Monday, August 20, 2012

Parking Lots Made Beautiful

Mercy Hospital Parking Lot
Most people go about their daily activities hardly noticing the ubiquitous parking lot. Yet, the parking lot is a familiar and useful part of modern life. Characterized by black top surfaces, minimal landscaping, and pole lighting, these open spaces dominate many urban landscapes. Since most parking lots are designed to maximize parking space, they lack extensive landscaping and are generally ugly heat islands in summer or frozen wastelands in winter. Parking lots are rarely "designed," and if they are, it's done cheaply and haphazardly. It doesn't take much money to beautify a parking lot, just a willingness to make an eyesore more attractive. 


Here is a wonderful example of an ordinary parking lot made beautiful. It's the Mercy Hospital parking lot in Portland, Maine. Located on the corner of Spring and Winter, this simple and economical design relies exclusively on annuals and grasses massed along the guard rails. The colorful plants not only soften the harsh asphalt pavement, but they attracts birds, bees, and useful insects. The carefully selected plants also compliment the brick sidewalk and brick hospital across the street. Thank you Mercy Hospital for adding a little bit of beauty to Portland!

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