Overview of the Landscape Design Challenge
The Landscape Design Challenge grew out of the intial planning for the vest pocket gardens. We felt that it would not be enough to present homeowners with drawings of possible gardens, as we were having a tough time visualizing how these gardens might fit into the spaces alotted as well as the plants that would thrive here in Asylum Hill. Mike McGarry had the idea to create templates of the gardens - full scale mock-ups of the gardens that could be laid out on a person's front lawn. As several shapes of gardens and a variety of plants would be offered, we now have three templates to show homeowners. These templates were created by locally renowned artist Tao LaBossiere.

Planning for the templates inspired us to think bigger: could full scale gardens be designed to create a cohesive streetscape within the district? There was a large concentration of interested participants living in very close proximity to each other on Ashley Street between Huntington Street (west) and Garden Street (east), and this profusion of future gardens offered enormous possibilities. Lelaneia Dubay felt that she could recruit several landscape designers who would be willing to donate their time to work with a few homeowners to create a grander design for their front yards. As the number of interested designers grew, we realized that we could tie these designs into a larger event that would draw people into the neighborhood and could serve as a model for other neighborhoods to follow. This event became the Landscape Design Challenge.

On Saturday May 5, 2012, we installed 14 gardens on Ashley Street as part of the Landscape Design Challenge. The Hartford Financial Services Group was the major sponsor of this event. Other contributors included Billings Forge Community Works, Knox Parks, and M.C. Paving. Numerous volunteers, in particular from Trinity Colelge and the University of Connecticut also helped to bring this event to fruition.

To see a presentation on the Landscape Design Challenge, please click here. This slide show will give you an overall picture of the event and what we hoped to accomplish with it.
To see some before and after pictures of the gardens that were a part of the Challenge, please click here.