The Artists’ Backyard: Phase 1 | Raleigh USA | NC State Department of Landscape Architecture Design+Build Studio

The Artists’ Backyard: Phase 1 | Raleigh USA | NC State Department of Landscape Architecture Design+Build Studio |
The NC State Department of Landscape Architecture Design+Build Studio recently transformed an otherwise anonymous stretch of mulch between two campus residence halls into a high-­‐performance landscape, rich with social and environmental affordances. This landscape, called the Artists’ Backyard (derived from the adjacent Arts Village living/learning community), uses a holistic approach to educate students, staff, and visitors about the value of landscape architecture; the ability of green infrastructure to conserve resources; and how small spaces can make big moves toward creating community value and protecting the environment.


Before Site Photo 

As a pilot project for the university, phase one of the Artists’ Backyard achieved its primary objective of encouraging the development of sustainable sites across the campus. Simultaneously, the acts of designing and building gave participating students direct exposure to the processes involved in realizing “real world” projects—practical, hands-­‐on experience that can only be obtained outside the traditional classroom setting. Numerous issues and opportunities existed across the site, including the need to mitigate significant erosion and flooding issues while also protecting
two century-old Shumard Oaks.

Additionally, the site is on a major student thoroughfare and the adjacent residence halls are key stops on campus tours for incoming students (and their families). The project focused on achieving resource-­wise design, construction, and management goals. Examples of these state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art best practices include the development of three large bioinfiltration cells (rain gardens), use of structural (expanded shale) and compost-­amended soils, installation of permeable pavements, use of various air excavation techniques to protect the oaks, installation of a cistern, design of hydro-­zoned plantings, construction of infiltration/recharge wells to the native saprolite soil substrate, re-purposing 15 tons of demolished flagstone from the old Talley Student Center for paving, creation of interpretive signage, and the development of numerous rain-­powered water features.


Design/Construction Credits
Andrew Fox, RLA, ASLA, Lesslie Bartlebaugh, Barry Duncil, Mary Archer, Jon Blasco, Shep Butler, Dillon Conner, Gabe Delerme, Martha Eberle, Roger Ekstrom, Tipton Fowlkes, Jinguan Fu, Joe Fullmer, Jacqui Harris, Joshua Langdon, Preston Montague, Clint Moore, Patrick Prince, Heather Rhymes, Irene Sadler, Kyle Stalls, Caroline Tilley, Antony Wambui

Additional Credits University:
Pete Fraccaroli, PE, LEED AP, Tom Skolnicki, RLA, ASLA, Robert Bradley, Tim Luckadoo, Ph.D., Barry Olson, Ed.D., Susan Grant, Kathleen Ruppe, Christina Gillar, Gene Bressler, FASLA, Keith Wickliff

Donor Credits
Hoffman Nursery, Panther Creek Nursery, Pender Nursery, Carolina Stalite Company, Pine Hall Brick, Fred Adam’s Paving Company, Inc., Rainwater Solutions, Inc.

AndrewFox, RLA, ASLA, Leslie Bartlebaugh, Jon Blasco

About Damian Holmes 5623 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at