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King County, Washington


Completed 2005

King County Housing Authority


Washington State ASLA Merit Award
PlantAmnesty Plant Friend Award

"Hallelujah! This information has been needed since forever, and here it is in pictures and words, for the maintenance people who need it most. It’s great to see a landscape architect take the lead in proper siting and care of plants. I’m sure it will be copied everywhere."
—Cass Turnbull, Plant Amnesty Founder

On many King County Housing Authority low-income apartment complexes, landscape maintenance crews take the all too common approach of extensive shrub shearing, raking (and stripping of) topsoil, providing expensive short-lived annual displays and heavy reliance on chemicals. Ironically, these intensive and expensive practices create of deteriorating health and beauty. We created a series of guidebooks with lots of pictures in a “do this, not this” format for apartment managers and non-english speaking landscape crews. The guidebooks are individualized to each of the 11 apartment complexes and provide specific plans and plant lists as well as general guidelines. The guidelines focus on building up plant and soil health, correct pruning, and appropriate plant selection and placement for lush, healthy landscapes and better, more attractive human environments.