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Archives for November 18, 2016

From Rain to Garden

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Yeti plans flagship store on South Congress

Austin-based Yeti Coolers is finally shedding some light on one of South Austin’s worst-kept secrets: The popular brand’s first flagship store will debut on South Congress Avenue next year.

The Yeti Flagship project, which has been in the works for about a year, will open at South Congress Avenue and Barton Springs Road in the first half of 2017 as part of the South Central Waterfront Plan.

While Yeti is not sharing all of its plans for the space at 220 S. Congress Ave., the company says the store will also be a place for the community to gather for various events, such as concerts and film screenings.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the South Central Waterfront revitalization project, and to bring this historic building back to life,” said Corey Maynard, Yeti vice president for marketing. “The Yeti Flagship will be a destination for locals and tourists to celebrate our collective passion for the wild, and our roots here in Austin.”

The retail space is one of many projects for the fast-growing premium cooler and drinkware company.

+Yeti plans flagship store on South Congress photo

This rendering illustrates what Yeti could have in the works for its first flagship store.Credit: EPA/CMG Landscape Architects

In July, the company filed documents for an initial public offering of stock. And in March, Yeti announced plans for a new 175,000-square-foot headquarters in Southwest Austin. The campus at Lantana Ridge off Southwest Parkway, which will include two 87,500-square-foot buildings with amenities including an archery range, sports courts, barbecue pits, a rooftop terrace and a jogging trail, is to be completed by summer 2017. The company had more than 300 employees as of early this year.

Yeti Flagship would also be milestone for the South Central Waterfront revitalization project, a years-long effort to turn parking lots and older buildings along the south-central shore of Lady Bird Lake into a vibrant destination for locals and visitors.

The Austin City Council recently adopted the plan, which targets nearly 100 acres that runs from South First Street to the property occupied by Joe’s Crab Shack on Riverside Drive.

That plan includes converting a South Congress Avenue right-hand turn lane onto Barton Springs Road into a public green space that extends from the new Yeti Flagship, said city planner Alan Holt. The city could allow Yeti to build a sidewalk extension onto an existing sidewalk and make room for a rain garden, landscaping and public art, Holt said.

“The vision for the area… includes long-term plans to close the right-hand turn lane at Barton Springs Road and Congress Avenue and creating public green space with rain gardens, public art and other amenities,” said Holt, who is overseeing the South Central Waterfront Plan.

Yeti was founded in Austin in 2006 by brothers Roy and Ryan Seiders and quickly became a top brand in the premium cooler category. In recent years, it has expanded into premium drinkware, soft coolers and branded apparel. The company’s revenue has surged dramatically since its founding, jumping to $468.9 million in 2015, according to securities filings.

In 2012, Yeti sold a majority ownership stake to New York private equity firm Cortec Group for an undisclosed amount. The deal allowed the Seiders brothers to cash out some of their equity in the company. The Seiders remain shareholders in the company, according to securities filings.

The company has built a loyal fan base among sporting enthusiasts such as hunters and anglers who have embraced the brand for its range of products, including its heavily insulated, nearly indestructible coolers. And those fans are willing to pay for it: Yeti’s smaller coolers can start at $250 and can reach more than $1,000 depending on size and style.

Yeti is not yet saying which products it will showcase or sell at its flagship store.

“We’re excited to host concerts, screen films,” Maynard said, “and welcome the community to various events at the store once we open next year.”

Staff writer Shonda Novak and Gary Dinges contributed to this report

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Diana Balmori, Landscape Architect With a Blending Philosophy …

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Tips on gardening and a sweet place for waffles [Fulton/Highland …

It’s not too early to be thinking about next year’s garden, especially if you think some more training would be appropriate. Here in Howard County, we are fortunate to have access to the Master Gardener Training program that is offered by the University of Maryland Extension, Howard County Office.

Registration is now open for the next training program that will begin Jan. 25 through March 29. Classes meet from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays and Wednesdays at the extension office in Ellicott City.

Training will cover plant, insect and disease problems along with other topics such as sustainable gardening practices and its environmental impact. Registration is required and the fee for the training is $195. Call the extension office at 410-313-2707 for a registration packet.

