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Re "Benefits of Synthetic Grass for Playgrounds" Jamie Hendrickson, LEED AP, northern region account manager, Littleton, Colo. writes:

Synthetic turf under swings was pictured in the Sept. Playground column.

I have a degree in landscape architecture, am a LEED AP and a sales representative for playground equipment and safety surfacing. I sell synthetic turf and I would never recommend a client put this under playground equipment, especially swings as pictured in the article. Go back in about six months to a year and take a picture of that same space, if you want to see how ridiculous this recommendation is. The only good application for synthetic turf in a playground is for flex or nonprogrammed areas, where the wear patterns will be much more varied, limiting the wear issues. In terms of LEED points, there is definitely some "green washing" going on here. If your most green product only has 35 percent recycled content...that means 65 percent is a virgin, synthetic product which is hardly eco-friendly. Given the initial carbon footprint for manufacturing and disposal issues with this product, you are generally going to have a lower environmental impact with a low-water use natural turf. There are many better options for safety surfacing on the market. Products like Playmulch, a poured-in-place bonded rubber mulch, is made from 100 percent recycled tires. Products like this are less expensive, more environmentally responsible, and much more durable under play structures and high use areas than synthetic turf. Safety surfacing can be a big investment, so I urge everyone to consider their options and their appropriateness for the space.

Re "Back to Our Origins: Guest Editorial: Alrie Middlebroook of Middlebrook Garden" (Sept. 2009) Eric Woodhouse, div. president of Landscape Development, Valencia, Calif. writes:

I would venture that the concepts in this article would be applicable to no more than one percent of homeowners. A very small cottage group of persons could afford to install and maintain a program like this.

The concepts represent ideals and practices that are valid, but wholly unrealistic in society and to meet the demands of affordable housing for the masses. The concepts and gardens demonstrated would be impossible to sustain in most of the western U.S., particularly the southwest where average rainfall is under 15 inches, unless, rock and cacti are universally acceptable. To meet the demands of mass and affordable housing, the practices would not be cost feasible.

Most developers are being regulated into compliance to soil stabilization, water retention, infiltration and filtration practices. These are good things, if the effort has a truly viable purpose and planning is on a watershed area basis and not solely site by site.

Speaking of daydreams, I seem to remember that all of the anthills from my childhood were denuded eyesores and often detractions from the natural landscape: blasted mounds of frenzied activity, constant motion, harried excavation, perpetual feeding, breeding and taking out the waste and spoils; mindlessly crawling over each other and destroying the competition in pursuit of completing the assigned task or preservation of the colony.

The sentiment exists and there is a universal agreement that humans need to do better and can do better. But to bring about real change will require real and concerted effort and application of real world concepts. These will have to be based upon proven practices and viable evidence. It will be hard work. To believe that we can all truly afford to plant a few native flowering plants in our front yards, capture our rain water in a barrel (not happening in the desert) and live off a few berry bushes grown in our back yards is “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

This kind of approach and thinking will actually undermine the hard work and efforts of those who are trying to bring real change to master developments, urban planning, and watershed protection, use, and development.

Re "Half of Utahans Support Red Rock Wilderness Act" in which 9.4 million acres in southern Utah would be designated as wilderness, Judith Thomas, owner of Bay Area Plant Conservation, Oakland, Calif. writes:

The Vermillion Cliffs must be saved! Again, it’s our generation that will determine what happens to these areas for all time! Greed mustn’t be a part of it, as it has been so many times in the past.

Energy conservation methods, if supported by the Republicans and those who would like to defile these grand places, could make up the difference.

Just because you live in Utah isn’t as important as living in the Unites States!

Re "Three Lexington, Ky. Firms Join Forces" Bill Baile, owner of Turn2Stone in Lexinton, Ky. writes:

The Blue Grass Airport wall is camouflaged by a painted mural. Fiberglass horses add to the bucolic effect. (Feb. 2006 LASN feature.)

It is difficult to fathom why the new entrance to the Blue Grass Airport, the “portal” and “welcome mat” to what the region has to offer, would install such a chintzy looking brick facade so close to Keeneland and the tourism drawing historic by-ways.

Everyone is talking about what a mistake this is. Is the best foot we can put forward?

Re "Maintenance Spreads Invasives?" Kurt Van Dexter, RLA, Stony Lane Studios, North Kingstown, R.I. writes:

Yes! I am pleased that someone has given attention to this. In recent years, I have seen this in many areas off Rhode Island, particularly with the very invasive Japanese Knotweed, Polygonum cuspidatum. Landscape maintenance crews have spread this plant to formerly pristine areas by not cleaning their equipment after working in contaminated areas, and in some cases, by dumping lawn and brush clippings, containing Japanese Knotweed seed over the abundant stonewalls in our rural areas.

Too many homeowners are oblivious to this. Japanese Knotweed, once established, is very difficult to eradicate. I have actually seen it sprout through an asphalt country road.

Marcia Hadley, a landscape designer from Arcata, Calif. writes regarding the Art Gallery

The Art Gallery is an excellent addition. For those of us who are artist, this is another way to inspire the use of mother nature her majesty. After viewing the art gallery, I cannot wait to see your next one.

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October 21, 2019, 1:33 pm PDT

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