s a child, Kristy DeGuire cherished her time playing in the creeks and exploring the woodlands in the backyard of her parents’ Eureka home. She held onto that love of the great outdoors as she grew up and attended architecture school, choosing landscape architecture for her career path. These days, DeGuire uses her company, DG2 Design, to give kids and adults of all abilities the same kind of first-hand experience with nature she had growing up through landscape architecture, whether they are at home, at work or at a local park. LN recently spoke with DeGuire to learn more about her sustainable and accessible landscape projects. Tell us about why sustainable landscape architecture is important. We are able to help the environment through our designs. If we can be smart about growth and design, we can either preserve or restore a site as we’re working on it. Our motto is to nourish, restore and connect. And that’s what we do with each site. We connect people to the environment that we have touched. The benefits of sustainable landscape architecture [versus conventional landscaping] are cost-effectiveness, environmental, educational and recreational.
By Brittany Nay
Describe accessible landscape architecture. My husband, Jeremiah, was paralyzed nine years ago. He is in a wheelchair, and my son has a walker. You can be educated in accessible design, but you don’t understand it until you live every day with someone who has different abilities. It’s about understanding the transition for things like bicycles and chairs on different materials and grades, the placement of curbs, accessible parking spaces and more. If you’re doing good design, you’re designing sustainably and holistically. Tell us about your and Jeremiah’s approach to garden design. We have a big garden design project going on at our house that sits on 3 acres. At least 2 of those acres will be restored back to prairie. We’re planning this together because we want to save on chemicals and mowing costs, and we’d rather spend time with our three kids than mowing. There’s also an educational component to restoring the habitat: It will allow the kids to watch the butterflies and bees, and learn how that betters our vegetable garden. What are some of your top tips for fall garden design? One big thing people don’t realize is the benefit of leaves. Compost them or mulch them: They can be really beneficial for your landscape, and it keeps
them out of the storm drains. Fall also is actually the best time to plant trees and shrubs. So if people have projects, they don’t have to wait until spring. They can start the design in late summer and implement it in late fall. This will give the trees and shrubs time to get established before the summer heat next year. Tell us about some of your high-profile sustainable landscape architecture projects. The Upper Muny parking lot, now called Festival & Parking Plaza, was a big transformation we did with Horner & Shifrin engineering firm that just opened this summer. It has 80 new trees and more than 800 new shrubs, as well as walkways that allow for a safe and accessible entrance to The Muny. Rather than a traditional stormwater piped system, the parking lot utilizes multiple bioretention basins, an important technique that uses soil, plants and microbes to treat stormwater. Stormwater is directed to the basin, then percolates through the system, where it is treated with native plants and a combination of bio soil media. What are some of your upcoming projects? Among projects we are planning is a Gravois Greenway extension of Grant’s Trail, which has about 600,000 users, to extend to River des Peres Greenway.
12049 Chaltenham Des Peres
Offered at $929,000
Elegant 4 bedroom 5 bathroom home on nearly an acre of park like setting in sought after Saybridge subdivision. Conveniently located near dining, shopping, and highways.
LadueNews.com | SEPTEMBER 4, 2015
DEGUIRE PHOTO BY SARAH CONARD, LANDSCAPE PHOTOS COURTESY OF DG2 DESIGN
A Q & A with Kristy DeGuire
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