Isis Pharmaceuticals: Featuring an Environmentally-friendly landscape masterpiece
Isis Pharmaceuticals, located in Carlsbad, is a new, LEED certified building which boasts a unique and environmentally-friendly landscape installed by Benchmark Landscape. Every aspect of this landscape says “environmentally-friendly”, from the fitness course on campus, to the seating areas on down to the parking lots. Mimicking Mother Nature was the goal for the landscaping at the 14-acre campus, and one way that was done was by using the right plants for the right climate. San Diego County is a dry, arid climate so a native, drought-tolerant plant palette was chosen by the landscape architect and client for the surrounding landscape. Very unique plant varieties not typically used on many landscape projects are found at theIsis campus, including specimen trees and shrubs such as Cercis occidentalis, Chilopsis linearis, Quercus engelmannii, as well as Juncus, Yucca, Arctostaphylos, Carex and Ribes. A Hydro-seed Mix was sprayed on site in order to harvest several other drought-tolerant varieties of plants. Dry creek beds, a unique water feature and meandering walkways are situated throughout the campus giving employees a chance to take in the beauty of this native landscape.
In an effort to dramatically save water, Benchmark implemented their water-management skills and knowledge to install a sophisticated irrigation system. An advanced irrigation station controller was installed to control the large number of zones efficiently. The controller, a Rain Master Eagle Plus, features a satellite to download weather conditions in order to properly irrigate according to weather patterns. Programmed by a computer, this sophisticated controller plays a large role in water management by reducing the frequency of watering, and irrigating the plant material properly. Sprinkler heads such as MP Rotators are utilized to assist with efficiencies in water management. A reclaimed system is also in effect at theIsisproperty.
In addition to uncommon plant material and advance irrigation systems, Benchmark also installed bioswales in the parking lot of the campus. A bioswale is essentially a large catch basin system designed to filter surface water runoff before it goes into neighboring storm drains. These bioswales are located under several planters in the parking lot on the Isis campus, where water seeps in through layers of soil, gravel and lining to weed out excessive sediment and silt in the water before getting pushed out into storm drains. To beautify them, these planters in the parking lot feature Buffalograss planted on top of the hidden bioswales.
There is also a fitness course, a basketball court, several large seating and eating areas on the campus. The entire outside portion of the campus is an employee’s retreat from their hectic busy work days. From start to finish in six months time, Benchmark’s experienced crew had the skills to create the serene landscape that matched the overall theme of the LEED project and played a huge role in reducing the environmental impact.