Berczy Park Revitalization | ?m | ?s

Northern Light

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fixer.jpg



If you look at this picture, you can see three different types of damage to the grass, based on the colouration, and the amount of exposed soil.

The far right hand side looks like a desire line, meaning compaction from walkers.

The low-area, around the sculpture is either dog urine (most likely) or flooding, the colouration on the sculpture gives this away. Given dog's love for using vertical objects as a territory mark, I think we
have a culprit. This also makes sense as flooding in the area would discourage foot traffic and therefore you wouldn't see that kind of splashing on the sculpture.

The area to the left looks parched, the way the land slopes and the pattern of the yellow-ness does not seem consistent w/heavy food traffic, nor is it likely to be a communal pissoir for dogs.
If the irrigation system is working properly, then there is almost certainly an issue w/drainage.

Nutrient deficiency this early in the life of the sod, if it went down on good soil is exceedingly unlikely.

I can't say any of the above w/100% certainty, but I'm fairly confident in that assessment, absent further evidence.
 
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Northern Light

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Solutions:

Desire line: either physically obstruct the traffic w/fences, large shrubs/rocks, or create a proper path following the desired line of travel.

Dog urine: Dogs will be dogs and that sculpture is an invitation. Either remove the sculpture, or surround it with dog urine tolerant shrubs.

The zone that looks parched needs to have the irrigation examined, failing that, its drainage. Regardless, its at the point of requiring re-sodding, I think overseeding is a poor choice here.

This might be a good location for some ornamental grasses that are drought-tolerant, particularly on the curving slope, it would also form a nice delineation between the spaces.
 

Youranthony1

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The low-area, around the sculpture is either dog urine (most likely) or flooding, the colouration on the sculpture gives this away. Given dog's love for using vertical objects as a territory mark, I think we
have a culprit. This also makes sense as flooding in the area would discourage foot traffic and therefore you wouldn't see that kind of splashing on the sculpture.

This area is normally flooded. I would be surprised if the current condition is due to urine.
 

Northern Light

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This area is normally flooded. I would be surprised if the current condition is due to urine.

That being the case, Kentucky Blue Grass (standard sod species) will not survive there.

Short of revisiting elevations, the choice would be to put in a flood-tolerant ground cover, or shrubs.

Though, the oxidation on the sculpture is quite high for just flooding; but certainly possible.
 

isaidso

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The pocket parks I grew up with always had flower beds and/or a 4-6 inch cast iron fence on the edge of the paths. It discouraged people from walking on the grass and dogs were definitely not allowed on the grass. In instances when common sense didn't prevail they put up signs saying 'Do Not Walk On Grass'. The condo I live in has signs forbidding dogs on the grass and people abide by that regulation.

Pocket parks are too small for foot traffic/pets; they will not hold up to that much use. I realize there's an homage to dogs at this park but it's not a dog park. This was built for humans. Toronto has dog parks. They're fenced in and don't have grass.
 
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Tuscani01

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I really hope that large tree pulls through and survives the season. It would be a shame to lose it.
 

pman

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Why not just replace the grass with high quality pavement - please, get rid of the berms at the same time - and accept this space as an urban plaza?
 

LUVIT!

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Why not just replace the grass with high quality pavement - please, get rid of the berms at the same time - and accept this space as an urban plaza?

I agree. The big city parkettes (which this is) I've seen all have a low fence to keep people and animals off the lawn. In a high volume pedestrian/ dog park lawn does not work. My last comment on this. If this isn't obvious...well what can I say.
 

isaidso

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I really like having grass down there. Can we not make the berms for looking at only? They do that in countless other cities so I'm not sure why we can't do the same. I don't agree with the sentiment 'if we can't have grass to walk on we can't have grass at all.'
 

Northern Light

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I really like having grass down there. Can we not make the berms for looking at only? They do that in countless other cities so I'm not sure why we can't do the same. I don't agree with the sentiment 'if we can't have grass to walk on we can't have grass at all.'

A mixture of rocks, benches, fences, flowers, and other planting displays can all have the effect of substantially reducing pedestrian traffic over a sodded area.

Alternate plantings can be borders, but could also be the ridge line of the berm people seem to like walking on, or creating an obstacle in a desire line.

Lots of choices.
 

pman

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I really like having grass down there. Can we not make the berms for looking at only? They do that in countless other cities so I'm not sure why we can't do the same. I don't agree with the sentiment 'if we can't have grass to walk on we can't have grass at all.'
I’d suggest the sentiment is actually that if we’re demonstrably incapable of getting something right, then we should stop the cycle of trying and failing. Better to have a paved plaza that looks decent than dead grass. And let’s face it, do you really think that a sign saying please keep off the grass will actually stop people from walking themselves and their dogs on it? Short of a permanent bylaw officer or a ten-foot razor wire fence, that space will be used intensively. We have to admit that maintenance isn’t Toronto’s strong suit, to say the least, and factor incompetence into all of our public realm plans. Anyway, we’re a city not a suburb, so an urban square wouldn’t be out of place.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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I’d suggest the sentiment is actually that if we’re demonstrably incapable of getting something right, then we should stop the cycle of trying and failing. Better to have a paved plaza that looks decent than dead grass. And let’s face it, do you really think that a sign saying please keep off the grass will actually stop people from walking themselves and their dogs on it? Short of a permanent bylaw officer or a ten-foot razor wire fence, that space will be used intensively. We have to admit that maintenance isn’t Toronto’s strong suit, to say the least, and factor incompetence into all of our public realm plans. Anyway, we’re a city not a suburb, so an urban square wouldn’t be out of place.

Or use astroturf at select portions of the park.

AoD
 

isaidso

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I’d suggest the sentiment is actually that if we’re demonstrably incapable of getting something right, then we should stop the cycle of trying and failing. Better to have a paved plaza that looks decent than dead grass. And let’s face it, do you really think that a sign saying please keep off the grass will actually stop people from walking themselves and their dogs on it? Short of a permanent bylaw officer or a ten-foot razor wire fence, that space will be used intensively. We have to admit that maintenance isn’t Toronto’s strong suit, to say the least, and factor incompetence into all of our public realm plans. Anyway, we’re a city not a suburb, so an urban square wouldn’t be out of place.

A sign alone won't work. It has to be in conjunction with a flower bed/short shrubbery and short fence along the perimeter. There will always be some selfish inconsiderate people who will just hop over all of that but I do think it will keep the majority of people/dogs off it. This is fixable.

A paved square would not look out of place but green space is important; especially in an area that will see the resident population double. Besides cities do install grass in pocket parks all the time.
 

allabootmatt

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The downtown is enough of a heat island. Past incompetence is a poor reason to replace grass with concrete. There are design solutions, as have been expressed in some detail in recent posts in this thread, and potential for soft landscaping other than grass.

FWIW, in New York these sorts of places tend to have grass largely fenced off, eg in Madison Square Park, with only limited sections available for dog-walking/sunbathing etc. And they look amazing. Though much of that is down to privately-sponsored maintenance by the local conservancies, BIDs and so on, which are pretty obsessive about keeping things maintained.
 

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