April 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 12

W E A R E P A R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N

Planting Design at NYC Parks
By Nancy Prince, RLA, ASLA, and Judy Tung, RLA

N

ew York City Department of Parks and Recreation cares for
more than 30,000 acres of parkland throughout the five boroughs of New York City. From small pocket parks and neighborhood playgrounds to large regional parks, beaches, marshes, forests and natural areas, thoughtful planting design has been a key
component of ensuring the city's green spaces are thriving and resilient.

IMAGES COURTESY OF NYC PARKS

The recent redesign of Rainey Park is wholly
contemporary while still considering the
park's historical context.

This approach has become even
more important during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As
more New Yorkers looked to parks
as sanctuaries for physical and
mental well-being, the fiscal crisis
led to a loss of seasonal maintenance and operations staff. By
designing parks to anticipate such
changes and needs, cities can help
people engage with public spaces while supporting the staff who
care for them. Following are design
principles and considerations that
guide our approach to planting:
Bring the joys of the natural
world to all New Yorkers. Seasonal variation and sensory qualities are
primary considerations in plant selection. Texture, sound and fragrance
can change a familiar place from season to season. A mass of daffodils or
catmint, yellow witch hazel, a grove
of cherry trees, the rustle of leaves or
fallen sweetgum balls offer small joys
in an urban environment.
Plant with operational and
maintenance challenges in
mind. The design of our parks must
anticipate maintenance and operations constraints. Replacing trees
and plants post-construction is unlikely and maintaining a complex
plant bed can be challenging. To mitigate these challenges, we plant fewer, but larger, more densely spaced
and resilient plants of the same species. This approach reduces areas
for weeds to establish and facilitates
weeding regardless of skill and experience. Often, an open green park
with an abundant, well-placed canopy and flowering understory trees
can have a bigger impact than fussy

1

2

From small pocket parks to large regional
parks, thoughtful planting design has been a
key component of ensuring New York City's
green spaces are thriving and resilient.

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Parks & Recreation

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April 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of April 2021 - Parks & Recreation

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April 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
April 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
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April 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
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https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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