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Archives for September 9, 2013

Ignite High Point focuses on next steps

Supporters of the Ignite High Point Initiative have put their imaginations to work lately.
They have been working to implement the revitalization ideas of Miami-based urban architect Andres Duany and his team of planners, engineers and other professionals.
Representatives of The City Project on Thursday showed the City Council several architectural renderings for possible uses of “the pit” — a vacant parking lot on W. High Avenue across from the High Point Depot that has drawn interest as a possible public gathering space.
The drawings — by High Point architect Peter Freeman — depicted an all-purpose site that could accommodate public events, artists and craftsmen.
“The idea is to create an incubation space for young people so we can entice them to come to the area when they decide where they’re going to live after university, and have an exciting place with night life and an arts district,” said City Project board Chairman Richard Wood. “We’re trying to put the infrastructure in place to make it a safe space. Pottery, art work, craft beer — there are all sorts of things folks may want to show and sell.”
The site would need a lot of work to make it suitable for just about any use. Currently, there are no plans to do anything with it. It’s one of several ideas The City Project is working on in advance of the Duany team’s master plan, which will lay out recommendations for revitalizing Uptowne, the High Point University area and the furniture market district.
“The idea is to really do this at a high level and engage students from the design schools and universities to come in and do competitions,” Wood said of the proposals for the pit.
He said the organization also is planning to solicit proposals from firms that could study the concept of “dieting” a portion of N. Main Street to one lane of traffic in each direction between Montlieu and Farriss avenues.
“It’s going to be a long study. We don’t know how quickly that will happen. The funds are available to bury the power lines and extend the sidewalks a little bit,” he said.
The city has not committed to doing anything with the road dieting idea, but some leaders expressed support for the general concept.
“If you’re going to generate that traffic we’d like to see in Uptowne or even downtown, for that matter, I suggest we look at the road dieting before you try to bring in all these businesses and then say, ‘We’re going to tear up the road,’” said Mayor Bernita Sims. “My suggestion would be, let’s really look at that road-dieting piece and how that would happen.”
Wood said another priority is to develop a master plan for landscaping the area in front of the High Point Neal F. Austin Public Library into a public gathering place.
Wood said the High Point Regional Association of Realtors has contributed $15,000 to commission a study of the concept and that the city may be asked to allocate $4,000.

Article source: http://www.hpe.com/news/x915047743/Ignite-High-Point-focuses-on-next-steps

Three finalists chosen to present plans for revitalized Nicollet Mall



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    All of the renderings for a retooled Niciollet Mall, including this one from New York’s James Corner, feature more plantings.

    Photo: Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations,

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    On summer days, Nicollet Mall might seem like a study in urban vibrancy, with diners gathering at sidewalk cafes, farmers selling the spoils of the earth and harried office workers scurrying about.

    But Minneapolis’ commercial spine has aged considerably since its last face-lift nearly a quarter-century ago, with cracked and leaky sidewalks, dated lighting fixtures, occasional barren blocks, and commuter-unfriendly bus shelters. To remedy the mall’s physical ills and craft a broad strategy for the boulevard — from Grant Street to Washington Av. — the city sponsored an architectural design competition, and preliminary results are in.

    Twenty-one design teams submitted proposals, and three emerged as finalists whose proposals will be presented to the public at 5 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Guthrie Theater. The Minneapolis City Council ultimately will make the choice, triggering a dialogue between the winning team and the public.

    “We not only have to fix Nicollet Mall’s structure, we have to reassert Nicollet Mall as a great American Main Street,” Mayor R.T. Rybak said last week.

    A pressing question is who will pay for the project, which has a price tag of $30 million to $40 million. The city envisions a $20 million contribution through a state bonding bill, with private businesses ponying up the rest through a still-undefined assessment fee. Two Fortune 500 companies headquartered on the mall, Target Corp. and U.S. Bank, declined to comment on the rehab or couldn’t be reached regarding the project.

    But Rybak points out that local businesses came to the city with concerns about the mall’s deteriorating state, and the Downtown Council is a partner on the design competition and has championed the overhaul in its 2025 Plan, a blueprint for the city core.

    Rybak admitted that the ideas and images generated in the contest will help champion his cause at the Capitol. The renderings do provide an interesting, if preliminary, peek at ideas for the 12-block strip. All appear to embrace more trees and landscaping, as well as additional pockets of pedestrian seating.

    “You have a beautiful street that is beautifully framed at the city’s center,” said Renée Daoust, of Montreal-based Daoust Lestage, one of the finalists. “But it’s interesting, if you look at an aerial photograph of Minneapolis’ downtown, it’s devoid of trees, except for the Mississippi River and Loring Park. You really need to optimize the landscape.”

    Pedigreed firms

    All three finalists, including James Corner Field Operations of New York and Tom Leader Studio of Berkeley, Calif., have international reputations, and some have partnered with local firms as sub-consultants. Each will receive a $30,000 stipend from the city to complete the designs.

    British-born James Corner, for example, has won wide acclaim for his firm’s redesign of the High Line public park in Manhattan, which was built on an elevated rail-line bed. His firm is slated to tackle a renovation of Chicago’s Navy Pier.

    Leader’s firm was involved in the design of the $175 million RiverFirst development along the Mississippi River, north of downtown. “That’s how we got to know the area, and then we opened an office [in Minneapolis],” Leader said. “When we heard about the mall project, we thought it would be a great way to link the river and downtown together into an integrated system of spaces that are both naturalized and very urban.”

    Leader said his firm’s design of a major pedestrian corridor at Stanford University’s Medical School is similar to the Nicollet Mall project. “It really is the lifeblood of the campus there,” he said.

    Nicollet Mall is architecturally significant in its own right. Although it has served as the city’s retail thoroughfare since the 1880s, the pedestrian-transit mall concept came about as downtowns withered in the 1960s’ suburban shopping-mall boom, a trend pioneered by Edina’s Southdale.

    Influential landscape architect Lawrence Halprin in 1962 designed Nicollet’s signature serpentine curve, although he also added fountains, street furniture, landscaping, public art and heated sidewalks (later abandoned).

    No facade changes — yet

    The planned overhaul will not include any of the business facades lining the mall, which range from architecturally significant (Philip Johnson’s IDS Center), to early 20th-century (the Macy’s department store), to bunkerlike (City Center). Nor will it involve Peavey Plaza, which is slated for a separate face-lift.



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    HOAs Lose Ground in Blocking Drought-Resistant Landscaping – NBC 5 Dallas

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    Texas homeowners wanting to add some drought-resistant landscaping to their property will now face less resistance from their homeowners associations.

    Senate Bill 198, which covers the “protection of drought-resistant landscaping and water-conserving natural turf,” is now in effect. It restricts an HOA from enforcing rules that “would prohibit or restrict a homeowner” from using native plants or other landscaping requiring less water.

    However, HOAs may still require a homeowner to obtain pre-approval for aesthetic reasons.

    In Plano, Judy Hawthorne and her husband do not live in an HOA neighborhood and have slowly begun incorporating drought-resistant plants into their rose garden.

    “We started growing roses in 1989, but we have tried to cut back on that,” she said. “We’ll fill this bed with more drought tolerant plants.”

    As some of their plants die off due to age or the drought, the Hawthornes are turning to plants that require more sun and less water. That includes fountain grass, a native plant they only water once per week.

    The changes in their watering schedule have reduced their water bill by enough that they have noticed a difference in their usage between August 2012 and this year. Hawthorne calls it “a start.”

    While the new law can require a homeowner to seek authorization, it also states the HOA’s approval may not be “unreasonably denied or withheld.”

    The law also applies to water-saving devices such as rain-barrel harvesting systems.

    Article source: http://www.nbcdfw.com/weather/stories/HOAs-Losing-Ground-in-Blocking-Drought-Resistant-Landscaping-222585971.html

    CSUN al-Gardening series educates community about the importance of animal …

    The CSUN Botanic Garden hosted an al-Gardening workshop last Saturday morning.

    The workshop was about converting a garden into an Audubon Habitat and was conducted in Chaparral Hall by Alan Pollack, chair of the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society.

    Pollack introduced different ways to convert gardens into a wildlife habitat for plants and animals. He explained the importance of preserving wildlife in gardens, conserving water and providing shelter to animals.

    “Our wildlife is important because life on our planet depends upon our biodiversity,” Pollack said. “We need all the wild animals and the wild plants that live in our planet in order for humans to survive.”

    Brenda Kanno, Botanic Garden manager, said that more than half of the 120 attendees came from CSUN’s surrounding communities.

    Kanno said she feels good because these events are helping CSUN be a good neighbor.

    Lynn Ruger, a resident in Woodland Hills, has been coming with her husband to the al-Gardening classes since 2006.

    “They are really great and we are grateful to CSUN for being supportive of this,” said Ruger. “We have learned a lot.”

    CSUN staff that attended the workshop said they were pleased that the Botanic Garden continues providing this important information for them.

    Susan Mueller, history department administrative support specialist, said she wants to “reduce her footprint,” meaning she wants to reduce her demand on the Earth’s ecosystem, by recycling and composting fruits and vegetables. She is using native plants now to help her achieve her goal.

    Louise Adams, testing center administrative support staff, said she has also joined the movement to protect wildlife in gardens. She has already removed her lawn at home to bring in more native plants.

    Workshop facilitator Pollack offered to personally help some of the attendees with their home gardens, and provided them with his business card.

    “I hope to plant seeds in people’s brains that will encourage them to think about what kind of garden they have and [how] to make it wildlife friendly,” Pollack said.

    He also added that a number of colleges are becoming more wildlife-friendly and have vastly improved in their landscaping.

    Kanno said that the drought-tolerant landscaping approach has already started at CSUN.

    “The campus recognizes the need to reduce water usage when they can, [while] still having something attractive to look at.”

    These al-Gardening series have taken place the past 8 years and according to Kanno they will continue in the future.

    The next workshop will be held in January 2014. The main topic will be about rose pruning.

    Article source: http://sundial.csun.edu/2013/09/csun-al-gardening-series-educates-community-about-the-importance-of-animal-and-plant-wildlife/

    BC a hotbed of gardening

    Where do graduates of horticultural colleges find work in the gardening world, especially in a tight job market like today’s?

    Well, municipal parks departments are still one of the biggest employers of professional-trained horticulturalists.

    Arborists are always needed to prune and care for street trees, and city parks and boulevards still have to planted and maintained throughout the year.

    Golf courses are another major employer of graduates with turf-management skills and nowadays many courses pride themselves on having flower and shrub borders that look attractive year round.

    Garden centres are increasingly focused on hiring staff with plant knowledge and gardening expertise, as well as excellent marketing and communication skills.

    The GardenWorks chain, with a total of six stores — two in Burnaby, one in North Vancouver and three in the Victoria area — is one of the biggest garden retail employers.

    The Nurseryland chain is a buying group comprising 80 independent garden centres across Canada, 40 of which are members and 40 are associate members that participate in the buying process in order to keep prices down.

    Other popular garden centres that have achieved an instantly recognizable brand include the Art Knapps and David Hunter chains, and there are numerous others, such as Dykof’s in North Vancouver, Amsterdam Greenhouses in Pitt Meadows and Triple Tree in Maple Ridge, that have been serving gardeners for years and have many professionally trained people working for them.

    Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Revy also have large garden centres.

    B.C.’s top wholesale nurseries — responsible for growing all the plants the gardening public are looking for — are scattered all over the province, but there is a concentration of them in the Fraser Valley.

    In Abbotsford, there’s Valleybrook Gardens, one of Canada’s biggest perennial growers, as well as the long-established Kato’s Nursery and Van Belle Nursery, which has introduced an innovative Bloomin’ Easy marketing program featuring foolproof shrubs.

    In Langley, key nurseries include Dutch bulb suppliers and plant growers Van Noort; Clearview Horticulture, the biggest clematis nursery in Western Canada; Devry Greenhouses, which specializes in growing bedding plants; and Darvonda, well known for the flower crops it produces for Costco, such as poinsettia and cushion chrysanthemums.

    Burnaby Lake Greenhouse, of Surrey, is one of the biggest operations with more than 1.8 million square feet of growing capacity and is one of the top suppliers of cactus, succulents and houseplants for florists.

    In Maple Ridge, Rainbow Nursery specializes in container-grown roses, spirea, hydrangeas and potentilla.

    In the Okanagan, Bylands Nursery in Kelowna has set industry standards with its growing of hardy shrubs and trees and has a well-established track record for growing and marketing top-notch plants.

    There are many other nurseries employing greenhouse horticulturists, trained to handle propagation, pest management and general plant marketing and shipping.

    Article source: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/hotbed+gardening/8884742/story.html

    Agriculture experts speak at landscape symposium


    The Concho Valley Master Gardeners in San Angelo want to extend an invitation to attend their Fall Landscape Symposium, Saturday, Sept. 21. The symposium will be held at the Stephens Central Library Community Room, 3rd floor, 33 W. Beauregard Ave. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the programs begin at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 4:15 p.m.

    There will be three speakers in the morning session:

    Allison Watkins, AgriLife extension horticulturist for Tom Green County, will talk about “EarthKind Landscaping and Wildflowers”. Watkins has been a county extension agent since early 2009. During her time working in extension she has enjoyed focusing on EarthKind landscaping principles, with a special emphasis on water conservation. In 2012 she earned the Early Career Award from the Texas County Agriculture Agent’s Association, and in 2013 she received the Superior Service Award from Texas AM AgriLife Extension Service as part of the EarthKind team.

    John Begnaud, AgriLife extension agent, retired, will talk about “Hardscapes” and how to incorporate them into your landscape. Begnaud served as the county extension agent-horticulture for Tom Green County for more than 30 years. He gives educational presentations and horticultural advice. Begnaud is a contributing author to Neil Sperry’s Gardens magazine, teaches rangeland soil science at Angelo State University and has earned many awards including the Superior Service and emeritus status with the Texas AM AgriLife Extension Service. He has earned lifetime member status for several organizations including the Texas Pecan Grower’s Association.

    Dr. William Welch, professor and landscape horticulturist for Texas AM, will talk about “Innovative Choices for West Texas Landscapes”. Welch writes about garden history and has several books that have been popular references, including Perennial Garden Color, Antique Roses for the South, The Bountiful Flower Garden and The Southern Heirloom Garden. Welch has been recognized by the Southern Garden History Society, the American Horticulture Society and the Garden Club of American for his work.

    Following lunch: Alan King, landscape architect, will talk about “Exceptional Design in Drought Conditions”. King is a registered landscape architect. Some highlights of his work include the landscape designs for the 2005 HGTV Dream Home in Tyler; the television show episode of “Extreme Home Makeover” located in Washington County; and the Southern Living Idea House 2006 in Bryan. As a designer he understands the level of detail required to produce a finished product with minimal build cycle and design changes. In collaboration with other design staff, he investigates how modern methodology and historical precedence interact, to design systems that take full advantage of available opportunities.

    The cost is $20 per person or $30 per person and includes refreshments and lunch.

    Call 325-659-6522 to register. RSVP by Wednesday, Sept. 18, to assure seating and handout materials. No child care will be provided.

    Article source: http://www.gosanangelo.com/news/2013/sep/08/agriculture-experts-speak-at-landscape-symposium/

    Experts share tips for mastering coastal gardens

    Julie Swank

    Julie Swank

    Julie Swank, gardening teacher at La Honda Elementary School, shows off the hidden corners of the school’s productive garden.




    Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 10:34 am


    Experts share tips for mastering coastal gardens

    By Clay Lambert [ clay@hmbreview.com ]

    Half Moon Bay Review

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    0 comments

    Like the garden itself, the gardening program at La Honda Elementary School needs attention in order to grow. That is why a steady trickle of parents, master gardeners and local residents turned out Saturday for the first of what may be many workshops in the school’s productive garden.

    The event was organized by school officials and master gardeners who earned their titles through a 13-week course provided by the University of California Cooperative Extension Service. Kelly Greenwood, whose daughter Helen attends the school, is a master gardener and landscape designer. Janice Moody is a master gardener as well; her kids graduated from La Honda Elementary School years ago. Both have deep roots in the school’s garden.

    Saturday’s topics included soil and plant bed preparation, year-round gardening in the coastal mountains and other tips for local planters. There was also something for the kids to do. The school’s gardening teacher, Julie Swank, worked with young students to create “seed tape” — seeds stuck to strips of newspaper with a sticky cornstarch slurry — that could then be planted in the garden.

    The garden has existed for about 25 years. Originally, school administrators received grants to plant small beds on land adjacent to the classrooms. Today, the project has grown to nearly an acre and Swank incorporates math, science and nutrition lessons into time students spend in the garden. It costs about $20,000 a year and is largely funded by the La Honda Education Foundation.

    “Our goal is to receive enough money to make this self-sufficient, but we haven’t gotten there yet,” said Principal Kristen Lindstrom.

    It isn’t for lack of ideas. On Saturday, she and Swank traded money-making schemes. They have considered renting land to someone interested in growing the peaches that seem to grow nowhere on the coast but at the school. They talk about creating a large pumpkin patch that would funnel money back to the garden. They already sell eggs to parents and sometimes take food to the Pecadero farmers market.

    Saturday’s event was free, but organizers hope to hold future master gardener workshops — and those may be fundraisers.

    “We have lofty ideas,” Lindstrom said.


    on

    Thursday, September 5, 2013 10:34 am.

    Article source: http://www.hmbreview.com/news/experts-share-tips-for-mastering-coastal-gardens/article_73059d5c-1651-11e3-abfe-0019bb2963f4.html

    Gardening Tips

    Sunday Gardening Tips

    updated: Sep 08, 2013, 4:07 PM

    By Lisa Ann Kelly

    I wanted to write to Edhatters and say that, if you plant only three new plants in your garden this
    Spring—-these are the three I recommend highly.

    First: Did you know we can grow blueberries in Santa Barbara now? This is my second crop off one
    plant this Spring/Summer. Look how huge these berries are! You will need two plants, for cross-
    pollination. I recommend the “O’Neal,” which you can get from Knapp Nursery. The berries are larger
    and tastier.

    Second: If you like to see little yellow birds in your garden, then plant a few Cosmos flowers from seed,
    and let the flowers die off—leaving the flower seeds for the Lesser goldfinches to harvest. Goldfinches
    go nuts for Cosmos seeds.

    Third: Plant a few hollyhock flowers. With hollyhocks you will attract those huge black Carpenter bees,
    honeybees, hummingbirds and, as an added plus, the WestCoast painted ladies (butterflies) like to use
    hollyhocks as a host plant (for butterfly caterpillars).

    Gardener’s note:
    Plant blueberries in a 1/2 barrel. Be sure and add peat moss and cottonseed meal (get it at Island Seed
    Feed, in bulk). Yum. Fresh, organic blueberries, warm off the plant. Let the fun begin!

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    Garden tips: Mapping heat can aid plant choices

    While severely cold winters have become less and less common in our region, it is obvious that we still can count on our extremely hot summers. When selecting trees, shrubs or perennial plants for local landscapes, a plant’s ability to withstand the stress of multiple days of high temperatures during the summer should be considered along with a plant’s ability to survive cold winter temperatures.

    The late Dr Marc Cathey, American Horticulture Society (AHS) president emeritus, noted that heat damage is not as obvious as severe cold temperature injury that can kill or damage a plant. Heat damage typically is more of a chronic condition with plants failing over time from accumulated stress that leads to poor growth and attack by insects or disease.

    That’s why in 1997 the American Horticulture Society under the direction of Dr Cathey developed the AHS Heat Zone Map. Similar to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Hardiness Zone Map, the AHS Heat Zone Map is divided into zones. The Heat Zone map has 12 zones based on the average number of days that “zone” experiences with temperatures above 86 degrees. Above the suitable zones, a plant will suffer heat damage.

