Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Louisville chromium-6 level exceeds CA "safe limit"

Hexavalent chromium (or chromium-6) is the substance made famous in the movie “Erin Brockovich.” Louisville’s measurement of 0.14 parts per billion exceeds the California “safe limit” of .06 parts per billion for tap water.  Cincinnati was tested at .03 and nothing was detected in Indianapolis.  Other communities (like Nashville) were not included in the study.  The Study’s methodology can be found at: http://static.ewg.org/reports/2010/chrome6/html/methodology.html

The full study can be found:


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Monday, December 20, 2010

Urban density increases in Louisville in 2010 Census

(Map courtesy of Sustainable Cities Collective)

Using the mapping tool on the New York Times website, one can see an increase of density in the urban core of Louisville.  (Dark yellow means double digit increases in density, dark blue means double digits decreases in density)  This is all fine and dandy until one realizes most of the community had a decrease in density.  So it would seem that we need to find ways to retrofit all parts of our community where we are already living with more housing, preferably affordable housing.  There is a book called Retrofitting Suburbia: urban design solutions for redesigning suburbs that could prove useful.  We need to think about making allowances for mother-in-law rooms, basement apartments, and garage apartments.   Our community has allowances for carriage house apartments in the urban core from the 19th century and it is probably time for us to consider how the suburbs better fit into our city.

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Edible Schoolyard

The Edible Schoolyard at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkley, CA involves children from tending the garden through to preparing nutritious meal.  The work in the garden is a part of their core curriculum: math, social studies, and science.

To see it in action, visit their website or see a video on the Edible Schoolyard on CNN



John Pacyga


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Monday, November 15, 2010

Bike touring trails in Wisconsin

If you plan on visiting Wisconsin, I would recommend stopping off to ride any number of bike trails located throughout the state.  Janet is going biking and reviewing each of the trails, some of which were newly opened late this summer!  Take a look at her blog and enjoy the ride!


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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Google Earth: Louisville Loop route .kmz

Click here to download:
Louisville Loop.kmz (4 KB)

Some have asked, "Where is the Loop?" "Is it built?" "Where do I get on it?"

Well, I've attached file that shows the location of the built portion of the
Louisville Loop. The file is a .kmz file which will plug into Google Earth,
a free mapping program. First, download Google Earth at
http://www.google.com/earth/index.html. Then take the file and click on it.
It should fire up the program, insert the Loop into Louisville, KY, and then
you will see the loop as a purple line along the Ohio River. There are many
places along the path where you can jump on and do a short portion or ride
the whole thing.

A word from our sponsor:
Google Earth streams the world over wired and wireless networks enabling
users to virtually go anywhere on the planet and see places in photographic
detail. This is not like any map you have ever seen. This is a 3D model of
the real world, based on real satellite images combined with maps, guides to
restaurants, hotels, entertainment, businesses and more. You can zoom from
space to street level instantly and then pan or jump from place to place,
city to city, even country to country.

Get Google Earth. Put the world in perspective.


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Monday, November 08, 2010

3D rain garden SketchUp model

Some projects come along and are thoroughly enjoyable.  One of these was working on a sustainable residential landscape.  The owner had rain barrels but now wanted a rain garden, a vegetable garden, and new connecting walk to a sun room.

After the summer that we have had in Louisville, Kentucky it has really hammered home that rain gardens are not wetlands or pond projects.  The nature of the rain garden’s depression and the plant choices are really designed to be in a dry condition 95 percent of the time.  They need to be well-drained planting beds.  Tying a rain garden to rain barrels may seem counter-intuitive, but again when things are dry, it’s good to hold onto the rain water we do get for use at a later time.  So it’s really a matter of thinking through how many different solutions can become a more complete answer: growing one’s food, using rain water (stored and infiltrated on site) to water the landscape, and minimizing impervious areas like rooftops and pavement.  These goals hold true for the homeowner, an institution, public lands and whole communities.

3D modeling is a helpful way to show what a new landscape will look like before making a dramatic change.  It also allows the owner to participate in the design review so the new landscape is as specific to the place and the client as possible.  Involvement breeds commitment, so an involved owner will stay committed to maintaining sustainable landscape from the design phase through enjoying the final product.

Feel free to contact us if I can help you on your next sustainable project.

John Pacyga, RLA, ASLA, LEED AP

Verdant Design LLC




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Friday, October 22, 2010

Warm wet winter for Ohio River Valley

Expect an extreme winter, U.S. forecasters warn

It looks like we are going to have some weather this winter.  It’s either going to be warmer or colder or wetter, but not “normal.”  So expect the unexpected…

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Photos from the Louisville Loop

Many don’t know that the Louisville Loop, a 100 mile trail around the whole county, already has portions in place.  Right now there is 23 miles built from Waterfront Park down the Ohio River to the Farnsley-Moreman home/landing.  It is made up of the Riverwalk by downtown, follows Northwestern and Southwestern Parkways, uses some bike lanes, then picks up the River along the Levee Trail.  All told it is a nice ride.  I found the drivers (even semis) were courteous either moving over as they passed (even though I was in a bike lane) or when stopped, they motioned for me to go first.   I thought the Levee trail was the most heavily used portion with many more walkers/joggers than anywhere else.  The most beautiful parts were a secluded woods portion near the LG&E facility and Southwestern Parkway.  If you haven’t been on it, give it a try!

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Verdant Design interviewed regarding Social Networking in the Green Industry

Verdant Design was the 1000th to follow Ewing Irrigation on twitter.  They interviewed us on the value of being involved in social networking in the green industry.  Here is a link to the blog.


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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

HBC's Memorial Garden

Here are a few photos of Highland Baptist Church’s Memorial Garden from design to completion.  Though the summer has been a rough one, the garden has done well.  The Black-eyed Susan plants have now been cut back partly due to the weather (they set seed and browned out sooner than normal), but they should do well for next season.  Hats off to Chip Miller and crew for the wonderful benches built in honor Ed Lotze.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

#Land8 Webinar: #CAD & #SketchUp with Daniel Tal

Daniel Tal, author of Google SketchUp for Site Design, will have three nights of webinars regarding CAD and SketchUp on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 6:00 PM - to - Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 7:00 PM (PT). 

<a href=”http://land8-cad-sketchup-webinar.eventbrite.com/”> http://land8-cad-sketchup-webinar.eventbrite.com/</a>

He will cover:

·         How to prepare your CAD drawing for import into SketchUp
·         How to organize CAD layers and XREF’s prior to import
·         How to rapidly add faces to imported CAD linework
·         Tips and tricks to creating faces from CAD linework
·         Swapping 2D Blocks with 3D Components
·         When and how to export a SketchUp model back to AutoCAD

You can get a discount using these codes:

Students: "Land8-Students-10"

Professionals: "Land8-Pro-25"


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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Mother-in-law's courtyard

One of the honors I have is giving family member’s suggestions or designs on their surroundings when they move into a new home.  Here is the design for a small space, a courtyard, behind a patio home.  Even small spaces can be designed well and take advantage of the given situation.  In this small space there were plenty of walls but not ground space.  The walls, though dressed in brick, needed softening.  Espaliered fruit trees are slated to be installed this fall to soften the brick’s appearance, as well as provide fruit in season.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Drought to continue in #Louisville

The drought conditions that cover nearly half of Kentucky and the southern half of Indiana will persist for some time according to the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.  The news release for Kentucky can be found here:

Level 1 Drought Declared in 27 Counties in Western and Central Kentucky

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