The mission of the Master Gardeners, according to the web site (, “is to educate residents about safe, effective and sustainable horticultural practices that build healthy gardens, landscapes and communities.” A willingness to volunteer time is an essential for the master gardener. Don’t be put off if you feel you lack hands-on experience: if you are interested in gardening, want to learn more about it, apply. And, if you have other skills, such as writing, computer knowledge or graphics design, apply. Lack of hands-on experience in the garden should not deter potential applicants. Anyone with a keen interest in gardening — and especially those with other skills and interests, such as writing, graphics and computer knowledge — is encouraged to apply.

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Home heating tips to help save money – News

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Bay Area News Group Archives

This week in the garden, lets focus on some fun things, such as adding color and doing some planting.

  • Pansies are a cheeful annual that, if planted this month, will produce colorful flowers through the winter and into spring.
  • One of the biggest problems gardeners have is watering too much. Pay attention to the weather and avoid watering plants that don’t need it. Many plants and trees are going dormant and don’t need any or much water to sustain them.
  • We love ornamental cabbage and kale for providing lots of color and interest in the garden and in existing planted pots. They prefer full or partial sun.

  • Autumn is the time to divide your perennial plants. If they are bearing smaller flowers and have dead spots at their bases, it’s time. Dig deep and remove the entire root clump. Cut apart the individual clumps and immediately plant them at the same depth. Accomplishing this chore now will establish roots, giving them a good start for the spring.
  • Fall also is a great time to plant trees. Cool nights, mild days and seasonal rains give trees a strong start that will serve them well when growing season begins in spring. It also is a great time for transplanting smaller trees and shrubs, and planting California natives.
  • If you wait until spring to plant wildflowers, you’ll be waiting in vain. Now is the time for planting wildflowers that will bloom in the spring. Scatter seeds in your flower garden when rain is in the forecast, then continue to sow seed whenever rain is expected. This will give you a staggered bloom and near continuous bloom of wildflowers next year.

Contra Costa Master Gardeners and Agromin contributed to this report.

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UNStudio and Heerim design garden-filled luxury development in Seoul

Dutch firm UNStudio and Korean firm Heerim just won a competition to design a lush masterplan for the Eunma Housing Development in Daechi-Dong, Seoul. The project will redevelop and expand an existing residential site in Gangnam and add a new garden landscape that differentiates and connects the neighborhoods of the 32 apartment towers. The architects describe the design as a “resident-driven development” that focuses on community, landscape, and walkability.

Eunma Housing Development by UNStudio and Heerim, Eunma Housing Development in Gangnam, Eunma Housing Development in Seoul, resident driven development, new apartment construction in Seoul, UNStudio masterplan in Korea,

The existing 32-tower site comprises over a million square meters with 4,424 apartments. UNStudio and Heerim will completely redevelop the current homes into a “new and future-oriented eco-design” that adds over 1,500 new apartments by replacing the 35-story towers with 50-story towers. All parking will be tucked underground to make room for a new garden landscape. The buildings are south-oriented and glazed to maximize natural light and cross ventilation.

Eunma Housing Development by UNStudio and Heerim, Eunma Housing Development in Gangnam, Eunma Housing Development in Seoul, resident driven development, new apartment construction in Seoul, UNStudio masterplan in Korea,

Related: UNStudio’s sculptural Fairyland Guorui Villa mimics Beijing’s river landscape

The redevelopment follows a “Live, Work, Play” philosophy and is organized around six themed gardens that break the massive residential area down into neighborhood blocks that inspire education. The six gardens include: the Curiosity Forest, Excitement Garden, Alluring Urban-ground, Contemplation Cloud, Playfulness Park and Longevity Fields. The development is also further divided into four circular themed zone to create a total of 24 neighborhoods, all with access to greenery, lively streets, and easy connections to mass transportation, educational centers, and recreation facilities. Six “iconic towers” clustered at the center of the site house facilities catering to luxury urban living, art, culture, and healthy lifestyles.

