Why is Biodiversity so Important to Orterra?

If you have been following us for a while you might have seen us harp on a bit about biodiversity. It is one of our core company values. Our value states that “We promote, campaign and defend our environment and improve, rehabilitate and regenerate the biodiversity and the environment of our projects.” The 22nd of May is Biodiversity Day we love this time of year as it is a great way for us to really celebrate our environment. It is a time for us in the office to really think about what biodiversity means to us and our work. How […]

What to Think about When Building on a Sloping Block

When building on a sloping block, sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a very steep slope there are issues that come up in how your site will work and function. We have had several projects lately that we have discussed these same issues with our clients so we thought we would talk about them in this week’s blog post. These will hopefully help you if you are building on a slope. 1) Access You need to consider where a building is positioned on your site this is both vertically at what height the building is set at and also […]

No One Wants Rubbish Bins at their Front Door

Today I am going to talk to you about rubbish bins, and rubbish collection. Rubbish is not the most sophisticated topic for a blog, however, it is probably one of the most talked-about topics during projects. This applies to schools, residential, subdivisions, or commercial. How to deal with rubbish and recycling can make or break the project. There is nothing worse for us than going to a new client’s house after they have designed their dream home and asking, have you thought about where you would like to put the rubbish bins? The look of shock on their faces and […]

Why is Seating so Important in a Design?

One of my favourite all-time design quotes is by a man called William H Whyte. He did a famous study on public spaces back in the 1970s that looked at how people use space. The best quote out of the whole study is “People tend to sit where there are places to sit” Now the beauty of this statement is in the simplicity of the idea. You sit where there are seats. Now you might be thinking well that’s obvious and why are you telling me? When it comes to designing places, public places, parks, schools, your garden. The importance […]

Three Things to Think about when Building Around Trees

Mature trees have so many benefits we have talked about before including shade, habitat, and character to name a few. When you are building or renovating it is important to keep as many trees as possible. Today we are going to talk about three things you need to be aware of when building around trees. 1. Damaging the Trees Roots A tree’s roots are where they get all of the water and nutrients from. They have a network of roots that can extend way beyond the canopy of a tree and not only provide food but support for the healthy […]

What Is Different About Soil In An Urban Environment?

Soil

When we talk about soil in an urban environment they are referred to as urban soil. Or soil that is “ extensively influenced by human activities, found mostly but not only in urban areas.” Source So basically, it is soil that has been disturbed by humans. Which when you think about it are a lot of the soils which we see and walk on day today. Most of us live in an urban environment whether it be a town or city. There is probably very little of the world left that has been untouched by humans in some way. So […]

What Do You Need To Know To Choose Between Turf And Artificial Grass?

Pros and Cons of Artificial Grass

Grass or turf you either love it or hate it. Turf seems to inflict a strong response for some people. Weather is because they hate mowing or love the smell of freshly cut grass in the summer. The traditional lawn has all probably created lasting memories for each of us, good or bad. When it comes to your place and deciding how much grass you want there is now another option to the several varieties of lawn, artificial grass. Below is a summary of what the benefits of each are and why would you choose one over the other? Turf […]

What is Green Infrastructure?

Green Infrastructure it’s becoming quite a popular catchphrase and I have often been asked what does it actually mean? The term green infrastructure started being used sometime in the 1990s. It is not clear when or where it has started to be used. But has become more popular over the last 20 years to try and describe a way to achieve better environmental outcomes. The interesting thing is that there is no definitive definition of green infrastructure. Different sectors have used the term to refer to different outlooks. Sometimes it is used to refer to the tree canopy of an […]

Plants Amazing Impact On The Urban Heat Island Effect

The urban heat island effect is a result of densely populated cities and urban spaces where there are many people, transport, buildings and infrastructure in the same space – without planting producing shade and landscape to counter this effect. With climate change high on people’s agenda, communities around the world are now asking how we can improve the design of our cities so we can reduce the impacts on our climate. If we don’t change our urban areas, it is estimated that the heat island affect will mean our communities are up to 4 degrees Celsius hotter by the end […]

What Is So Important About Soil and Why Should I Care?

This is a question I get asked to explain by most clients. Whether you are an architect, homeowner, town planner, engineer. It can be confusing, and I am not going to lie probably somewhat boring for people who have no interest in soil science and plants. Now I can imagine a lot of you are about to hit the close button on this blog but just hold with me. I want to tell you the one secret that will help you understand why landscape architects, horticulturalist and other plant lovers jump up and down about soil so much. Drum Roll….. […]