WPL’s role as landscape architects for the Windsor Woods Elementary School (WWES) replacement project was especially rewarding due to the active role that the school administration and the representatives from Virginia Beach Public School’s Office of Facilities Planning and Construction played in the landscape design. It was apparent from the inception that this school was to portray to the general public what could be done using environmentally friendly landscape design practices. This school project was similar to other replacement schools in that the site opportunities for the new building was limited due to the fact that the existing school building remained operational during the design and construction phases. Also similar to other recent replacement schools, the new school was shifted back on the site resulting green open space as the “front door” to the surrounding community.
While the Virginia Beach Landscape Ordinances mandate standard street trees, parking lot trees for shade, screening hedges, perimeter buffers, the WWES landscape design also introduced new designs for the interior courtyard, children’s gardens, and stormwater management. The design team agreed to a complete 100% native plant palette for the courtyard as the school administration was adopting this area as a teaching garden about native plants. This choice resulted in spectacular displays of black-eyed susan perennials during late spring and summer. Additionally the stormwater management pond was planted with 100% native trees, shrubs, and aquatic plantings. Mixtures of native shade trees, flowering trees, and multi-stemmed shrubs adorn the banks of a very natural looking pond after only a year.