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QUESTION: The entry to our neighborhood has a median strip about 3 to 4 feet wide (I'm not sure how long but long). The builder had planted flowering trees, all but one has died and I think that one is on its way out. I'm guessing the space is too small for the trees and/or their roots.  Right now there is one tree and some tulips and that is it. What plant or plants can be put in there that will work and enhance the curb appeal of the entry to the neighborhood? Since it's a median strip, nothing too high. The trees were fine since they were spaced far enough apart to see through them. Probably need low maintenance plants and possibly drought resistance. We are in zone 7.

ANSWER: Hello,

Use a visibility triangle. The apex is typically 50 feet from the intersection and then the sides of the triangle extend out about 50 to 200 feet. Any low plants in this area should not exceed a height of 2 feet 6 inches. High branched street trees may be used in the area if not too closely spaced. Keep the spacing about 10 to 12 feet apart.

Consider planting a low shrub mass and/or ornamental grass in combination with street trees. Consult with someone knowledgeable about trees and the soil conditions there. The spacing sounds adequate for street trees. There could be many reasons why the trees died. Examples of drought resistant street trees would include:

green ash

hedge maple

golden rain tree

callery pear

amur maple

Juniper and yew are examples of drought resistant shrubs. Good luck.

Mark Harshman
http://www.harshmandrafting.com

http://www.liveperson.com/markland
Email: mark@harshmandrafting.com



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: With the triangle idea, just to clarify, the median strip is long and skinny (3 to 4 feet across or wide), so I'm not sure what you mean about the triangle idea. This strip separates the road coming into the neighborhood with the outgoing road and it not very wide.  I LOVE the golden rain tree idea. I think that might work.

Answer
Visibility Triangle
Visibility Triangle  
Hello,

The visibility triangle applies to intersections.  Perhaps I misunderstood and there is no intersection but you mentioned not wanting the plants too high and mention another road involved. If there is no intersection then I see no reason for height restrictions. You cant have plants too high at the corners of intersections because they will block the view of oncoming traffic from drivers who are turning from one road to the other. A certain distance measured down one side of the corner makes the first leg of the triangle and then a certain distanced measured down the other side makes the second leg. The third line is the hypotenuse. This is similarly done on the other corner and the lines of the two hypotenuse when extended until they meet will determine an area of clear visibility for drivers in the intersection. For the type of divided road you have mentioned,the triangle may have to extend out 250 feet on the drivers side of the intersection.

All plants and objects exceeding a height of 2 feet 6 inches must be kept out of the area defined by the triangle.

Mark Harshman


For more comprehensive help check out my website at:

http://www.prestoexperts.com/expert/markland  

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Mark

Expertise

Design of landscape structures and design of planting arrangements in the landscape. I usually do not answer questions of a horticultural nature or about growing plants or gardening unless they are related to design. I will answer these questions at my discretion. I will answer maintenance questions at my discretion,usually when they are related to design. I am a landscape designer. I am not a contractor or a gardener. Although I will describe how something is built I do not provide detailed installation or construction instructions. Here are example categories of problems I can help you with: Design of residential walks,low walls,low retaining walls,fences,drainage systems,arbors,plant selection,xeriscapes (low water use landscapes),rain garden design,rain water harvesting,permeable paving,sustainable drainage. No advise on an architectural or engineering level. I DO NOT PERFORM ACTUAL DESIGN WORK THROUGH THIS SITE. I only provide suggestions and advice. For more comprehensive help check out my website at: http://www.prestoexperts.com/expert/markland

Experience

Landscape concept plan for a 30,000 square feet housing site. Involved site recon by pace measurements and photographs and a site analysis and a site analysis report and recommendations and a preliminary cost estimate. Design elements included canopy trees,shrub cover,accent flowers,trash receptacles,benches and planters. Landscape concept plan for a 7,000 square feet site for a community center. Involved site recon by tape measurements and photographs,a site analysis and the creation of 3 conceptual designs for the site. Work was done through a local professional design center. Design elements included tree garden,playground,sitting area,lawn,cooking area,lighting and concrete and brick paving. Landscape concept plan for a 3,000 square feet housing site. Involved site recon by tape measurements and photographs and a site analysis. Concluded in 3 concept designs for the site,shown at a formal presentation,a site analysis and recommendations. Work was done through a community volunteer program. Design elements included decks,a playground and fencing. Briefly as draftsman for landscape designer/gardener. Conceptual landscape design for residence. Involved site recon by tape and pace measurements and site analysis. Design included covered patio area,ground cover and flower beds. Two years experience as draftsman for transportation department in engineering firm and for engineering consultants to phone company. Duties consisted of plotting topography. Survey crew member. General assistant to surveyor. Work was done for U.S. Army and County Highway Department. No instrument work. Duties included tape measurement,holding graduated survey rod and plumb bob for sighting and clearing brush. Marketed Landscape Design Services. Brochure writing,promotional material and marketing graphics.

Education/Credentials
Course in Computer Aided Drafting. 700 hours in AutoCad 2000. 700 hours to date on AutoCad Light 2000. Certificate in Manual Drafting. 1200 hours drafting time. Course in Civil Engineering Technology. (One Semester)

Awards and Honors
From Civil Engineer: I am very impressed with your work and with the obvious thought you have put into the marketing of your venture. It was especially good to see a print of that job we discussed on the phone. I wish you much luck with the venture as I do with your plans for school. Im darn proud of you buddy. And by the way,when I get my license,maybe you will consider me for a consulting job down the road. I hope to get together with Rick sometime soon and I would really like to show him your stuff if its ok with you. From all these questions you ask I get the feeling that you are genuinely interested and have put alot of thought into the idea and process of landscape architecture and if you could possibly afford the cost I would urge you to take some classes in the areas you are most interested in. The subject is not so simple as it appears,mixing science and engineering with art and a certain amount of religion to create a comfortable and pleasing balance between man and nature. A thoughtful soul like yours can do this but it can be a lifes work getting it right.

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