Public Space Fanatic

Product and Ideas for Public Space

WSJ Off Duty Fold Scores



The Wall Street Journal in it’s Off Duty section July 16 and 17th highlighted “Fold Scores” – Portable and Stackable folding chair for indoor and outdoor entertaining.  They concluded that their stylish and non-generic chair put the cool in collapse. We beg to differ.  The Fermob Original Bistro chair put the cool in the collapse.  View more deck, pool and patio seating.

Flower Pot Materials

Boulevard Planter System

Commercial grade flower pots and planters are usually available in five different materials – concrete, fiberglass, GFRC, thermoplastic and wood. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Concrete planters are made of concrete cement. Concrete plant pots are excellent for use in applications where durability and longevity is important. They require minimal maintenance and can double as security barrier. In high wind zones and coastal areas, concrete planters are the planters of choice.

Fiberglass flowerpots are made of glass fibers in single or multiple layers of chop strand mat that is held together with polyester resins. Gel coating is added to the fibers and resins and the process is completed by coating the planter pots with polyurethane enamel or ??

Fiberglass planter pots are ideal for interior and exterior applications and the material of choice for decks, roof gardens and balconies where weight is issue. Created using form shaped molds, customized or creative fiberglass planter may be configured into unusual shapes, styles and sizes.

Glass fiber reinforced concrete – GFRC – flower containers are made with Portland cement, glass fibers, sand; water and a combination of color and polymer curing additives. The interior of GFRC flower receptacles are dampproofed while their exterior may be sealed or unsealed depending on the specified finish.

GFRC flower pots weight approximately 1/3 the weight of concrete planters but provide the heft and scale that is expected in large outdoor projects. GFRC planters share many different style in common with fiberglass planters.

Thermoplastic flower receptacles are made of rotationally molded low linear density polyethylene and contain ultra-violet inhibitors to prevent cracking and crazing. The lightweight pots are easy to handle during installation and durable enough to move around without chipping or breaking. Outdoor thermoplastic pot are value priced and are easy customizable in large quantities.

Traditional wood planter boxes usually consist of containers or boxes made with wood planks. In a break with tradition, commercial grade Boulevard wood planterboxes consist of an inner waterproof fiberglass liner wrapped with an outer layer of environmentally friendly and sustainable thermally modified wood. The sustainable wood is resistant to decay, twisting and warping and it designed to last for 25+ years of service.

In applications where traditional wood plank planters would be placed in-line end to end, against a wall or in corners, the Boulevard planter system allows one to select the planter sides that should contain wood panels. This feature can significantly impact planter and project costs without reducing the associated visual impact.

To view commercial grade outdoor planters, visit Streetscapes Inc.

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On and Off Street Bike Parking

Aspen Bike Shelter

On and off street bike parking is definitely on the rise. Along with the rise in bike parking, there’s an interest in more creative and interesting bike racks. Along main street, inverted U hoop rack were the default standard. Fast forward today, we’re seeing cycle racks that create words and phrases, promote café’s and restaurants brands, brand shopping districts and market museums.

In the early stages of on-street bike parking, multiple hoop racks were combined via u-channel rails to create freestanding bike corrals. The desire to create bike parking that was more interesting led to bicycle corrals designed to look like cars, later fish and now you can let your imagine run wild. On street bike parking once again has transformed it’s self into more interesting objects – a string of bike looking bike racks, paper clips and other interesting objects.

One tool in the off street bicycle parking equation that has been missing is the combination of bike corrals and bike shelters. Cyclists are interested in the combination, but finding pre-engineered shelters designed for the urban environment can be tricky. The current bike shelter offerings tend to be bulky and un-inspired and their limited sizes can be a challenge.

But the Aspen, Pergola and Vizor pre-fabricated bike shelters may be changing that scenario. All three shelters have contemporary urban aesthetics. The Aspen and Pergola feature woodgrain aluminum powder coating that is quite suitable for upscale communities and historic districts. The Vizor stands out as a beacon of architectural design.

Another option that appear to have limited interest but could double or triple the amount of bike parking in high-density bike parking areas is the marriage of vertical and two tier bike parking systems with bike sheds. Vertical bike storage is being used extensively in apartments, condominiums and offices but has had limited success in other environments. Many standard bike shelters on the market will accommodate vertical bike parking.

On and off street bike parking is very much in demand.

Self Watering Planter Irrigation Systems

self-watering-planter-irrigation-systemStreetscape planters and city flower pots located in public plazas and right of ways have a problem.  The flower pots are planted in the spring with the hope of adding color, texture and greenery to an otherwise dull looking street. However, unless they’re provided with an ample supply of water during the growing season that won’t happen.

Flowers planted in a plant pot without an irrigation system are at the mercy of volunteers or an irrigation service company. Volunteers are not alway dependable and lose interest over time. Irrigation services are expensive if you can find them.  High local temperature swings compound the issue. A possible solution – retrofit existing planters with an internal water wicking irrigation system or consider a planters system similar to the Seacrest planter collection.

The system consist of a water reservoir(s), a sensor, a water tube for filling the reservoir and an overflow tube that is placed over the flowerpot drain hole.

To retrofit an existing planter with a wicking irrigation system, remove the existing soil and install the wicking irrigation system. Refill the planter with soil, fill the water reservoir with water and prime the system to get the process started. Once the system is working, Add plants and let the growing season begin.

Moving forward, the water wicking irrigation system in each planter pot will require new water only once every two to four weeks depending on your location.  The overflow tube will drain any excess water. Here’s a water wicking flower pot irrigation system at  work.

The planter water wicking irrigation system is available in three different configurations.  A retrofit kit systems to accommodate rectangle, round, square planters in standard planter sizes. A round and square edge back modular version for large or unusual shaped planters. And a self contained water wicking planters with the irrigation reservoirs built into the planter walls. The self contained planter are available in rectangle, round and square shapes.

Get  a jump start on the upcoming growing season by installing self water wicking planter systems today.

Flower Pots and Planters

Olimpo Planter Bench

Olimpo Planter Bench

Planters also known as flower pots, plant pots and plant containers will soon make their appearance as winter fades away and spring begins to emerge.   Flowers, grasses, vegetable and other cultivated plants will establish their roots within their respective plant pots to produce captivating colors and delicious foods.

Historically, flowerpots were made of terra cotta or clay.  Today terra cotta and clay pots  are still available cast stone, concrete, fiberglass; gfrc (glass fiber reinforced concrete) and lightweight thermoplastics are the standard for public spaces and streetscapes  .  In sustainability circles, flower boxes covered in reclaimed or sustainable woods are also popular.

In the period during which terra cotta and clay flower pots were popular,  round pots were probably the norm.  However flowerpots are available today in a wide variety of standard configurations – rectangle or rectangular, round and square as well as a variety of geometric designs.  Popular planter models are available in a wide variety of heights that range between standard, tall, low and giant sizes.

Although large, extra large or giant planter pots are available to accommodate the scale of large public space projects, they are usually fabricated as custom planters.  Planters of unusual shapes or planters designed for site specific effect are usually custom as well.

Historically,  terra cotta and clay flower pots were made and sold by cast which related to the number of pots that could be made in a given day. Although we don’t refer to the casting sizes much today, the size of the flower pot still determines how quickly they can be made and shipped.  Large planters Continue reading

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