Thursday, October 8, 2009

Natural Pond near Wekiva River

Here is the pond at the beginning of the cleaning project. Obviously algae averrun the first step will be to clear the shore line of debris and remove the dead grass from the pond.
Recently we got a call to come out to a property that has a natural pond on it that had become algae overrun. When the young couple who purchased the property first saw it, the water was clear. Then the surface became completely covered with thick algae. They hired someone who uses chemicals for retention pond maintenance and although certified to be safe, his treatment promptly killed the littoral water plants, while leaving the algae relatively unscathed.
My proposed solution is to gradually restore the natural balance of the pond by introducing native water plants like pickerel weed along the shore and water lilies in the pond itself. Water lilies help reduce the production of algae by depriving the plants of sunlight under their spreading pad/leaves. The littoral plantings act as a filter to rainwater washing from the steep banks and bringing dirt and other pollutants into the water. Both types of plantings increase oxygen and help burn up nutrients that make the water healthier for fish while decreasing the available nutrients for algae. This will be a slow process but in the end the transformation should be pretty spectacular.
Returning this little pond to its natural beauty and health will be all the more appropriate as this property sits in the Wekiva River Valley and is daily home to herds of deer and, though they have only seen him once, a large Florida Black Bear. He is shy about being seen but at least once a week makes his presence known by rifling through the trash.
At the shore of the pond a lot of dead grass and oak branches. Pulling them out is a good start to improving the look of the pond and will make room for the future plants to be put in.
To remove the dead grass and fallen branches from the pond we'll be enlisting this john boat for the day.
This picture really shows how tall the lake grass had grown. Including the roots, each clump of grass, weighing anywhere from 5 to 15 lbs., were pulled out individually requiring a lot of effort, but had a huge affect on the look of the pond by day's end.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Winter Park Landscaping will transform Mid-Century Modern

Front of the house as work begins.

The existing walk-way

After several weeks of planning, we are finally starting on a project that is going to transform our project house into a real architectural gem. By taking this 1950's ranch that was "dolled up" to look like a Brittany farm house (all the rage in Orlando at the time) and bringing it back to it's roots in mid-century modern design, we are creating a template that will hopefully be useful to myriads of others who occupy this abundant style./
The subject property sits in a charming and popular neighborhood in the affluent and culturally rich Orlando suburb of Winter Park. A popular tongue in cheek send up of upper middle class values published in the nineteen eighties, "The Preppy Handbook," lists only two cities in Florida as proper preppy addresses, Palm Beach and Winter Park. Winter Park is certainly less pretentious than Palm Beach and a lot of the city life centers on places like Rollins College, the Farmer's Market and it's two famous art festivals. It's just the right environment to showcase a project that will appeal to aficionados of modern architecture, as we seek to return this property to its proper roots. At the end of the day, we plan to push it a little beyond its previous incarnation and bring it together with new touches that will strengthen its "modernist aspects. Hope you'll enjoy watching the transformation.Me at the front door