Landscaper Overcomes Challenges at Ann Arbor Huron High School

Staff | September 28, 2010

A recently completed landscaping project at Ann Arbor Huron High School involved demolishing five tiers of rotted timber retaining walls and landscaping and reconstructing new poured concrete walls, landscaping and irrigation.

B&L Landscaping, of Oak Park, was the landscaping contractor for the project. Granger Construction Company was the construction management firm, Elite Irrigation, of Rochester Hills, was the irrigation subcontractor, and Beckette & Reader Inc. was the landscaping architect.

The project area was approximately 15,000 square feet. The project involved a very tight timeframe. Construction began with the demolition of the rotted timber retaining walls, vegetation and existing concrete. The new construction began with the highest retaining wall.

"The site was very difficult to work with because of the long narrow shape of the work area. It was further complicated by the extreme grade change from the parking lot elevation up to the top building elevation, which was an approximate 15-foot to 20-foot difference," Kevin Wiljanen, M.C.N., division manager for B&L Landscaping, said.

"We began by excavating for the top wall, then installing the forms for the wall, pouring the wall, removing the forms, backfilling, and waterproofing. After the first wall was built and passed inspection, we repeated the process for the other four walls." The total square face footage of the walls is 7,700 square face feet.

"Another issue that we had to deal with was the fact that the walls were not straight. These walls were curved and had an ever changing top elevation to match grade requirements across the site. This made the custom form work slow and detailed.

"One wall was more difficult to construct than the others, because of the raised panel face it was given by the architect in order to create a more distinct look and at the same time deter prohibited activities like skateboarding. This wall and the subsequent wing walls outside of the existing staircases became a formidable challenge and really consumed a lot of time."

After the walls were constructed and approved, B&L began to install the approved planting mix and irrigation system with Elite Irrigation.

"In order to save time on the irrigation system, the irrigation runs from each tier of wall were pre-built so that when it came time to install, it was a matter of setting a run in place. We proceeded to install the landscape work from top to bottom. We installed a variety of plant types to help break up the gray mass of new concrete wall and add a variety of textures and colors to the landscaped areas."

The plants were supplied by Christensen's Plant Center. The plants included: allegheny serviceberry; eastern redbud; greenlane euonymus; blue chip juniper; little princess spirea; alpine currant; minute wiegela; purple leaf wintercreeper; baltic ivy; stella d'oro daylily; white delight phlox; and dutch master daffodil.


Project: Landscaping at Ann Arbor Huron High School in Ann Arbor

Landscaping contractor: B&L Landscaping, of Oak Park