UPDATE(d) Newsletter

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Don't Grow Crazy, Sustainability

Join PlantRight’s Campaign to Stop California’s Next Plant Invasion

Join PlantRight’s Campaign to Stop California’s Next Plant Invasion

Deadline approaching! If you’ve been meaning to help, now is the time.

What if you could protect more of what you love about California – its breathtaking landscapes, habitat and wildlife – right now? You can! Support our effort to prevent a new invasive plant, Mexican feathergrass, from invading California’s wild lands. … See the whole story

And find out what the California Master Gardener Program has to say about this “wildly popular” plant:

Mexican Feather Grass: Invasive Beauty can be Deceiving

Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella or Stipa tenuissima) is a wildly popular ornamental grass used by home gardeners and landscape design professionals. Mexican Feather Grass is loved for its graceful, delicate and fine texture – it [...]

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ASLA News, Design

Court Rules Designers Owe Duty of Care to Future Homeowners

On July 3, the Supreme Court of California published its decision in Beacon Residential Community Assn. v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.  In short, the court concluded that prime architects designing residential buildings owe a duty of care to future homeowners even though they do not actually build the projects themselves or exercise ultimate control over their construction.
Of importance, Beacon involved a demurrer at the trial court level meaning that, on appeal, the Supreme Court was required to accept the facts pled in the plaintiff’s amended complaint as true.  This included the allegation that the Beacon project’s designers provided their services “knowing that the finished construction would be sold as condominiums.”  It also was claimed that the defendants played an active role throughout the construction [...]

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ADA and Inclusive Design, Design

ADA Section 602 Drinking Fountains, annotated

- by Chiye Azuma

An alcove for the drinking fountain. The intentions were good.



602.2 Clear Floor Space. Units shall have a clear floor or ground space complying with 305 positioned for a forward approach and centered on the unit. Knee and toe clearance complying with 306 shall be provided.


A nice amenity for passersby, but not entirely approachable.


EXCEPTION: A parallel approach complying with 305 shall be permitted at units for children’s use where the spout is 30 inches (760 mm) maximum above the finish floor or ground and is 3 1/2 inches (90 mm) maximum from the front edge of the unit, including bumpers. (photo at right is NOT an “Exception”)




602.5 Spout Location. The spout shall be located [...]

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Columns, Don't Grow Crazy, Sustainability

Growing Crazy: An Intro to Invasive Plants

- by Greg Richardson

Update(d) is greatly pleased to launch a new ASLA-NCC column: “Don’t Grow Crazy”. The series will be produced in partnership with PlantRight, a nonprofit project that works with horticulturalists throughout California to promote the use of noninvasive plants. Articles will focus on the intersection of invasive plants and horticulture to keep our community ahead of relevant sustainable landscaping trends.

But first… What does “invasive” mean to you?
Let’s make sure we’re all talking about the same thing. While pesky weeds grow in our landscapes (against our best intentions), this column will focus on the plants we intentionally select that become damaging weeds in natural areas.

Are all non-native plants invasive? Of course not. Here are 3 ways to help you [...]

APBP monthly webinar: Calming Arterial Streets for Safer Walking and Cycling

Alameda CTC will host the next Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) monthly webinar:

Date:                     Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Time:                     12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Location:             Alameda CTC offices, 1111 Broadway, Suite 800, Oakland, CA 94607


The topic is Calming Arterial Streets for Safer Walking and Cycling, and more information is available on the Alameda CTC website. Alameda CTC pays the APBP registration fee of $85, so attendance is free and open to all. Feel free to bring a bag lunch and forward this email to anyone who may be interested in attending or hosting an APBP webinar at their own location.


APBP has applied to the AICP for one Certification Maintenance credit for this webinar. A certificate of attendance for [...]

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32 Outstanding Landscape Architects Selected for 2014 ASLA Council of Fellows

Washington, D.C., June 17, 2014 – The American Society of Landscape Architects has elevated 32 members to the ASLA Council of Fellows for 2014. Fellowship is among the highest honors the ASLA bestows on members and recognizes the contributions of these individuals to their profession and society at large based on their works, leadership and management, knowledge, and service. The 2014 class of new Fellows will be recognized at the 2014 ASLA Annual Meeting & Expo, November 21-24, in Denver.


The designation of Fellow is conferred on individuals in recognition of exceptional accomplishments over a sustained period of time. Individuals considered for this distinction must be full members of ASLA in good standing for at least ten years and must be [...]

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American Society of Landscape Architects Announces 2014 Honors

Washington, D.C., June 9, 2014 – The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) today announced its 2014 Honors recipients. Selected by ASLA’s Board of Trustees, the Honors represent the highest awards ASLA presents each year. The honors will be presented at the President’s Dinner on November 24, held during the 2014 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO, November 15-18, in Denver. The dinner is sponsored by Bartlett Tree Experts.


2014 Honors


ASLA Medal: Richard Bell, FASLA


Richard Bell, FASLA, will receive the ASLA Medal, the Society’s highest award for a landscape architect. Through his practice, Bell expanded the reach of modernism in landscape architecture to the Southeast, and he brought an entire generation of young people into practice. A founder of Bell [...]

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CC/ASLA in support of AB 2723

- by Chiye Azuma

AB 2723 (Medina) proposes to modify the state rulemaking process to require state agencies to consider the effect of major regulations on sole proprietorships and other small businesses when assessing the economic impact of a proposed major regulation on new business formation or elimination of existing businesses.

The California Council of ASLA has joined the AIA California Council, the Associated Builders and Contractors of California,  California Construction and Industrial Materials Association, and the California Chamber of Commerce, and many other industry groups to express its support of this legislation.  The current (as of 5/1/14)  text of AB 2723 can be found here.

Of particular interest to landscape architecture offices may be the following passage in the bill that [...]

Get Ahead or Get Parched: Six Ways to Survive the Drought

Come attend a workshop for landscape irrigation managers and learn how to keep your landscape and reduce water use by improving water management and system efficiency. The workshop is June 25, 2014 at The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive in Walnut Creek. A workshop in English will occur from 7:30 am to 11:30 am y en español 12:00 pm a 3:30 pm.

Cost is $20 and includes a CEU certificate for IA and PLANET CEUs). For more information and to register online see

Please note that the workshop is being given in Walnut Creek June 25 and in Fresno June 27.

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Annual Meeting and Professional Awards 2014

SPUR provided the venue for the 2014 ASLA/NCC’s Annual Meeting and Professional Awards Presentation on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Photographs and a scent exhibit provided the backdrop for enjoying delicious food and drink, and complemented networking and socializing with colleagues prior to and after the awards presentation; it was a lovely evening.

click image for more photos from the evening

Amy Cupples-Rubiano, ASLA/NCC President, gave an overview of the Chapter’s news and events, which are summarized here. The Chapter continues to advocate for policy issues on national and state levels, to work to raise our professional profile, and to correct the perception of landscape architecture.

Our Chapter is having a great year with nearly 600 members. We are continuing to [...]