    Most of Benton and Franklin counties is rated as being in AHS Heat Zone 6 with greater than 45 days and less than 60 days above 86 degrees. However, the area immediately outside the Tri-Cities is rated in AHS Heat Zone 7, with greater than 60 days and less than 90 days above 86 degrees. Thank goodness we aren’t in Zone 1, with less than one heat day, or Zone 12, with greater than 210 days!

    It is important to note that the AHS Heat Zone Map assumes “that adequate water is supplied to the roots of the plant at all times. The accuracy of the zone coding can be substantially distorted by a lack of water, even for a brief period in the life of the plant.” Most plants we place in our area home landscapes are not native to our region and require adequate supplemental watering. Indicating a plant is heat tolerant in our “zone” doesn’t mean that it is drought tolerant.

    Water isn’t the only factor that could skew a plant’s ability to thrive in a particular heat zone. Soil aeration and drainage; exposure to light; air circulation; exposure to radiant heat from mulches, structures and paving; soil fertility; and soil pH all affect a plant’s ability to thrive in a particular heat zone.

    I am seeing more and more trees and shrubs with a USDA Hardiness Zone Map rating and a AHS Heat Zone Map rating in catalogs and on plant labels. When you go plant shopping, look for these ratings to help ensure your plants will have a long and happy life.

    Reminder: Our area is in USDA Hardiness Zones 6B to 7A.

    — Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

    Article source: http://www.bradenton.com/2013/09/06/4702344/garden-tips-mapping-heat-can-aid.html

    Danish chalet garden communities show another model of living with a little …

    Around Copenhagen there are a number of communities where you see a lot of small houses packed together at densities that almost look like an American trailer park. In fact, they are an elaborate form of allotment garden. Amy Damin of SUNY described the concept in a paper, Rural Life in the City: The Chalet Garden in Denmark:

    For many people, an escape to natural surroundings requires long travel, be it to a vacation cottage in the mountains or a house by the shore for a summer of relaxation. For American urbanites who would like to have a summer home, but cannot afford one, there is no middle ground. However, this sort of opportunity is readily available in the allotment gardens of Denmark where nature and leisure come together within the city’s boundary.

    Most of these have many restrictions on use, preventing full time occupation. All have strict rules on height and floor area. On the last night of my visit to cover INDEX: Design to Improve Life, I was invited to dinner at the home of Anne Lubbe in a community that allows full-time accommodation in Haveforeningen Sundbyvester, or The garden community of Sundbyvester.


    Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

    After a fifteen minute bike ride, you enter a wonderland of narrow green paths, barely ten feet wide. Surprisingly, people can drive on these to parking spaces at their homes; there is a 10 Km/hr speed limit.


    © Google Maps

    The density is extremely high as there are no rear yards and minimal side yards; houses are packed together tightly with all the open space in the front yard.


    Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

    Some are full of stuff without a lot of room.


    Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

    A lovely entry.


    Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

    They are not all old, either; Anne’s house appears to be prefab built in about 2011 by EBK Cottage, a company that has a “BYT-TO-NEW concept where we tear the old haveforeningshus down and build you a new meeting the new stricter requirements for permanent habitation.”


    © EBK

    This is not the exact plan of the home I was in, but gives the general idea of the level of amenity: Entry hall with laundry, a single bathroom with shower, 6′ x 8′, bedrooms that are 8′ wide, all totalling 900 square feet; a size and standard that hasn’t been built in a house in North America since Levittown.


    Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

    But despite the small size it was bright, comfortable, modern and open, and could easily accommodate a dinner party of seven.


    Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

    Cathedral ceilings, skylights and open kitchen planning make it feel much larger than it is.


    Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

    The whole thing is sitting on a lot that is probably 40′ wide by 60′ deep, and with the narrow roads they probably pack in 18 units per acre. That’s six times the average density of sprawl in America. But to all the people who say they don’t want to live in multifamily apartment buildings in cities, who say they want a yard for their kids to play in, this demonstrates that there are alternatives like this that actually work well, that promote a closely knit walkable community, that are walkable and cyclable.

    Article source: http://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/danish-chalet-garden-communities-show-another-model-living.html