+ UNStudio

+ Heerim

Images via UNStudio

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Design Within Reach opens at Westfield Garden State Plaza

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Designing the garden for your future – Herald

It has been said, “When you are 16, you wonder how an old man of 30 manages to drag himself around. When you get to be 30, you feel that 60 is as old as Methuselah. When you get to be 60, you think that the ‘aged’ are those in their 90s.”  

It is best to remember that, with luck, we will all become elderly one day.  Even if you are young, and are just now starting your garden, a little forethought into designing your garden for your golden years may be much-appreciated by your future self.  

The design and future maintenance of tall plantings is important to consider.  Try to keep the mature height to one-story level or below of any plantings that might need to be pruned or hedged.  That way, you will not have to climb a ladder to keep plantings maintained.  I did not plan my garden well in this regard, and I am beginning to realize what a mistake I made. 

Used to be, it was easy for me to jaunt up to the top of a ladder, swinging pruners, electric hedge shears, chainsaw, or any other sharp tool that might cause bodily harm.  Now, however, my hedges and climbing plants are getting trimmed shorter and shorter each year, as I realize that it might not be in my best interest to take on such risk.

Thorny plants are another consideration.  As skin gets thinner and more tender, scratches are more likely to tear the skin, causing scars and possible infection.  I wish I would have thought of that before I planted so many plants with thorns and prickles, such as roses, pyracantha, barberry, hollies, and flowering quince (Chaenomeles).

Curiosities such as the Wingthorn rose (Rosa sericea ptericantha) are interesting to have, but may not be the best choice for someone with skin that easily tears or bleeds.

Weed maintenance is always a consideration, but even more so, as bending over for long periods of time becomes harder on your back. 

If weed removal is a top priority for you, try to plant ground covers that will shade out weed seeds, or keep a deep mulch applied.  Of course, applying mulch is back breaking work, too.  Perhaps failing eyesight will allow you to look past small areas of imperfection.

Pathways also need to be considered. If you find your footing is unstable on a gravel or flagstone pathway, you may want to consider replacing it before you fall.  There is no perfect path material, however.  Footing is sure on concrete, but should you fall, it is hard and unforgiving. A pathway made from a thick layer of mulch will need to be replenished regularly.  Grass is soft, but will need to be mown, and can be slippery when wet.  

Gardens are made for enjoyment. To enjoy your garden for as long as possible, think about  your garden’s design, its plants, pathways, and maintenance, and what each will mean for you in the future.

For more information, call 903-675-6130, e-mail, or visit

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Communities Share Ideas for Surviving Infrastructure Projects

Communities Share Ideas for Surviving Infrastructure Projects


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(Crystal A. Proxmire, Nov. 17, 2016)

Waterford, MI – Sometimes communities put a lot of planning into projects – like parking decks and road improvements – but forget that as these projects start, there are needs of the residents and businesses in the area that are impacted by the work.

That’s why Main Street Oakland County and Oakland County Economic Development and Community Affairs hosted the “Street Smart” Workshop earlier this month at the Executive Offices in Waterford.

Administrators and DDA representatives from throughout Oakland County gathered to talk baby modern natural 02 adabout their previous project woes, and learn from communities that have successfully made infrastructure projects not only tolerable – but actually fun.

Jill Bahm, MSOC Advisory Board Chairperson, led the effort to gather information from communities about their successes and challenges.  “The one thing we took from everybody is to start planning early.  Involve businesses, churches, residents and community groups,” she said.


Making sure concerns are met early in the process is part of good planning.  For example, planners in Clarkston learned early on that historic preservation was a concern when bringing in heavy construction equipment to work on M-15, which is the community’s Main Street.  In order to protect the limestone foundations of the buildings, MDOT used daytrip_jacq-n-dianevibration-free construction methods that meant there was no damage done to the fragile foundations of the historic buildings.

In Birmingham, officials knew parking would be an issue during construction, so they offered free valet for downtown shoppers, with their first two hours of parking free.  Other communities have used parking lots outside of downtown and used shuttles to move workers and shoppers.

