Nooks and Crannies
Use paving in beds that become narrow slivers as a result of the landscape design of hardscape elements. Avoid nooks and crannies— errors and omissions of the diminutive kind. Details are important, and taking the time to eliminate weird little slivers of left over, open dirt areas should be done by any good landscape designer. Knowing how many people are involved in creating public spaces like this, it is surprising the design error was taken all the way to construction and installation. Why would visitors want separation between their river walk path and the river, when a single step (through the vegetation) would take them to the handrail? A little extra paving to close the narrow gaps is all that is needed
It is unrealistic to expect plant material of any kind to live in awkward little splinters of dirt and paving. The reflected heat from the ground surface and the potential for pedestrians to trample the plants dooms any potentially viable growth. Besides, the contrast of paving and dirt detracts from the design.
What can be done now? Maybe decorative metal grate material could be used to fill the void between the concrete and paving stones, or new paving stones could be brought in to fill the gap. It is important for professional landscape designers to realize replacing the plant material is not an option for these types of splintered, left-overs in public spaces. Pedestrian traffic will trample the area again and again.
The small, isolated element in the multi-million dollar project shown in the image above is telling visitors to the site that the design process lacked an essential step—design review for planting pits large enough for viable plant material. This type of fail is not the result of poor maintenance. It is the result of an error in design. During the early design phase, a quality-control reviewer should have caught this. Your design firm should have a formal process for quality control. Many times requests for qualifications will require bidders to provide a copy your firm’s written quality control policy.