Ecological Planting Design: Stunning entrance to a Community Centre

Community Centre

This is a busy community site that requires thought and consideration in relation to the planting design in order to minimize resource use while maximizing benefits.

Our services include, site and SWOT analysis in addition to consultation that considers all stakeholders. In addition, we use plant sociability metrics and the latest in research to track and predict the long-term functionality of our plantings (including Grimes C-S-R ratings and Hansen and Stahl’s five grades of Plant Sociability).


At Virens, we combine a love of visually evocative landscapes that provide stunning seasonal displays with a science-based approach to both support and encourage ecology.

site plans
site plans. source: Alicia Robbins (2022)
planting design
Planting design and plant list. source: Sara-Jane Quechuck (2022)

Site Notes & Hardscape

  • Beds that feature a mineral-based soil substrate for optimal plant health and minimal water and maintenance requirements.


  • Topography on the site is flat with a gentle slope away from the buildings.


  • 18” high concrete retaining walls will surround the two pie-shaped beds. Acting as added seating (with some portions featuring wood slat backing for comfort) and decorative metal trim to deter undesired use. Hidden breaks in the wall provide entrances to the beds for machinery and maintenance.


  • A central walkway that cuts diagonally through the planting, leading pedestrians to the building entrance. The 10’ wide concrete path will be lined with pleached trees to create an arched effect overhead, while the lower portion remains open creating a safe eyeline and garden views.


  • Thin rills of water to run along both edges of the walkway, adding sound, a feeling of coolness and habitat value. They end in shallow bowls for pet and wildlife access.
water rill and promenade 2

Planting Design

Year round visual interest and habitat value

You’ll see lots of colour (in addition to flowers) plus seedheads, texture and architectural structure within the planting itself. 

Diverse mix of plant material

With various life spans, that is adapted to site conditions and includes native species in an effort to build a novel ecosystem. 

Seasonal moments

Will also be used to heighten community engagement, even if it’s a simple social media post, we’ve included eye-catching plants that are guaranteed to get noticed. Our plantings are designed to elicit an emotional response from viewers.


Strong structural elements

Gives the viewer the pattern and structure that the human eye seeks out, plus wilder feeling materials to add spontaneity and a more natural feeling. This planting design will feature open vase-shaped small trees (Coral bark maples) within the planting to add an architectural feeling and winter interest.

Acer palmatum 'sago-kaku'
naturalistic perennials

Planting Material

Strong long-lived perennial material

To anchor the space, plus a layer of tall but open plants for height and movement.

Seeded matrix

For colour and diversity while building continuity and connection throughout the site. Seed mixes are a great addition to fill open space quickly; keeping weeds at bay, building strong plant communities, saving construction costs and giving slower growing perennial species time to take off.

Specially chosen material

That has been scientifically proven to feed and sustain local insect and wildlife populations and build resilient plant communities that require less human intervention to maintain.

perennial seed mix
naturalistic perennial and grass

In addition to planting and construction plans we also offer other services to build your customers tool boxes including:


  • Bulb designs can be added as a layer within the main perennial planting for heightened seasonal displays and added visual value. Bulbs also provide food sources for pollinators during seasons when nothing else is blooming. 


  • Maintenance plans and practices can be provided. Including seasonal task calendars, short and long term goals, how tos and reminders, all in a simple poster format that can be easily shared/kept on phones and computers or printed out as posters for work areas. 


  • Plant Catalogs of images and descriptions of specific plant material (including the initial phases of seedling growth) is another option. This can help to quickly identify plant material and the maintenance practices associated with them. It’s a fantastic tool, not only for current staff, but also great for training new and seasonal workers.


  • Site checks, to monitor seed dispersal and germination, plus plant growth and establishment. It’s a great opportunity to adjust the balance of materials (planted and seeded); a key step to help ensure the long term success of the planting.   


  • We also provide written materials for public education, including site descriptions to communicate the purpose, value and key points of the planting. With a focus on stakeholder benefits; encouraging observation, patience and visual exploration as a rewarding and immersive experience.   


Our strengths as Ecological Planting Designers lie in our ability to provide the flexibility and skills to link several disciplines (Landscape Architects, Architects and Site Owners, Users, Environmental Consultants, and Horticulturalists, Ecologists and Therapeutic Horticultural professionals) together to help create exceptional green spaces. So, get in touch today, we would love to be an integral part of your team. 


Sara-Jane & Alicia


© Virens Studio 2023 (all photos are used for demonstration purposes and do not necessarily belong to us.)

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