The Durant Office Center: Commercial Design/Build

Located in north Raleigh, North Carolina, the Durant Office Center consists of offices for professional services. The owner wanted a customized landscape design that would offer exceptional visual interest while satisfying the City s planting requirements. Included in the design/build is a complete irrigation system to ensure the lawn and plantings are provided for during Raliegh s hot summer months.


(click on any photo for a larger view)


The Plan

The original builder s plan for the landscape did not achieve the owner s creative vision for the property. The drawing of the Durant Road office complex shows the placement of willow oaks, which would have dwarfed and hidden the offices from view. We negotiated with the city to substitute styrax for the oak trees because they are on a more human scale.


A concept sketch of the property establishes the feel for the professional building landscape. The goal is a dance between purpose and beauty.


A sketch of the office building sign by designer Paul Martin shows the proposed placement of foliage. The owners requested an eye-catching arrangement of bright colors and low height.


The signage bed was integrated with the overall natural areas, typically planted in colorful tropicals for the summer season. With Raleigh s mild winters, cannas, mums and elephant ears are repeat performers year to year. Sweet potato provides a vibrant field of color at very low cost.


Seasonal color greets customers first thing as they enter the drive. Here coleus backdrop the purple variety of sweet potato. The Koi pond lies just behind.


Sweeping vistas were integral to the design. Here Crape Myrtles add color in the foreground while the well manicured wax myrtle and Nellie R Stevens hedges screen the kennel facilities.


Trees are consolidated into sweeping natural areas, with underplantings of Geroge Tabor azaleas and abelia. The wax myrtle hedge to the left screens the parking lot from the street view.


Graduated planting softens the shock of architecture against flat ground: Crape myrtles line the sides of the building s front and barberries echo the rose of brick walls. Seasonal colors crown the corners of natural areas, and suddenly the walkways are enlivened.


The texture and strong color of blue rug juxtapose the brick and barberry, providing a feast for the senses. Six Styrax trees are an unusual addition that maintains a smaller scale and provides spring color.


Evergreens provide year-round color as the seasons change. A sequence of lush beds now greets customers and employees, making the Durant professional building a more enjoyable place to visit and work.


A flourishing Natchez crape myrtle and Saybrook gold juniper form an undulating peninsula reaching out into the parking lot. Tradescantia adds a splash of purple in the foreground.


Would you believe it s one plant? The lantana in the background is quite happy. In the winter months, the Carissa holly anchors the beds.


The koi pond is the most rewarding (space) in the Durant office complex. A luxuriant hideaway, this sensual water feature is enjoyed by owners and visitors alike.


Water lilly blooms stretch above the lilly pads. Along with elephant ears, they add that tropical flare to this ecosystem oasis, just feet away from bustling civilization.

Koi provide an essential component of the pond s ecological balance, as well as entertainment for youngsters and other passersby.


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