seattle

Best Urban Gardens in Seattle

Schemata Workshop will be hosting a model-building workshop for youth aged 11-16 on Saturday, March 26, in collaboration with the Seattle Architecture Foundation about the design of urban gardens (more information here).  We'll be exploring the issues we faced while designing the rooftop garden with Seattle Urban Farming Company at our new space and cohousing community. This got our froggers thinking about their favorite urban gardens in Seattle.  Here are some of our staff's well-loved lesser known parks in Seattle we hope you get to visit.  Happy exploring! 


Abigail's Pick:  Seven Hills Park (Capitol Hill)
1514 E Howell St, Seattle, WA 98122

"I feel like Seven Hills Park is a hidden gem, so I almost don’t want to share it, but it’s such a great spot. There’s a little community garden, some public grills and picnic tables, a few trees for shade, and an ample lawn perfect for laying out a blanket and sharing a picnic, readinga book, or just soaking up some late afternoon rays. It’s a little off the beaten path, and with Volunteer Park and Cal Anderson Park nearby, most of the visitors to Seven Hills Park live in the neighborhood, which makes for a cozy community feel even on the most crowded summer day.

"I feel like Seven Hills Park is a hidden gem, so I almost don’t want to share it, but it’s such a great spot. There’s a little community garden, some public grills and picnic tables, a few trees for shade, and an ample lawn perfect for laying out a blanket and sharing a picnic, readinga book, or just soaking up some late afternoon rays. It’s a little off the beaten path, and with Volunteer Park and Cal Anderson Park nearby, most of the visitors to Seven Hills Park live in the neighborhood, which makes for a cozy community feel even on the most crowded summer day.


Brian's Pick: Kubota Garden (Rainier Beach)
9817 55th Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98178

Kubota Garden.jpg

Grace's Pick: Belltown Cottage Park and P-Patch (Belltown)
2512 Elliott Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

"I like that people hang out there. It can be quite lovely on summer evenings to walk through and see people picnic as well as working on the lots."

"I like that people hang out there. It can be quite lovely on summer evenings to walk through and see people picnic as well as working on the lots."


Margaret's Pick: Streissguth Gardens (Capitol Hill)
1640 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102

"I love how tucked away this park is – if you’re coming from 10th it’s easy to miss the stairs that lead down to it.  The hillside gardens are really beautiful and have a wildness to them that I really like. There also is a pretty great view of Lake Union and the Olympic Mountains from the top."

"I love how tucked away this park is – if you’re coming from 10th it’s easy to miss the stairs that lead down to it.  The hillside gardens are really beautiful and have a wildness to them that I really like. There also is a pretty great view of Lake Union and the Olympic Mountains from the top."


Mike's Pick: Loveless Building Courtyard (Capitol Hill)
806 E Roy St, Seattle, WA 98102

"The Loveless Building scale is outstanding along the sidewalk, as is the material textures, and expression of uses. The glimpse of the courtyard seen passing by the gate is very compelling, followed by the traditional sequence of compression of view in the tunnel, and expansion into the garden, and the tree canopy overhead."

"The Loveless Building scale is outstanding along the sidewalk, as is the material textures, and expression of uses. The glimpse of the courtyard seen passing by the gate is very compelling, followed by the traditional sequence of compression of view in the tunnel, and expansion into the garden, and the tree canopy overhead."

Mira's Pick: Waterfall Garden Park (Pioneer Square)
219 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

"Waterfall Garden Park is such a secret oasis in the middle of the of Pioneer Square.  I love taking visitors there when touring Pioneer Square since the waterfall and lushness makes for a nice break from the noise and harshness of the city."

"Waterfall Garden Park is such a secret oasis in the middle of the of Pioneer Square.  I love taking visitors there when touring Pioneer Square since the waterfall and lushness makes for a nice break from the noise and harshness of the city."


Roma's Pick: Federal Courthouse Plaza (Downtown)
700 Stewart St, Seattle, WA 98101

"While there is a lot of critique regarding the Federal Courthouse Plaza, and though some of it is valid, I just really love the space."

"While there is a lot of critique regarding the Federal Courthouse Plaza, and though some of it is valid, I just really love the space."


Will's Pick: Guerrila Gardens
Throughout Seattle

"Guerilla Gardening happens when people garden in places where they don't have a legal right to utilize the property, like these little traffic roundabouts that you find all over Seattle.  I find it so neat that people have taken it upon themselves to garden wherever they can and to beautify their environment. It really adds to the city."

"Guerilla Gardening happens when people garden in places where they don't have a legal right to utilize the property, like these little traffic roundabouts that you find all over Seattle.  I find it so neat that people have taken it upon themselves to garden wherever they can and to beautify their environment. It really adds to the city."

Cheers!

-The Froggers

 

*All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Google Streetview.

 

Queen Anne Residence Remodel/Addition

“Places are spaces that you can remember, that you can care about and make a part of your life. Much of what is built now is too tepid to be remembered.”

