Digging Dirt: Soils Design and Diagnosis from the Mississippi to the Bay - 1.25 PDH (LA CES/HSW)

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Soils are foundational to landscape architecture, and meaningful collaborations with soils scientists are instrumental in delivering high-quality parks and public spaces-- yet there's rarely a one-size-fits-all approach. In this panel, hear from a landscape architect and two leading soils scientists on innovative approaches to soils design in the Bay Area and Memphis.

Learning objectives:

  • Develop an understanding of how site conditions suggest specific responses in soil design, through the lens of two case study projects.
  • Articulate how soils profile details and specifications are tailored to meet horticultural, drainage, and loading criteria for a given project.
  • Compare and contrast site soils strategies relative to bulk import of materials vs. amending existing soils in place, examining cost and quality control considerations.
  • Identify pitfalls in soils design and installation, providing an overview of field tests we can perform, in situ site investigations, and what they tell us about the health of soils.

John Donnelly, ASLA

Technical Principal

Scape Landscape Architecture DPC

John Donnelly, RLA, is Technical Principal at SCAPE. He leads the management, documentation and construction of the studio’s major built work projects across the U.S. In more than 17 years of professional practice, John’s work has included the design, documentation and construction of award-winning urban parks; cultural and educational campuses; mixed-use developments master plans; and recreational trails.

As the lead for SCAPE’s Technical Team, he works across the practice to ensure design and technical excellence through an integrated and collaborative process of quality assurance, quality control and peer review. Ensuring all projects are delivered with a sound technical underpinning.

John Swallow, Affil. ASLA

President, Director of Environmental Sciences

Pine & Swallow Environmental

Dr. Swallow is a Principle and founder of Pine & Swallow Environmental. His professional practice spans four decades and has emphasized service in areas of soil science, analysis of environmental conditions for plant growth, and site rehabilitation. His projects range from initial site investigations to detailed design of soil-water-horticultural systems, construction specifications and construction observation. He has served on the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) Technical Core and Soils Committees for many years. His worldwide built-projects range from new embassies in war zones to campus projects to farms on remote islands to mega parks on urban islands and lots in between.

Ted Hartsig, CPSS, NA

Senior Soil Scientist

Olsson, Inc.

Ted is a professional soil scientist with expertise in natural resources, urban environments, and ecosystem restoration. He is a leader in soil and plant management strategies for both urban and rural landscape projects. Ted's experience includes collaborating with Landscape Architects for the design of the George W. Bush Library in Dallas, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Tulsa’s Gathering Place Park, Memorial Park in Houston, and Tom Lee Park in Memphis among others. Ted has developed and conducted workshops for the design and construction of stormwater BMPs, native landscapes, and soil restoration and management.


Video: Digging Dirt
Open to view video.
Open to view video.
12 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  10/12 points to pass
12 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  10/12 points to pass Successful completion of this quiz is required to earn your PDH for this webinar.
8 Questions
1.25 PDH credits  |  Certificate available
1.25 PDH credits  |  Certificate available
Session Guide
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource.