Landscaping in the City: Overcoming Obstacles

Landscaping in the City: Overcoming Obstacles

Project Location: Salt Lake City

Project Manager: Carson Jensen

On Site Supervisor: John Clark

Landscaped Area: Parking Deck Patio

Project Value – Phase 1: $50,000

Project Value – Phase 2: $75,000

Work by other Trades: Waterproofing, Concrete Walls, Electrical, Benches, and Railings

Phase 1 Completion: 2014

Phase 2 Completion: 2015


Photo: Nearly Completed Landscape

Project Summary – A more inviting space:

This project was a patio landscape remodel project performed by Lawn Butler in the heart of downtown SLC.  We removed overgrown pine trees and replaced them with a more modern landscape consisting of Japanese Maple trees, Burning Bushes, Daylilies and grasses; among other plantings.  The evergreen trees proved difficult for ongoing property maintenance.   The patio constantly had needles that needed to be cleaned up.  We were careful in selecting replacement plantings in order to prevent the same issue in the future.  In addition to the perimeter landscaping we also installed a 250 square foot putting green in the center of the patio.  This outdoor patio area is now an open and inviting space for use by building tenants.

Obstacles to Overcome – Limited Access:


Photo: Equipment Access

In order to gain access to the site with our large equipment we had to get creative.  Our operators used four 20’ long railroad timbers to drive equipment up the front steps.  At the time of construction these concrete steps were brand new and it was crucial that we protected them.

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Photo: Tree Stump Removal with Mini Excavator

We used a Volvo Mini Excavator to remove large tree stumps as well as several hundred yards of soil from the existing raised planter beds.

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Photo: Bobcat Skid Steer and Volvo Mini Ex

Our Bobcat skid steer made quick work of transporting large quantities of soil around the job site.  Manual labor was a key factor in moving plants and other materials in and out of the job site.

Water Issues – Failing Waterproofing Membrane:

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Photo: Failing Waterproofing Membrane

For years, the planter beds and upper deck were leaking, resulting in the need for a new waterproofing membrane to be applied on the existing planter beds.  In order to accomplish this, the existing landscape needed to be removed and a new coat of waterproofing membrane needed to be installed.


Photo: Waterproofing Removal

After removing the old waterproofing and thoroughly cleaning the concrete surfaces another contractor installed the new waterproofing membrane.  This prevents water from leaking down into the parking garage through the cracks in the concrete.  Once the new waterproofing process was complete, we began reinstalling the soil we previously removed.  To top it off, we completed the project with new irrigation, plants and bark mulch.

Preventing Future Drainage Issues – Planter Liners


Photo: Planter Pot Liners

On phase 2 we wanted to approach drainage differently.  We collaborated with the Real Estate Manager to find a cost effective solution to containing our irrigation water on the newly installed planter beds.  The decided upon course of action was to eliminate the need for waterproofing in the entire planter bed area.  Instead we installed custom planter pot liners.  At the base of each of these liners is a drain which we ran beneath the deck and into the drainage system.  The entire site was retrofitted with drip irrigation to directly apply water to the plants to minimize the amount of excessive irrigation runoff.  The end result was that we were able to eliminate the need for sealing the entire planter beds with waterproofing while still maintaining a solution to retain irrigation water.

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Photo: Before

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Photo: In Progress


Photo: Completion Phase 1