Along the edge of the courtyard area, couch seating takes advantage of the views to the west and the stunning sunsets over the valley and provides seating for quiet conversations or spaces that can be combined for community events.

Softening the Hardscape
The planting throughout the site utilizes plant types from the Phase 1 development to help the new building blend in ?EUR?seamlessly with the first phase, to soften the fa??ade of the building, provide shade throughout the parking area, and engage residents on a day-to-day basis.

Another important amenity, especially for the health conscientious residents, for both mental and physical well-being, is a walking path, and seating situated in lush plantings of perennials, shrubs, grasses, and trees.

The plant material around the courtyard is a mix of small native serviceberry trees, river birch trees, as well as vibrant shrubs for foliage color such as 'Sunshine' Ligustrum, and 'Purple Diamond' Loropetalums, blooming shrubs like 'Little Henry's Sweetspire, 'Limelight' Hydrangeas, and white blooming azaleas to extend the blooms throughout the year.

Ornamental grasses close to the pool match the horizontal movement of the water and mixed perennial beds bring butterflies and pollinators into the site.

Lawn areas in the courtyard were intentionally planned to be at a minimum to reduce maintenance requirements, but there were a few spaces designated for turf. One is for a yoga area. Another is set up for the ever-growing outdoor recreation of cornhole or other lawn games. Below the courtyard wall is a flat lawn area that can be used for frisbee or throwing the football.

The overall site landscape palette is simple with evergreen shrubs as foundation plants using columnar arborvitaes to accent some architectural features of the building. Native maples and oaks are used throughout the parking lot and parking edges to provide shade and help tie the landscape into the existing trees on the neighboring hillside.

A dog park area, as requested, was also included in the site plan. It is designed for both small and large dogs.

The Takeaway
The outdoor amenities became "the showstopper of this completed project," according to Bostick Landscape Architects.

Team List:
Owner: G.W. Jones Properties, Huntsville, Alabama
Landscape Architect: Bostick Landscape Architects,?EUR?Huntsville, Alabama
Civil Engineer: Jennifer Trice, Trice Engineering,?EUR?Huntsville, Alabama
Architect: English & Associates, Atlanta, Georgia
Photographer: Daniel Cothran, Thru the Viewer Photography


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