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Blue Hens Go Green With Landscape Plans

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Fate always seems to bring you the right people at the right time. Our quest with Infusion Design has certainly led us in all the right directions with all the right people just “appearing” when we need them. Infusion Design itself seems to represent the bringing together of the right things—green and accessibility—at the right time, when our environment and families need it the most.
 
Some of you may recall that Panaro Construction, Inc. was featured in an article a few years ago in Delaware Today’s premier “green” edition. (Check out the original article under “News and Articles” at www.panaroconstruction.com.) In exploring what it means to build green with the author of that article, Katie Ginder-Vogel, we lamented about our lack of expertise about an important part of a green project—site sustainability and landscaping. While we are green builders, we are NOT green thumbs. Katie advised us that we really needed to meet her landscape design professor at the University of Delaware, Dr. Jules Bruck. 
 
A meeting ensued between the good Doctor and Panaro Construction, and we soon realized we were in a wonderful position—an entire class of landscape design students would propose various plans for our lot. We inducted the students with a class trip to the site. We offered a history of the C&D Canal, a land survey of the site, and, of course, the checklist from the LEED criteria for sustainable sites and water resource conservation. If you are interested in the history of the Canal, click here. If you would like to see the components of the LEED checklist that deal with landscaping and water efficiency, click here to download a PDF.
 
The challenge to the students was a rather tall task—create a design plan that incorporates the LEED considerations on our half-acre parcel, and, by the way, please keep in consideration we want the site to be accessible. For example, walkways need to be hardscaped to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers, but be pervious or otherwise handle stormwater runoff in order to meet the green component. 
 
To say the students did a wonderful job is an understatement. Each student came up with a great plan and gave a formal presentation of those plans as part of their class curriculum. In return, each was rewarded with a $10 Starbucks gift card. While I realize they were seriously underpaid, in the middle of final exams, you might have thought I was handing out gold.
 
Rebecca Pineo, a master degree student at UD who was in the original Fall semester class with Dr. Bruck, took the project to the next level and created final planting and landscape plans for our site in the Spring 2009 semester. Talk about a windfall! The plans are indescribably beautiful and we cannot wait to see the results. To check out the full final plans, click here. The download a PDF of the perennials, click here. To download a PDF of the trees and shrubs, click here.
 
We will be working with Dr. Bruck’s company, Evolution Landscape Design, in Media, Pennsylvania, to help us with LEED certification. 
 
Our next feature article will define Infusion Design more thoroughly. In the meantime, hold on to your hats—we are going to give you a full blast update on construction progress to date. LOTS going on at the site and we look forward to sharing it with you.