Aside from inducing a sense of calm, moving water tends to have a psychologically cooling effect, and it softens or masks surrounding noise. In the built landscape, it can be incorporated in many ways. Examples below illustrate some of that variety: a few of these features are meant to be interactive while others are not; several of them emphasize the water, which is more subtle or secondary in other cases; and some were designed to mimic nature whereas others are geometric in pattern or form. In all cases, the inclusion of water clearly adds to the appeal of these outdoor spaces.
Since we’re in the depths of winter here in the northern U.S., I’m sharing some photos of art deco buildings in Miami Beach, in happy pastel colors to help melt away the cold weather blues! I’ve always been a fan of this style of historic architecture, and am happy to see these buildings so well-preserved. For more on this topic, check out my post on art deco in New York City.
The Lincoln Road pedestrian mall in Miami Beach includes a relatively new addition: a block of water gardens that evoke Florida’s Everglades. The site was designed by the landscape architecture firm of Raymond Jungles, Inc., and construction was completed in 2010. The surfaces of the water gardens are raised above the surrounding pavement, and include many native plants such as Bald Cypress, Red Mangrove, and Pond Apple. The biomorphic shapes of the gardens and seats are juxtaposed with the bold linear pattern of the surrounding pavement, creating an interesting combination of urban and natural themes.
The gardens include a variety of plants that thrive in or near water, with an emphasis on native vegetation.
Islands in the water gardens – these ones include large Bald Cypress trees. I’m guessing that the surrounding water somehow infiltrates the soil in the islands from below.
A “dry” garden with Live Oak trees
The gardens are raised above the surrounding pavement – some more than others.
Mosaic surfacing forms bold stripes in the pavement.
Water flows over this pond edge into a drain for recirculation.
Photos by Alice Webb