Home Calendar - AIA – East Bay Chapter Small Firms Forum Small Firm Forum: Building and Site Design for Irrigation-Free Landscapes (1.5 LU | HSW)

Small Firm Forum: Building and Site Design for Irrigation-Free Landscapes (1.5 LU | HSW)

The presentation explores the interplay between the built form and landscapes and their water needs – looking at how variables like hardscape, shade, site slope, and others influence how well plants can survive in un-irrigated environments – that is, landscapes that don’t have an irrigation system they are attached to.

This presentation will explore 10 years of design, installation, and research I have done through my practice, Prairieform, on creating landscapes that can grow and thrive without irrigation – both in Mediterranean and more continental climates. It will explore long-term data collected on actual – as opposed to perceived – water needs of plants and how this data translates into learning lessons for site and building design, plant selection, and planting and watering techniques. Participants should leave the workshop with a better sense of not just how landscapes without irrigation are possible (a common misperception is that they are impossible or that they will look half-dead) but how site and building design, and site prep, can play a critical role in making these landscapes successful. While we will be looking in part at numbers and data, the presentation will be place equal emphasis on visuals, as, at the end of the day, these landscapes need to read as beautiful to the general public and not as science experiments (even if they are!).

About the speaker:

John Kamp is an urban and landscape designer, licensed landscape contractor, educator, and facilitator with Prairieform. Over the past 15 years, his design/build work has engaged diverse audiences in exploring how how site design and planting and watering techniques influence the ultimate water needs of plants; plant succession and the role of weeds in urban ecosystems; how design can influence how humans perceive relative intentionality in landscapes; and how garden cultivars interact with self-sowing plants within garden settings over time. He is an experienced facilitator who also leads hands-on interactive workshops with James and Rojas of Place It! on engaging diverse audiences in urban planning, design, landscape, and transportation. He and Rojas are currently co-writing a book for Island Press due out in 2021

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the role that site design plays in the success of landscapes without irrigation
  • Gain a foundation in core drought adaptations of plants and how those influence site and planting design
  • Explore recorded data from the actual watering needs of plants to gain a deeper understanding of how landscapes can grow and thrive without supplemental irrigation after the first growing season.
  • Learn core planting and watering techniques for ensuring that a landscape can grow and thrive without supplemental irrigation


Nov 05 2020


12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Nov 05 2020
  • Time: 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

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