Chambers for a Memory Palace, by Donlyn Lyndon and Charles W. Moore

‘Tepid’ may be the word to describe this home before the renovation and addition but ‘memorable’ is now the word that takes its place. Although still in construction, it is beginning to take shape and its pronounced form is highly visible. No longer is it simply a modest home overshadowed by the tall adjacent homes but it is confidently perched on a hill to capture beautiful views of Seattle. The procession through the home is one that continues to entice, the main level has modestly high ceilings, keeping the ceiling height of the original home, while the second level increases the ceiling height by nearly a foot. When you finally reach the third story, the cabana level, the height is unrestricted on the large roof deck overlooking Seattle. This creates a pivotal destination point for the procession through the home.  All these moments have resulted in a truly memorable place that the residents are anxious to make a part of their life.

For more information and to see the rendering and sketches go to our website here

 

City Chickens Part One: Taking the Chicken Plunge

[caption id="attachment_1882" align="aligncenter" width="700" caption="Rosie (Rhode Island Red), Buddha (Brahma), Butch (Americauna), Lemon (Buff Orpington). Not shown: Star (Silver Laced Wyandotte), Zebra (Cuckoo Maran)"][/caption] Two months ago my housemates and I felt inspired to take our desire for local sustainable food to the next level; we got four baby chickens.  These four new household members took up lodging in our office in a new 94 quart plastic tote lined with some wood chips. Apparently baby chickens are not very picky about their housing and were happily chirping and scratching away within minutes of arriving.

Four soft downy baby chickens huddled in a pile under a brooding lamp is just one of those irresistible sights. So irresistible, we quickly had two more baby chickens to add to the United Nations of Chickens. The city limit is eight chickens after all! One of my housemates, affectionately know as the chicken guru, can tell you the breed of each chicken but the rest of us know them as: Rosie, Buddha, Butch, Star, Zebra, and Lemon.

There were a lot of decisions to be made about how to raise our little girls even in the early stages. Do we give them the antibiotic feed recommended for little baby chicks? What kind of bedding should we use? Do we give our babies bird electrolytes? How warm do they need to stay? Will there really be dust everywhere? How do we keep them from getting their food clogged with shavings all the time? Should we really feed them eggs?

...........to read about how we answered these questions link to the full blog post on my gardening project Edible Dirt.

[caption id="attachment_1884" align="aligncenter" width="700" caption="The chickens got a temporary upgrade from their original plastic tote while we start to make plans for coop building."][/caption]

Stenciled Bikes

[caption id="attachment_1774" align="aligncenter" width="700" caption="Bike lane outside Schemata Workshop on 12th Avenue."]Bike Lane[/caption] Much like Katherine I decided that May, official Bike to Work month, was a great opportunity to recommit to biking to work.  I was a fairly regular bike commuter five years ago when I worked downtown and lived in Greenwood but since then I’ve either worked close enough to walk to work or was on the road traveling for work.  The biggest difference I notice about biking now versus five years ago is all the new bike lanes, green bike lanes at intersections and sharrows (shared-lane markings) painted on the city streets.  These white stenciled bikes painted on the streets definitely make me feel like a more ligitimate user of the roadways.  As a biker I’m always hyper-aware of the dangers present when on the road.  Simple things can lead to dangerous accidents when you are on your bike such as a car door opening while passing parked cars, a car turning right across my path without noticing me, a car pulling out of a hidden driveway, the unaware driver at the four way stop who hasn’t noticed me, a newly formed pothole waiting to devour my bike, and the list goes one.  There are some drivers out there that get frustrated sharing the roadway with bikes but thankfully I have personally found those few and far between. The more common problems I’ve encountered with cars are that we bikers are just not super visible.  The good news is the image of my bike painted on the street seems to go a long way to remind my fellow car-driving road users that I and other bikers are also using the road. Seattle bike system may not be perfect and we have some ways to go before I would truly call us a bike friendly city but I am one biker that is happy with the direction we are headed.

On one of my evening rides home this month I decided to take a detour through downtown and head home along Dexter. It was fun to see the new road improvements currently underway that will create more buffered space between cars and bikes.  Later when I was looking up information about the construction I was surprised to learn that Dexter is one of the highest used bike lanes in Seattle but currently does not actually meet SDOT bike lane guidelines.  This is soon to be changed! The upgrade to Dexter will provide a substantial buffer between cars and bikes.  Most studies show buffers decrease serious bike-car accidents.  Dexter was originally slated for a Cycle Track, a two way bike lane separated from car traffic, but there was  debate on how much added safety (if any) these Cycle Tracks provide and if they were a actually a good fit for Dexter given the uses and layout of the street.  After community feedback the Dexter design was ultimately changed to provide buffer space between cars and bikes but not a Cycle Track.  That said SDOT has other Cycle Tracks proposed throughout the city. Community groups and SDOT are currently working to develop Cycle Tracks in a way that both increases bike ridership while providing added safety.

[caption id="attachment_1775" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Dexter road improvements currently underway will add buffered bike lanes."]Dexter Road Improvements[/caption]

Dexter and the proposed Cycle Tracks are not part of my daily Greenwood to Capitol Hill commute but I’m still very excited for these projects.  New bicycle road improvements encourage more car commuters to become bike commuters. More bike commuters increase bike awareness for drivers and bikers alike. More awareness leads to better and more creative solutions that keep bike commuters safer.  Safer bike commuters lead to more bike commuters…. It’s a feedback loop that will continue to lead us towards a more bike friendly Seattle. And this ultimately leads to a more environmentally friendly way to get all of us to work!