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Letters to the Editor

"Environmentally inappropriate"

Dear Editor: As a landscape designer and former Las Vegas resident, I'm disappointed that you would honor such an environmentally-inappropriate project as the Lewis Avenue redesign, even as you celebrate San Jose's sustainable native landscaping.

In the arid Las Vegas climate--where the growing population's demand for water is quickly outpacing the limited supply--there is nothing redeeming about a design oriented around a water feature. It can be romanticized with names such as a "wash," or "rills," or a "cascading water wall," but ultimately this feature is little more than an evaporator. Set within an urban hardscape that only magnifies the desert heat, the waterfall and shallow pond must cost the city thousands of gallons a month; even if the feature uses reclaimed water (which your article doesn't mention), that water unquestionably could be put to better use in other applications.

Las Vegas is a beautiful city whose unique environment offers enormous potential for innovative, site-appropriate landscape architecture and design. It is an embarrassment to our profession that designers continue to resort to fountains, waterfalls and similar trite concepts that are sadly out of place in this environment--and that organizations such as ASLA and APWA continue to reward those misguided efforts.

Sincerely,
John Black
Verdance Fine Garden Design
Palo Alto, Calif.

July Aquascapes Issue

Dear Editor: Not all water features are created equal. A properly designed water feature should consist of mechanical as well as biological filtration, plants and fish. This can be achieved by using a skimmer(mechanical filter) and a ‘bio-falls’ for the biological filtration. The addition of gravel in the bottom of the pond will also provide an area for the beneficial bacteria to colonize. This will help to break down organic matter as well as fish waste. The use of plants will help to decrease the amount of nutrients in the water, which will aid in the control of algae.

A properly designed pond will consist of all these components in the correct proportions. The need for the use of chemicals is practically eliminated while leaving the client with clean water and more time to enjoy their investment. When choosing a contractor be sure that they attend seminars and are abreast in the latest developments concerning eco balance ponds. Remember to work with mother nature not against her and you will have a pleasurable pond experience.

Premium Landscape Services is a proud member of the Professional Pond Builders of America Association and installs Aquascape Designs Inc. pond system for all our clients

Pieter van Westervelt
Premium Landscape Services
New Milford, New Jersey

Natural Resource Issues

Dear LASN: I want to compliment you on producing an informative publication each month for the landscape architecture profession. I have been particularly pleased to see recent articles on natural resource issues in additional to more traditional site planning/design projects. I hope you continue to cover the full range of the profession in future editions. Keep up the good work!

Kerry Wedel, LA
Topeka, Kansas



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Quote of the Month

"Ignorance is weakness; and the ignorant man instinctively merges his ambition and his claims of justice with those of an aggregate--makes that aggregate an object of partiality and bigotry..."

--Frederick Law Olmsted, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States, 1856, page 253



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