Bahm also recommended that when projects come up, to look for ways to combine multiple projects into one effort.  For example, sewer and roadwork can be combined with streetscape improvements so that residents and businesses have something to see and be proud of when the work is over.  An example of this was the W. 9 Mile project in Ferndale, where the DDA and City worked together to have a “How the West was One” theme, showing how improvements would help draw the Downtown Ferndale vibe further west because of garden16_paul-waltonimprovements like flower beds, flashing light crosswalks, and parking bays made of permeable pavement.

In Rochester such work was combined with tree removal and replacement. Large trees that had been obstructing the historic facades were replaced with smaller ones, giving businesses more exposure while maintaining the quaint, walkable feel.

Business owners were encouraged to come up with ideas also. In Farmington one business started a home-delivery program, and Painting with a Twist owner Michelle Lewis made giant signs and used her email list to let customers know they were still open and to use the back entrance.


An important lesson was knowing to allocate money for communication into infrastructure Judy_Palmer30yearsprojects.  Signage is important, as is knowing how to update stakeholders through the process.

Consistent updates are important to stakeholders, as is knowing where they can go for the latest information. Facebook updates can be done on the City page as well as a special page for the project.  Cable channel updates, updates at council meetings and working with local media all help residents and businesses know what is going on, and that concerns are heard.

Communities also learned through experience that the images put out about the development matter.  Renderings should show vibrant colors, completed landscaping, public art and other expected features, and of course happy people enjoying the new space.

Being prepared to listen to naysayers and correct misinformation is also essential.  “You have to pay attention to the resistance and to what it’s trying to tell you, said one of the panelists during the discussion.  Communities talked about keeping the conversation positive, making level_one_ad01sure people are heard respectfully, and that facts are out there without seeming like an argument against the nay-sayers.  Because there are almost always nay-sayers.


“Imagine a celebration of infrastructure,” said Annette Knowles of the Farmington DDA.  She and former Promotions Assistant of the Farmington DDA Dana Walker presented information about the “It’s Happening!” campaign that went along with changes to Grand River Avenue.

The slogan “It’s Happening!” led to the inevitable “What’s happening?” question, opening the door for conversations.  After years of figuring out funding and scope for the project, when they were ready to actually do the work there was a lot of misinformation and old information out there.  So they made a video that explained the project and included a local historian, city DDAnew01officials and business owners.

“It’s Happening!” appeared all over town, including a banner across Grand River, t shirts available at many stores, and on toy hard hats given out at events.

To start off on the right foot with businesses, the DDA gave a packet to businesses that included items with the “It’s Happening!” theme. Other items included Life Savers, rubber bands to remind them to be flexible, band-aids to help with healing, tea to help them relax, candles to remind them there is a light at the end of the tunnel, candy kisses to give them love and affection and a hand-signed note from the DDA Director to let them know they were personally thought of.

Merchants participated in a program where shoppers could buy a reusable “It’s Happening!” bag, and every Tuesday there were sales and giveaways for people that had the bag.

Chazzano03Regular communication – with the theme – was also important.  They did weekly meetings for businesses to give them updates.  They were determined and active in the construction process, not just passively waiting for updates from the construction contractors.  And updates were shared not only at the meetings, but online and through a front-page ad campaign in the local weekly newspaper.  The ads gave updates that were compelling for people to read, and they featured a business each week that was open during construction.

Downtown Ferndale’s “How the West was One” theme used some of the same ideas, but on a much smaller budget. Their focus was on social media and in-person updates with businesses – all with a country-western theme.

Downtown Birmingham also tried to make construction fun, by having a day for families to come out and play in the torn up roadway.  They gave out construction hats, had sidebar012balloonratesconstruction-themed games, and let children explore the big, exciting construction equipment.  Tied into that were sales at surrounding businesses.

Bahm also stressed the importance of celebrating when the project is done.  She suggested having a ribbon-cutting and a party if possible, and making sure business owners and shoppers are included.  Knowles said it helps to have ways to demonstrate and measure success after a project, like increased shoppers to the area, more people enjoying public spaces etc.  Ongoing celebrations of success help soothe the sore spots left by the construction’s impact.  And, she added, communication momentum should continue with businesses even after projects are done.  “Good communication is like laundry, it’s never done,” she said.

To learn more about Main Street Oakland County, visit their website at

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